I can honestly say that, until recently, I have never prepared a fresh artichoke. I love using canned or jarred artichoke hearts in recipes, but fresh artichokes have always seemed a little intimidating. I’ve always been intrigued by fresh artichokes and decided to learn the art of eating an artichoke. Learn with me by watching the video below!
Artichokes are unopened, edible flower buds. Choose plump artichoke heads with tightly closed leaves, heavy for size. Pull back one leaf to check the heart for black blemishes. Avoid artichokes with leaves that are spongy, loose, dry, splayed, split, pitted or brown at the tips.
Refrigerate fresh artichokes in a plastic bag for up to one week, and be sure to keep them dry to prevent mold growth. Once cooked, refrigerate artichokes in a covered container within 2 hours of cooking and refrigerate up to 3-5 days. If you want to freeze and save for later, simply sprinkle cooked artichokes with a small amount of lemon juice to prevent darkening and place in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Freeze for up to 10-12 months.
Start by cutting off the top inch of the artichoke and a bit of the base. For whole artichokes, trim the sharp tips of the outer leaves and pull out the inner core of little purple leaves and scrape out the fuzzy choke. This is easiest done after they’ve been cooked. To prevent discoloration, rub any cut surfaces directly with lemon juice or immerse the cut artichokes in lemon water.
Artichokes can be cooked in a variety of ways. Try heating them on the grill, roasting or baking in the oven, sautéing in a skillet, or, for quick meals, heat thoroughly in the microwave. Simply coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook using your method of choice.
Lauren Lindsley is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the state of Wisconsin.
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