Monday, August 23, 2010

How to Prepare, Cook and Eat Fresh Artichokes

Most of us have eaten artichokes at some point in our life, but many have never prepared or cooked them fresh. It can be intimidating for a first timer. Here are some basic instructions on preparing, cooking and eating artichokes:

  1. Cut the stem of your artichoke down so that it will sit upright in the pot.
  2. Remove all of the outer leaves from the base of the artichoke.
  3. Use scissors to trim the top spiky part of each leaf (this step isn't completely necessary.)
  4. Cut an inch off of the top of the artichoke.
  5. Soak artichokes in cold water for at least one hour to fully clean them of dirt and debris.
  1. Add enough water to your pot to fully cover your artichokes.
  2. Add fresh lemon juice or lemon slices to the water. Also recommended: a clove of garlic, bay leaves or any other fresh herbs you would like to try.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Add the artichokes and reduce heat.
  5. Simmer for 20-40 minutes.
  1. Pull each petal off one at a time.
  2. Dip the white fleshy end in your sauce of choice (see below).
  3. Place the petal in your mouth and pull it through your teeth. Discard the tough skin.
  4. Once all of the petals are gone, scrape out the inedible fuzzy part (the choke).
  5. The remaining part is the heart. Cut it into pieces and dip it in your sauce.
It may seem like a lot of work (it's not), but artichokes are worth it! Many people like to dip theirs in plain melted butter or lemon and butter mixed, while others love mayonnaise mixed with balsamic vinegar. How about butter and balsamic mixed? We recommend experimentation! Enjoy!

Added bonus: besides being delicious, artichokes are high in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorous and other trace elements which are important for a balanced system. They have also been used to reduce cholesterol, treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other digestive issues, protect the liver and stabilize blood sugar levels.

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