These delectable veggies are actually the premature blossoms of the artichoke plant’s thistle flower. If left in the field they would turn into a beautiful purple blossom.
Globe artichokes and baby artichokes are prepared differently, though their flavor is very similar. We have instructions for both here.
Artichokes can also be baked, grilled, or stuffed. A steamed artichoke makes a great appetizer. Pull off the leaves and scrape the flesh off with your teeth, then discard the outer part of the leaf. When you reach the center of the artichoke, there will be several light colored leaves you can pull off all at once to reveal the hairy choke that covers the heart. Remove the choke and cut out the heart with a knife and fork, then enjoy.
To prepare a globe artichoke, cut the stem from the head and using kitchen scissors, cut off the tips of any leaves that are thorny. Steam, simmer, or boil until the outer leaves come off easily. Serve with melted butter or your choice of creamy aioli. Inside the stem is an extension of many people’s favorite part of the artichoke, the heart. Use a vegetable peeler to peel away the skin of the stem until you reach the pale green flesh inside, then cook as you would the rest of the veggie.
Most baby artichokes have yet to develop the hairy choke just above the heart, so they end up being a bit less work than larger artichokes because there is no need to remove it.
Rather than steaming or boiling and peeling away individual leaves to eat with mayonnaise or butter sauce as you would a large artichoke; baby sized artichokes are best sautéed with butter and oil.
To prepare a baby artichoke rub the artichoke under cool water with a vegetable brush before preparing. Leaving the outer leaves attached is a matter of preference.
Otherwise, peel or cut away the outer green leaves until you reach the more tender, yellow-green leaves. Cut off the stem at the base and trim off about a third off the top of the leaves. You can cut leave it whole, cut it in half, or quarter it for your recipes. If the hairy choke at the center of the plant has developed, you’ll see it when you cut the artichoke in half. It’s likely still tender enough to eat, but you’ll have to try and see for yourself.
To store, slice the tip of the stem of the artichoke like you would a fresh flower, dip it in water and seal in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Fresh from your box, your artichokes should last a week and a half in the fridge.
Artichokes oxidize very quickly. You might notice that the bottom of the stem where the plant was harvested is dark in color, this happens almost instantly. To prevent your artichokes from darkening, be ready with a bowl of lemon water to hold the pieces until you’re ready to cook. You can also rub lemon juice over each cut place on the artichoke.
Artichokes contain cynarin, a chemical that enhances sweet flavors. For this reason many people recommend serving artichokes with ice water, as the artichoke will make the water taste sweet. For the same reason, skip the wine with this veggie, unless you are serving a very dry white wine.
AHO farmers grow a few different varieties of artichokes.
Baby Artichokes (Imperial Star)