This globe-shaped, deep green veggie has tough, petal-shaped leaves and a prickly center that hides the prized heart. Artichokes are usually boiled, then the petals are peeled off one by one, dipped in melted butter or sauce and drawn through one’s teeth to remove the soft portion. The rest of the petal is tossed. The inedible prickly part is cut away to reveal the meaty heart.
How to Buy
Choose plump, compact globes that are heavy in relation to their size, with fresh, green inner leaves.
How to Prepare
Remove discolored leaves; trim stem even with base. Cut 1 inch off top and discard. Snip off points of the remaining leaves with scissors. Rinse with cold water. To prevent discoloration, dip into cold water mixed with small amount of lemon juice (1 tablespoon lemon juice per 1 quart water). To fill and bake, remove center leaves and the choke before cooking. (The choke is the fuzzy growth covering artichoke heart.)
How to Cook Conventionally
Boil: Use 6 quarts water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Boil uncovered 20 to 30 minutes, rotating occasionally, until leaves pull out easily and bottom is tender when pierced with knife.
Steam: Covered 20 to 25 minutes or until bottom is tender when pierced with knife. HOW TO MICROWAVE 1 medium: Place in 4-cup glass measuring cup; add 1/4 cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave 5 to 7 minutes or until leaves pull out easily. 2 medium: Place in 8x4-inch microwavable loaf pan; add 1/4 cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave 9 to 11 minutes or until leaves pull out easily.