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The Art of Artichokes

Artichokes aren't necessarily thought of as an essential snack item. But with a little butter, this vegetable has a whole new attitude.
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To eat artichokes, use your fingers to pull off one leaf at a time. Dip the base of the leaf into a sauce or melted butter. Draw the base of the leaf through your teeth, scraping off only the tender flesh. Artichokes have a subtle, nutty flavor. Discard the rest of the tough leaf. Continue removing the leaves. Once all of the fleshy leaves have been removed, remove the small, thin inner leaves, exposing the fuzzy "choke." Remove the choke by scooping it out with a spoon and discard choke. If you have trouble getting the choke out with a spoon, try loosening it with a grapefruit knife, then pulling it out with the spoon. Eat the remaining heart (the meaty bottom portion) with a fork, dipping each piece into desired sauce or melted butter.

Q: What's is the most common artichoke? A: There are several types of artichokes, but the Green Globe, with a deep green color and a round, but slightly elongated, shape, is the most common. Green globes are available in baby to large sizes. Look for compact, firm globes that are heavy for their size.

Q: What's involved in preparing fresh artichokes? A: Fresh artichokes are globe-shaped with sharp, pointed leaves that grow on a tall, thistlelike plant. To prepare an artichoke for cooking, wash then cut off the bottom stem so the artichoke sits flat. Cut off 1 inch from the top of each artichoke. Remove loose outer leaves. Using kitchen shears, snip off about 1/2 inch from sharp tips of remaining leaves. Brush cut surfaces with a little lemon juice to prevent browning. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring a large amount of lightly salted water to boiling; add artichokes. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes or till a leaf pulls out easily. Drain artichokes upside down on paper towels.

More information:

California Artichoke Advisory Board

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