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An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • How to Choose Artichokes
    Look for deep green artichokes, heavy for their size, with a thorn at the tip of each leaf; they have a nuttier flavor and a firmer texture than the thornless variety. The leaves should squeak when rubbed together and be tightly packed; splayed leaves and blackening on the stem are signs an artichoke is old. The roundest artichokes have the largest hearts.

  • How to Store Artichokes
    Refrigerated and unwashed (moisture speeds decay) in a plastic bag, artichokes can keep for up to a week, but they’re best the day you buy them. If the leaves begin to spread, cook as soon as possible.

    How to Prepare Artichokes
    To steam whole artichokes, first cut a ½-inch slice off the top, then cut the thorns off each leaf with kitchen shears. Cook the artichokes in a steamer or boiling water until they’re tender and the leaves pull away without too much resistance (about 45 minutes). You can eat the stem or cut it off to make a flat base. You can also pare the vegetable down to its heart and sauté it.

  • How to Use Artichokes
    Pull a leaf off; dip it into a vinaigrette, hollandaise sauce, or melted butter; and draw it through your teeth to extract the soft interior. When you get down to the choke, scrape it out with a spoon and savor the tender heart below. Artichokes can also be stuffed and baked. The cooked hearts make an excellent addition to salads.

    —Melinda Page

    Real Simple Artichoke Recipes:

    See all Artichoke recipes »

  • How To: Choose And Chop An Artichoke

    Artichokes are tasty, but preparing them can be daunting. With our hassle-free technique, you'll be rid of this vegetable's thick, thorny leaves in no time―and can move on to enjoying the fruits of your labor.


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