Artichokes are an unusual-looking vegetable with an armour-like exterior and a delicious savoury centre, or heart. Their unique appearance can put many people off cooking with artichokes, although the results can be delicious and very nutritious.
Here we’ll help you get to grips with artichokes and explore some of the best ways to cook this healthy thistle bud.
How to eat an artichoke
Before you start cooking with artichokes, you’ll need to understand a little about how they grow.
Artichoke is a type of flower, which means it has petals. These petals are the thick, green outside of the artichoke and the thinner yellow inside layers. You won’t be able to eat these, apart from at their very base, but you can cook an artichoke with petals still attached.
At the centre of an artichoke is a fuzzy material called the choke. Underneath the choke is the heart of the flower, the delicious edible portion. The artichoke heart is what you’ll want to aim for during preparation and cooking.1
How to cook an artichoke
There are a few different ways that you might like to cook with artichokes. The method you choose will depend on how you’ll be serving it and how you prefer to eat it.
Steaming is a straightforward and healthy way to cook an artichoke. All you’ll need is a little water and heat. Simply chop off the stem and place your artichoke into an inch of water on the hob, with the lid on to steam. You might like to add some lemon or garlic to the water for flavour.2
Your artichoke is ready when you can easily pull out one of its outer petals.
Boiling is another easy way to cook an artichoke. Simply cut off the stem, so the bud will sit flat, and remove some of the tough leaves close to its base. Then, cook your artichoke in a pan of boiling, salted water. Cooking time will depend on the size of the bud and can be anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes.
When it’s cooked, you should be able to pull a central leaf out of your artichoke easily. It’s best to drain upside down, so all the water can run out efficiently.
Cooking artichoke heart
The most delicious, totally edible part of an artichoke is its heart. To get to your artichoke heart, first, remove all the petals from the outside of the bud. Then, scrape away the fuzzy choke with a spoon. You’ll then have the artichoke stem, which you should peel until it becomes light green. Here is the artichoke heart. You can roast, fry, or dice and sauté an artichoke heart for a variety of beautiful dishes.3
Explore lots more healthy cooking ingredients here and get the most out of your artichokes every time.
Last updated: 16 June 2020