Artichokes are large, perennial thistle plants known for their edible flower buds comprising numerous triangular scales and a tender, fleshy base. In addition to being a popular ingredient in global gourmet regional cuisines, the artichoke is valued for its various health benefits, including a high fiber and antioxidant content, and potentially aiding in digestion and heart health.
Artichokes can be enjoyed steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed or preserved, making them versatile for inclusion in a wide range of dishes, including dips, salads, and pasta. When shopping for artichokes, look for those with tight, firm leaves, which are prima facie indications of freshness.
Artichokes are a little tricky to handle, primarily because of their intimidating structure. At times, cooks struggle to choose the right artichoke, as they come in various sizes and appearances. More often than not, people are unsure about the preparation methods – the edible part lies hidden beneath scales and thorns, making the initial stages a chore to many. Eventually, some give up and opt for canned artichokes.
People frequently go wrong when they discard the stem, but this is a mistake! The stem is an extension of the artichoke heart and totally edible. Another mistake is not prepping them fast enough before they discolor. This can be avoided by keeping ready a bowl of lemon water to put the cut pieces in until you are ready to cook. Overcooking is a major issue as well, as it makes the artichoke fibrous and hard to eat.
When it comes to maximizing the artichoke's potential, your best bet is to steam it. While this process might take longer, it helps to retain all of the vegetable's natural flavor. Furthermore, the stem, which is often discarded by many, is an extension of the heart and completely edible, so try to use the entirety of the artichoke to get the most culinary and nutritional value.
Little known tips and tricks for artichokes include peeling and cooking the stem, using a spoon to scrape out the fuzzy 'choke' after being cooked as it's inedible, and using lemon juice to prevent cut artichoke pieces from browning. One more tip – when selecting artichokes, ensure the leaves 'squeak' when squeezed together – a sign of freshness!
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How do I prep an artichoke for cooking?
What parts of an artichoke can I eat?
How do I cook an artichoke?
Why is my cooked artichoke bitter?
What's the best way to eat an artichoke?
How do I make stuffed artichokes?
How do I use canned artichokes?
Is artichoke good for health?
How do I make artichoke dip?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does artichoke expire?
Unopened and stored in the fridge, artichokes will typically last 1-2 weeks. They will maintain optimal quality for about 7 days. If you've cooked your artichokes, they will last for about 3-5 days in the fridge. Freezing is not typically recommended for fresh artichokes due to their high moisture content, but cooked artichokes can be frozen and will maintain best quality for up to 12 months stored at 0°F, but will remain safe beyond that time
How do you tell if artichoke is bad?
Fresh artichokes have gone bad when they show signs of dryness and the leaves begin to spread apart and turn a dark color. They also feel light in weight and may develop a slimy texture. If you’re dealing with cooked artichokes, check for an off smell or if it's developed mold. Properly stored, it will maintain best quality for 1 to 2 days but will remain safe to consume after that time.
Tips for storing artichoke to extend shelf life
• Store fresh artichokes in the crisper drawer of your fridge. You can also store them uncooked in a plastic bag to maintain humidity
• Cooked artichokes should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge
• If you want to freeze cooked artichokes, let them cool completely and then store them in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Remember to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing
• Artichokes are sensitive to ethylene gas, which accelerates decay. Keep them away from fruits like apples and pears