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What's in Season: Artichokes

What's in Season: Artichokes

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.


  1. Tap them upside down over your sink to dislodge any debris residing between leaves.
  2. Wash them under cold running water.
  3. Remove the sharp outer leaves by cutting the top of the artichoke off. You'll cut about 1/4 off.
  4. Trim the bottom base. Some people remove the whole thing, while others just trim the end.
  5. 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!

Join The Conversation
Stilo Stilo 9 years
I love love love artichokes! But I can't seem to cook them right! I tried twice; the first time I steamed them and it took forever to get them soft and they tasted bland and waterlogged! The second time I think I cooked them in a pan (some recipe I found) and again it took forever for them to soften; some were salvageable but most of the leaves were still tough after 45 minutes of cooking them. I dont know if I am not picking the right kind of artichoke or what. But I won't give it up!
OChottie OChottie 9 years
yummy thank you all for the tips. Can't wait for the farmer's market
My whole family loves artichokes & we have introduced them to all our friends! After cutting the ends I boil them in water with a little red vinager for about 30-35 minutes. Meantime I make a very healthy dressing of olive oil, red wine vinager (2 parts of vinager to 1 on oil), salt, pepper & grated parmesan cheese; mix well. Let artichokes cool, scoop the middle & pour the dressing on the artichokes. Not only they are delicious but they also make your table look beautiful if you place them as an appetizer.
yayITZdre yayITZdre 9 years
my roommate and i love artichokes! steam them and dip them in a mixture of mayo, mozzarella cheese, and little bit of hot sauce...then when we get to the heart we spread the dip all over it and eat it! yum!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I. Love. Artichokes!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Not a fan.
mcfolly mcfolly 9 years
I like to steam them with a little bit of mulling spice - it's great, I swear! I make a dip for the leaves out of mayo, lemon juice, and this sort of veggie hot sauce that I've found. It's absolutely decadent.
emalove emalove 9 years
I have become SO SO obsessed with artichokes in the past couple of months...seriously, it's like an addiction. I've been craving them everyday. My husband is getting sick of eating them, but I'm not. Most delicious veggie ever.
rcc328 rcc328 9 years
artichokes are my entire family favorite food, most likely b/c my grandma makes they so well. She steams them but before she steams them she stuffs them with pieces of chopped garlic and parsley about every other leaf and drizzles them in extra virgin olive oil. My cousin and I are still trying to make them as good as she does but so far haven't been successful.
RoGo1 RoGo1 9 years
You can make sure they don't discolor (turn brown and yucky looking like apples do) after cutting by placing them in acidulated water. Just squeeze two lemons into a couple quarts of water and throw in the squoze lemon rinds, too. They stay nice and green even overnight that way. Since lemon goes so well with artichokes, you don't have to rinse them off when ready to use, but do pat 'em dry first if you're cooking dry (frying or baking). Condolences on your artichoke injury fadeastride, they are part of the thistle family and VERRRRY prickly for sure!
fadeastride fadeastride 9 years
Kind of random, but I just started working at Albertson's and artichokes have been the "produce pick of the month" or something. Last week I was bagging some artichokes and I definitely stabbed myself with one and started to bleed. So now I do not like the artichokes :-)
sonnabobble sonnabobble 9 years
me too ilanac13!! love alton!
calamari calamari 9 years
Thanks so much Yum!! And thanks to everyone for the tips. My fiancee and I really appreciate it. :)
DCStar DCStar 9 years
Two tips: 1) submerge artichoke in pot of cold water and shake to dislodge any debris. 2) don't trim much of the end. This part tastes nearly as good as the heart!
amanda02215 amanda02215 9 years
I stuff mine, and the cooking process requires cutting the entire stem off so the artichokes can sit flat to steam. After cleaning and trimming (in addition to taking the top off of the artichokes, I trim the points off of the outer leaves with scissors), I pull all of the leaves apart gently and drizzle the artichoke with olive oil. Then, with a spoon, I gently push the following mixture in between the leaves: Italian style breadcrumbs, grated cheese, minced garlic, and dried parsley. Before putting the artichokes in to steam, I drizzle again with olive oil and add tiny little dabs of butter to the top of the artichoke. The butter melts when the artichoke steams and moistens the breadcrumb mixture. They're DELISH!!!
SugarKim4203 SugarKim4203 9 years
LOVE artichokes. I add a little chicken broth, and lemon to the water when I steam my artichokes. Soooo excited their in season now.
lizzylu49 lizzylu49 9 years
Artichokes are my favorite food, behind only avocados! Steaming is definitely the best method. For a quik and easy option, I add some water to the bottom of a bowl, cover the artichokes with wrap or a damp paper towel (after they've been trimmed) and nuke them in the microwave. Depending on how many you have, it usually only takes 5-10 minutes. Serve with a side of mayonnaise or melted butter. Mmmm.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i have to thank alton brown and Good Eats because there was an episode devoted to artichokes and that's when i learned everything there is to know about them.
gingrlj gingrlj 9 years
I recently bought artichokes from my local farmer's market. The smaller ones are sweeter and perfect for a saute or grilling with lemon. Just sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and top and yummy!
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