How to Shop for and Prepare Artichokes

Artichokes

Artichokes are an unusual vegetable, both in appearance and in how it is prepared and eaten. They have a wonderful tasting flesh at the bottom of their stiff leaves. Artichokes can be found fresh, frozen or canned. The leaves are often pulled from the whole artichoke and dipped in either a flavored butter, mayonnaise or other dip and eaten. While they can be a very indulgent and fattening appetizer, they can be served alone in the form of the artichoke hearts or bottoms and prepared with other ingredients for a great tasting and high fiber meal.

Artichokes

Artichokes can be served as both as appetizer and a main course.
Artichokes can be served as both as appetizer and a main course.

Shopping & Storing

When shopping for whole artichokes, look for ones with a heavy, tightly packed head to them. The color depends on the season which they are found. The spring ones should be even and brightly colored while the fall artichokes may be slightly discolored. After bringing them home, store artichokes in the refrigerator. Use within a week.

 

Preparation and Serving

Artichokes are easily prepared by boiling. Simply remove the long stem if it is still attached and placing in water. The stem is edible if it is trimmed. Trim the outer portion before boiling or eating. Boil until they are fairly tender in the center. Test by jiggling the inner leaves. Artichokes can be boiled with either end up.

Serve with any flavored mayonnaise or plain, melted butter. Artichokes can also be made into hot dips, such as Baked Artichoke Dip with Roasted Red Peppers.

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