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Artichokes are large edible flower buds that are a part of the thistle family and if you are wondering how to prepare and use them in recipes, you are not alone! Learn all about artichokes by following our helpful information, from buying and storing artichokes to preparing, cooking, and freezing them as well as tips on how to eat them.
It may come as a surprise that artichokes are edible flower buds and are part of the thistle family. All parts of this vegetable are edible once cooked, except for the choke, which is the fuzzy section on the inside of the plant.
In our recipes, when we call for artichokes, we refer to Globe artichokes, known for their large, round flower buds. They are categorized by their size: jumbo artichokes are the buds from the top of the plant stock. Baby artichokes come from the smaller buds that are lower down.
Parts of an artichoke:
Petals – outer leaves, edible once cooked
Heart – meaty center, edible once cooked
Choke – fuzzy inner portion, not edible
Stem – long, sturdy portion at base of choke; edible raw and once cooked
Buying and storing artichokes:
Artichokes are available all year, but in North America, they are in season from March until May. Look for dark green, heavy vegetables, with tight petals that squeak when squeezed. Smaller artichokes tend to be more tender, and those with a rounder shape will have a larger heart. Avoid those with split leaves, heavy browning, or that look dry.
Artichokes are best when prepared the day they are bought but can be kept for up to 4 days. To store, place unwashed into a plastic bag.
Cook’s Note: Consume only artichoke heart and tender portion of artichoke leaves; discard tough portion of leaves and fuzzy inner choke portion. Artichoke stem may be trimmed off and reserved for another use.
For one artichoke:
For additional artichokes:
5 medium artichokes, trimmed
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
Before freezing, partially cook the artichoke by blanching or steaming to deactivate enzymes that turn the vegetable brown (artichokes frozen from raw will turn brown when thawed because colour-changing enzymes have not been deactivated).
How to eat an artichoke:
Petals: Dip individual petals into sauce or melted butter; pull through teeth to remove soft, portion of petal and throw the rest away.
Heart: Remove fuzzy choke. The heart can be cut into small pieces and dipped into sauce or use in any recipe that calls for artichoke hearts.
Originating in California, this popular homemade dressing is named for its light green colour. Serve this delicious dressing on your next garden vegetable salad – you won’t be disappointed!
Hollandaise sauce is best made fresh and used immediately. Serve this classic sauce with poached eggs, fresh asparagus, boiled potatoes or with anything else that could use a touch of richness.