How do I select an artichoke?
The best way to choose an artichoke is to pick them up and ask yourself three questions.
- Is it heavy? You want to select the heaviest.
- When I squeeze it is it hard? You want the firmest with tight leaves that do not appear wrinkly or dehydrated.
- What color is it? The bright green color is best. If it is slightly purple it is overripe. If there are brown patches or white sports the artichoke has been exposed to colder temperatures and frost. This will not affect the taste in a negative way.
What are the sizes of an artichoke?
- Jumbo = softball
- Large = baseball
- Medium = tennis ball
- Baby = golf ball
How do I keep an artichoke as fresh as possible at home?
To refrigerate an artichoke cut off a thin piece from the stem. Sprinkle the just cut stem with water and place in an air tight plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use the artichokes within five to seven days after purchase.
How do I prepare an artichoke?
If the ends of the leaves have thorns you may use kitchen scissors to cut the tips off. This step is optional as it does not affect the taste. The thorns do soften as it steams. Cut about 3/4 inch off the top of the artichoke. Remove the leaves on the stem and the bottom layer of leaves because they are tough and bitter to eat. Cut the stem, leaving only 1 inch.
How do I steam an artichoke?
Steaming retains the flavor and moisture of an artichoke without it becoming soggy. First rinse the artichoke in cold running water. Fill a large pot with water until it reaches just under the steaming basket. To the water add one clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 bay leaf. Place artichokes in a steaming basket in a single layer stem sides up. Cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil on high heat and stem until tender, at least 30 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the artichoke. Pull off a leaf to test for tenderness to determine if they are fully cooked. An artichoke is done when you are able to easily insert a sharp knife into the base of it.
How do I eat an artichoke?
Pull the outer leaves off one at a time. dip the fleshy white end into your choice of melted butter or mayonnaise. Place in your mouth fleshy side down and scrape against your teeth as you pull the leaf down to remove the fleshy pulp. Throw away the remaining leaf. Once all leaves are removed, use a knife or a spoon to scrape out and throw away the fuzzy part. This is covering the heart which is the best part. Cut the heart into pieces and dip into the sauce.