How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

How to cook and eat an artichoke, with step-by-step instructions and photos.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I can imagine, that if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you’ve always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

When you are at the market buying artichokes, choose those in which the petals are still rather closed, not open. They will be more fresh and more tender than artichokes where the petals have opened. Also, artichokes that have been "frost kissed" are especially tender and delicious. They'll look like they are a little burned by frost, so won't be as pretty as those not frost bitten.

Ingredients

  • 1 or more large globe artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 slice of lemon

Method

How to Cook an Artichoke

1 Cut of the tips of the petals: If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the petals, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the petals. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

2 Slice off the top of the artichoke: Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this.

3 Remove small petals at the base: Pull off any smaller petals towards the base and on the stem.

4 Cut off excess stem: Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them.

Alternatively you can leave the whole long stem on the artichoke, just cut off the very end of the stem, and peel the tough outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.

5 Rinse the artichokes: Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. While you rinse them, open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily. (This is where it helps to have cut off the thorny tips, it makes the artichoke easier to open without getting poked!)

6 Set up a pot with some water, aromatics, and a steaming basket: In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket.

7 Steam the artichokes: Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.

How to cook and eat an artichoke

Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.

Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonnaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1 Pull off outer petals, one at a time. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce.

2 Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

3 With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the "choke") covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

My favorite artichoke dipping sauce? Some mayonnaise with a little balsamic vinegar stirred in. Some people like dipping artichoke leaves and the heart into melted butter or a vinaigrette.

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Links:

Artichoke history

Wikipedia on Globe Artichokes

Recipes:

How to Grill Artichokes

Baked Stuffed Artichokes 

Braised Marinated Artichokes

Quick and Easy Artichoke Dip

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Showing 4 of 182 Comments

  • Jane

    i always did my artichokes in lemon, butter and salt. it surprises me that people find them pointless. to me when i eat artichokes it is fun. its like an event kind off. having to eat the petals to get to the heart. and yeah, artichokes are not healthy when dipped in things ! if you want to be healthy with artichokes try a vinaigrette dipping sauce.

  • S.K.

    Artichokes with fresh lemon or lime with mayo or a substitute is a delicacy- “hearts” pre cooked in jars-cans go well in summer salads {drain well}, lemon-greens -{gn-rd-yel }bell peppers, any other cool salad addys you choose.

  • Sarah

    Thanks! I was never quite sure how to eat the heart. I like to dip with mayo mixed with a little soy sauce.

  • Viki M

    I found this recipe to be very easy to follow and step-by-step explanations to be accurate. However, after much anticipation of eating my own artichoke cooked at home, versus years of artichokes in the restaurant over seasoned, I was greatly disappointed in the flavor of the artichokes. I agree with the person leaving the comments that they don’t get what the big deal is about artichokes….Way too much work for just a teeny, tiny bite, (if it even qualifies as a bite). It is way too much work for very little satisfaction and eating a high calorie unhealthy buttery sauce, etc., is not in my diet plan for being healthy. This was my reasoning for wanting to cook my own artichokes as I am a cancer survivor and trying to be more more healthy , that is such an oxymoron process if you have to dip it in butter or heavily-calorie mayonnaise etc. I am foregoing ever cooking an artichoke, again, and will enjoy a rare artichoke dip once a year in celebration of a unique green vegetable .

  • Dave Mckee

    My mother made delicious artichokes by cutting the tops off, wash them and open the center. She made a stuffing with soda crackers, hamburger or sausage, salt and pepper and a slice of pepperoni on top. She roasted them in a dutch oven with a little oil. They came out with the bottom fried like a potato. YUMMMM We ate them without dipping, but could have used mayo.

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