If you’ve never eaten an artichoke before, this strange vegetable may present some unique challenges when you finally try to prepare or eat one. The process for eating an artichoke is somewhat non-intuitive – the fruit can’t be eaten in its raw form because its tough fibers and sharp leaf tips can wreak havoc on your digestive system. However, if approached correctly, an artichoke can be a delicious, healthy and unusual addition to nearly any meal.
- 1 or more large globe artichokes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 slice of lemon
HOW TO COOK AN ARTICHOKE
- Cut of the tips of the petals: If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the petals, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the petals. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.
- Slice off the top of the artichoke: Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this.
- Remove small petals at the base: Pull off any smaller petals towards the base and on the stem.
- Cut off excess stem: Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them.
- Alternatively you can leave the whole long stem on the artichoke, just cut off the very end of the stem, and peel the tough outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.
- Rinse the artichokes: Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. While you rinse them, open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily. (This is where it helps to have cut off the thorny tips, it makes the artichoke easier to open without getting poked!)
- Set up a pot with some water, aromatics, and a steaming basket: In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket.
- Steam the artichokes: Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.
HOW TO EAT AN ARTICHOKE
Pull off outer petals, one at a time. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce.
Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.
Continue until all of the petals are removed.
With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.
***NEVER EAT THE WHOLE LEAVES OR CHOKE