If you haven’t tried to cook artichokes, this less common vegetable is delicious and easy to cook. Here is everything you need to know to cook artichokes on the stove.
How do you cook perfect artichokes? Start by trimming the stems, the outer leaves, and the tip; cut the artichoke into halves and keep them in lemon water for 5 minutes. Then boil the vegetables for 20 minutes in salted water. Once they’re tender, drain and you’re good to go!
It might seem like a lot of steps for a plant, but you’ll have a prepped side dish in less than 30 minutes! Plus, artichokes always make an impressive presentation on the dinner table!
What Should You Look for When Buying Artichokes?
Artichokes can be tricky plants. There are a few things to look out for when you’re searching for the best-tasting and freshest artichokes at the store. Here are a few tips to make sure you get the best artichoke available:
Be on the lookout for closed leaves
Start by taking time to notice how the artichoke’s leaves look. As the artichoke ages, its leaves open up. The more open they are, the older the artichoke is. Younger artichokes have the most flavor, texture and nutrients, as all of these things degrade overtime after a plant is harvested. Because you want a young and fresh veggie, opt for the artichokes with closed leaves.
The heavier the better
If you pick up an artichoke and it’s on the heavier side, that’s a good sign. On the other hand, if you pick a light artichoke, you might consider going for the next one, as lighter vegetables (this includes fruit as well) might be dried out, and therefore lacking flavor. the moisture in a veggie is also what keeps it crisp and colorful, so when in doubt, always opt for heavier over lighter produce.
A sound is a good sign
When you’re picking up artichokes, squeeze them and see if they let out a little squeak. If they do, you have a good one in your hands!
Baby Artichokes vs. Regular Artichokes
You may see two different options in the artichoke section of the grocery store. Baby artichokes are simply smaller veggies that were picked earlier. There’s no big difference in flavor or texture, though some people find that baby artichokes are somewhat easier to eat as they have smaller, more tender leaves. Either variety will work for the recipe described below.
How to Cook Artichokes on the Stove
Once you’ve found fresh-looking, heavy artichokes, you’re ready to get home and start cooking.
You don’t need much more than the veggie itself to make this simple recipe. Start with these ingredients:
- 1 Lemon
Prepping the Artichokes
Step 1: Wash the artichokes
Start by grabbing your fresh plants and give them a good wash under cold running water. This is always the first step when dealing with produce. There’s not much to it: simply let the water run and use your hands to remove any dirt. If you have a vegetable scrubber, even better!
Step 2: Trim the bad stuff
Next, it’s time to trim the vegetables. Trimming artichokes can seem a little daunting, but there’s nothing to worry about if you know what you’re doing. You have to focus on two things: one, removing the stem, outer leaves, and the tip; two, not overdoing it. Remove just enough to leave a handful of the tender part of the artichoke!
Here is how to trim an artichoke for cooking:
- First, trim the stem. This is the easy part. You can leave some of the stem closest to the plant intact, it’s edible and not as tough as the drier stem on the bottom.
- Pull the outer leaves of the artichoke and leave the more tender leaves intact.
- Cut the top of the artichoke (the tip).
- If there’s a mellow fuzz in there, scoop it out.
Step 3: Chop it up
After dealing with the hardest part of this recipe, you can now deal with the easiest. Grab your knife and cut your artichokes in half. If they are on the bigger side, you can cut it in quarters.
Step 4: Soak the artichokes
Next, fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze a lemon into it then drop the lemon in too. Stir the water a little bit before adding the chopped artichokes. The acid in the lemon water prevents the vegetables from oxidizing and turning brown after they’re cut.
Cooking the Artichokes
Step 1: Get the saucepan ready
While the artichokes soak in the bowl, heat a saucepan filled with water over high heat until it boils. Add a generous amount of salt to the saucepan and stir.
Step 2: Cook the artichokes
Once the salted water is boiling, add all of the artichokes at once to the pot. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook the artichokes for 15 to 25 minutes. When they are tender and easy to pierce with a fork, drain the pot and pat the vegetables dry with a dishcloth or paper towel. You can also leave them to cool in a colander if you prefer room temperature or chilled artichokes.
After you plate the artichokes, let them rest for 5 minutes so they’re easy to handle without burning yourself. Then dig in!
Now you have a freshly cooked vegetable to add to a meal or eat as a healthy snack. All it took was properly trimming and cutting the artichoke, soaking it in water and lemon, and then boiling it. Enjoy!
How to Eat Artichokes
Artichokes are a funny-looking plant. If you’ve never tried one before, you might be wondering where to start eating them.
First, separate an outer leaf from the rest of the cooked vegetable. Then, placing the bottom half of the leaf in your mouth, scrape your teeth against the leaf as you pull it out of your mouth. That’s the easiest way to get to the yummy artichoke meat. The scraped leaf can be composted!
For extra flavor, you can dip the base of the leaf in melted butter or some other dipping sauce before eating the artichoke meat.
Are Parts of the Artichoke Not Edible?
Technically you could eat the entire artichoke, but there is a prickly thistle on the inside that is not pleasant for eating. Once you get down to this part of the artichoke, scrape away the spiny leaves. You can eat the artichoke heart under these inner leaves, in fact, this is the best part!
The Best Way to Store Artichokes
If you don’t commonly buy and store artichokes, you may not know the best way to keep them fresh. Raw artichokes keep best if wrapped in plastic (or placed in a plastic bag) and refrigerated in the crisper drawer.
What to Serve with Cooked Artichokes
You can dunk your tender artichoke leaves in any of your favorite dressings or sauces. Mayonnaise or aioli are both common condiments with these veggies. As for an entree to serve artichokes with, try a simple roasted chicken for a healthy and easy springtime dinner. Other tasty dishes to serve with tender artichokes include pork chops and filet mignon for an elegant at-home dinner.
When are Artichokes in Season?
Artichokes are a springtime vegetable. They come into season in late March and are available until June. However, you may be able to find fresh artichokes for sale at grocery stores year-round. Often, these are imported from Europe. Artichokes are a popular vegetable in Italian, French and Spanish cuisines, where they are included in pasta recipes, salads, or enjoyed on their own as an appetizer or light lunch with a dipping sauce.
What Do Cooked Artichokes Taste Like?
This vegetable has a strong taste that you might not expect from a little leaf. It’s bright, earthy and somewhat briny.
How to Cook Artichokes
- Cutting board
- Large pot
- 4 artichokes trimmed and halved
- 1 lemon
- salt to tast
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove.
- Trim the artichokes and place in a bowl of lemon water to prevent browning.
- When the water reaches a boil, add the artichokes all at once and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain and serve warm, or let cool and serve at room temperature.