My friend calamari recently asked me what was up with artichokes. He and his gal are having a hard time figuring out how to pick and eat them, so I thought I'd give him some advice. To see how to select the best artichokes in the bunch, and what to do once you've brought them home,
- Choose artichokes that are firm and heavy feeling. A heavier weight usually means more water, which means it's fresh.
- Look for ones whose leaves are tight and held together. Blooming ones are pretty and edible, but may have tough leaves.
- Just because it's large doesn't mean its center (aka the heart) is going to be large.
- Select artichokes that are dark green in color and have a slight glossy sheen to them.
- Like flowers, you can store artichokes in a vase of water.
- Alternatively wash them in cold water, and place them — still wet — in to a plastic bag stored in your refrigerator.
- Tap them upside down over your sink to dislodge any debris residing between leaves.
- Wash them under cold running water.
- Remove the sharp outer leaves by cutting the top of the artichoke off. You'll cut about 1/4 off.
- Trim the bottom base. Some people remove the whole thing, while others just trim the end.
- Now follow your recipe, or steam them for about 30-40 minutes. Check often to make sure the water (seasoned with salt and with lemon juice if you like) level has not depleted.
Do you have any great artichoke tips? Share them with us in the comments!