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How to Eat an Artichoke: 4 Ways to Pick, Eat and Enjoy

Updated on November 4, 2011
fresh artichokes
fresh artichokes
artichoke parts
artichoke parts

Enjoying an Artichoke

Isn't it fun to see someone try to eat an artichoke for the first time? Often, the artichoke is just left on the plate, or maybe just pushed around a bit. But once you know how to eat the vegetable, it is actually quite tasty and nutritious. And no more pushing it around on the plate.

Native to the Mediterranean region, almost all artichokes grown commercially in the U.S. are from California. In 1986 the artichoke was declared "The Official Vegetable" of Monterey. Available year round, artichokes are at their peak in the spring and fall. Below are tips on how to pick, prepare and eat an artichoke.

But first - what is an artichoke and its nutritional benefits?

An artichoke is a perennial plant and is a member of the thistle tribe of the sunflower family. It is made up of 4 parts. The stem, the heart, the choke (this is the fuzzy part you see that should be cut away and discarded - ideally into your compost bin) and the leaves (at the base of the leaf is the tender part that you eat). Artichokes come in a variety of sizes from large, for entrees, medium for appetizers and salads, and the 'babies' for stir-frying.

According to the USDA, artichokes rank first in antioxidant properties and have powerful phytonutrients (silymarin and cynarin) which have a positive effect on the liver, stimulates digestion, and lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. Additionally, a medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes. A large artichoke will add 6 grams of dietary fiber (1/4) of the daily recommended amount for adults.

4 Ways to Pick and Enjoy an Artichoke:

1 - Shopping - When shopping for a fresh artichoke, look for a firm globe that is compact and heavy for its size. The artichoke should have large, tightly packed leaves.

2 - At Home - Once you get the artichoke(s) home, until you are ready to prepare them, store them in the refrigerator. Artichokes will keep for up to a week. I put mine in the crisper.

3 - Preparing - One way to prepare an artichoke (after rinsing under cold, running water) is by boiling in 2 to 3 inches of salted water (sea salt) for about 25 minutes, or until the base can be easily pierced with a fork.

But first trim the stem and outer leaves, then trim the prickly tips from the inner leaves. Cut an inch from the pointed top of the artichoke. After boiling, drain with the stem side up. Cool completely. Artichokes can be served with the dip of your choice. When they are cooked, then chilled, they can be kept on hand in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week, according to the California Artichoke Advisory Board. Artichokes can also be French-fried, stuffed, or baked in casseroles.

4 - How to eat - When you eat an artichoke, you pull off one leaf (or petal) at a time. You can then dip it in butter or the dip or your choice. Then you draw the leaf through your teeth to scrape off the tender pulpy part (enjoy!). Don't try to eat the tough ends of the leaves, discard this part. Then scoop out and discard the fuzzy choke. Now you are left with the heart of the artichoke. This part you cut up and eat with a knife and fork. (You may want to try this at home before going to a big party).

After mastering this - if you want to know the best way to pick a cantaloupe, so you won't be disappointed, see the link below. Also links to other healthy lists.



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    • Ingenira profile image


      7 years ago

      I have never tried an artichoke before. How does it taste like ?

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      The first time I tried an artichoke I was in my 20's and enjoyed them first go. They are an unusual vegetable but so tasty when cooked correctly. Your ideas are great, I might try to dip them next time I cook artichokes.

    • butterfly Tattoo profile image

      butterfly Tattoo 

      8 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Really enjoyed this article, I am one of those who push it around the plate, You have convinced me at least to taste it. Thanks.

    • LivingFood profile image


      8 years ago

      I wanted to buy these the other, but had no idea how to eat I am definitely going to try them. Thanks!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Oh man ListLady! I really needed this information. Believe it or not I was just wondering the other day how to prepare and eat an artichoke. I wasn't sure what part was edible and what was not. I'm voting, rating, and bookmarking this one. THanks!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      I love artichokes - thanks for the helpful information on how to eat them 4 ways!

    • GreenThumbLady profile image


      8 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

      I would like to echo the comment above I didn't know what to do with it either when I first saw one. I mean, it just sat their staring at me ya know? This is definitely a hub a lot of people can use. I think many people steer clear of artichokes because they don't know what to do with them. Love this hub!

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hahahahah! I remember the first time I tried to eat an artichoke. I mean honestly who knows what to do with one of these. So I moved it around on the plate - but I was not the only one.

      Since then I have eaten them and enjoyed them because I know how. You mention they are in season in the fall too - so I look forward to buying and preparing myself.

      Wonderful, necessary information! Many thanks!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      Well this is just perfect information to have! Here is a food that I don't eat nearly enough. Now I know how to do it properly, I must go buy some!! lol Since your cantaloupe hub was so helpful I look forward to putting this one to use! Rated up for sure!


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