Artichoke 101

Even as a little girl, my very favorite food was a nice steaming hot artichoke. I'll take artichokes in any form any day; canned, frozen, pickled, in salads, pastas and all by themselves. Heck, I'd probably eat artichoke ice cream, if there was such a thing!

So today, when The Boyfriend and I stopped by a new farmer's market and I saw an artichoke bigger than my head (see above!) I knew what was for dinner.

If you haven't made a fresh artichoke before, they can be pretty intimidating.

So I've put together I quick step-by-step instruction manual to help you out.

But first, let's talk about what an artichoke IS exactly. An artichoke is a FLOWER! See?

If left to bloom, the "choke" becomes a purple flower! Don't you wonder sometimes you thought of eating these things? I love that person, crazy as they were. Can't say I'd think to eat that!

And, like any good science teacher, here's a diagram of the anatomy of an artichoke!
Now that we understand the artichoke, let's move on, shall we?


Step 1: Wash the artichoke. Scrub a dub dub.

Step 2: Cut off the stem.

Step 3: With a kitchen scissors, cut off the tips of all the leaves. BE CAREFUL! The tips have prickers!

Step 4: Put in a pot and cover almost completely with water. Add the juice of 1 lemon, sprinkle the water with a teaspoon of salt and drop in a couple cloves of garlic and a few peppercorns if you have them.

Step 5: Boil the artichoke for 1 hour. Check after about 45 minutes. The artichoke is done cooking when a leaf pulls out easily.

Step 6: Once the artichoke is done cooking, you can eat the leaves and the "heart" of the artichoke, which is what you're left with once you've pulled off all the leaves. Eat the leaves by first dipping in sauce (see Step 7) and then scraping off the artichoke meat on your bottom teeth. (See diagram below.)

Do not eat the "choke" or the fuzzy hairy center. Scrape it off with a spoon. Cut the "heart" into sections and dip in sauce as well! You can eat the entire heart.

Step 6: Serve with lemon butter or your favorite aioli. (My old favorite was 1 stick of butter with the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, with a tiny dash of cayenne pepper and Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Now I make the same recipe but substitute Earth Balance.) Enjoy!

If you make artichokes, how do you make them? Are you intimidated by any vegetables?


  1. We ate artichokes a lot when I was a kid! Mom always made a dip with olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. They're really the perfect food for kids beacuse you can play with your food and not get into trouble! :)

  2. We steamed artichokes for the first time last summer! They were a pain in the butt to eat, but so yummy, it didn't matter. We dipped them in Veganaise mixed with a little garlic and black pepper. My favorite is artichoke hearts on pizza or in a fat calzone. Mmmmmm.......

  3. I eat artichokes on pizza! Love them that way. But i'm kind of intimidated to cook one myself. And i've eaten it like the way you described it only once.

    By the way, love your little lesson! So cute!

  4. My mom loves artichokes. I've never tried one because I don't like the smell while it's steaming. lol! My poison is fresh green beans.


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