You’ll never buy artichokes in a jar or can again.

By Ariel Klein
August 26, 2019
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Artichokes are undoubtedly delicious, but when it comes to cooking them at home, it may seem like too much work for such a short-lived reward. While it does take a bit of time and patience, there’s a world of difference in taste between canned artichokes and home-cooked. Also, once you get the hang of cooking artichokes at home, you’ll never look back.

In addition to their exquisite flavor and unique texture, artichokes are packed full of necessary nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. They’re also beneficial for liver health, similar to garlic and turmeric. Another great thing about artichokes is that they’re best served with simple ingredients like olive oil, lemon, salt, and butter.

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How to Buy Artichokes

Just like any other kind of produce, there’s a trick to finding the best artichokes for cooking. Search for the ones that are heavier in weight with thick, tightly closed leaves. If the artichoke leaves have a deep green color and squeak when you rub them together, they’re perfect.

How to Clean Artichokes

Now, this is the most time-consuming part of cooking artichokes, but don’t let that deter you. The steps below will teach you how to clean an artichoke like a pro:

  1. Rinse artichokes under running cold water and then pat them dry. Remove any stray leaves from the stem, if needed.
  2. With either a knife or a kitchen shears, carefully cut the sharp tips from the leaves, and then cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke.
  3. Use half of a lemon to rub on the exposed parts of the artichoke to prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown.
  4. Cut the stem, leaving about an inch, and then peel the outer skin since it can taste bitter. Make sure to rub lemon on the bottom of the stem, too. 
  5. Clean the artichokes by running them under cold water, making sure to clean between the leaves. Then put them in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice until ready to steam.

How to Cook Artichokes

Most artichokes have to be steamed or boiled before cooking so they can get soft and tender. Set a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and add artichokes to the basket stem side down. If you want to take the flavor up a notch, add herbs, lemon, and garlic to the boiling water. Cover the pot and reduce the water to a simmer while the artichokes steam for 30 to 45 minutes. If you can easily stick a knife in the center of the artichoke, it’s ready.

At this point, you can eat the artichokes as is by scraping the meat with your teeth. You can also dip the artichoke leaves into melted garlic butter or a horseradish aioli for a savory spin. The recipe options are endless when it comes to cooked artichokes. You can bake them, sauté them, stuff them, or fry them up with a sprinkle of salt. Add them to a big healthy salad, a hearty pasta dish, or a delicious Italian charcuterie spread.

Now that you know how to pick, clean, and cook artichokes, you can impress your friends and family at the next get-together!

RELATED: How To Choose and Prepare an Artichoke (Video)