All About Artichokes

How to Cook Artichokes – No joke, you’re going to love artichokes! These unique veggies might seem a bit intimidating to work with, but with just a few simple tricks you’ll see they’re actually quite easy to prepare and cook.

Artichokes can be enjoyed by themselves or included in a bounty of vegan-friendly recipes. They add a terrifically earthy, bright and flavorful taste to nearly any dish. Get ready to learn all about artichokes, including tips for cooking and ideas for delicious recipes!

fresh artichokes

How to Choose the Best Artichokes to Cook

Ah, the artichoke. While they are often included in many of my favorite restaurant dishes and dips, I realized that it seems pretty rare that people (or, I) prepare artichokes at home. Artichokes are definitely not the easiest produce to work with, and maybe that’s what has kept me (or you?) from eating them as much as I’d/we’d like…

Ok sure, you can’t just wash and take a bite out of a fresh artichoke. But it turns out artichokes are actually not that difficult to prep and cook! By picking the right ‘chokes and treating them well, you can easily enjoy these wonderfully earthy and tasty veggies plain or included in any number of recipes.

When’s the best time to buy and try out some artichoke-forward meals? These beauties are a springtime crop that are in their prime March through May.

To choose just the right artichoke, look for vibrant green and tightly packed leaves. The artichoke leaves start to droop and splay out as they age. A bit of browning on the tips is fine, though.

tips for how to cook artichokes

Tips for Preserving Fresh Artichokes

To keep an artichoke freshest, you want to leave it totally intact and unwashed until you are ready to prep and cook.

Store raw artichokes in a plastic bag crisper drawer, where it is coldest and a bit damp. They will keep well for up to a week.

Before you ask… no, no you should not freeze raw artichokes. Once they have been cooked and cooled, then they can be transferred to sealed containers and kept in the freezer for a month or two.

prepping fresh raw artichoke

Tips for How to Clean and Prepare an Artichoke

Whether you want to steam the artichokes to eat the leaves plain, or cut apart to harvest the artichoke hearts for a recipe, you first need to wash and trim the veggie.

  1. Thoroughly rinse the raw artichoke under cool running water, and pat dry. Use a sharp knife to cut off the stem about an inch or so below the base. Don’t cut off too much or you’ll lose your handy handle!
  2. Next, use a pair of kitchen shears to snip off the sharp tips (called barbs) of each artichoke leaf. You can now leave the artichoke whole to steam, or continue prepping to make dishes with the artichoke heart.
  3. Slice the artichoke in half lengthwise.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop the fluffy, fibrous white stuff, and discard. This is the choke!
soaking in water

How to Cook Artichokes

If you plan to steam and serve the artichoke whole, I recommend that you rub some lemon juice on the surface of the trimmed leaves. This will help to keep them from browning.

For the best texture and taste, you should soak the whole artichokes with trimmed leaves in cool lemon water for an hour or so before cooking.

Steam whole artichokes by placing in a steamer basked with one inch of water (not enough to touch the artichokes) in a large pan on the stovetop. Bring the water to a simmer and cover the pot. Steam for about 30 minutes, until the leaves are tender and can be pulled off easily. Keep an eye on the pot and add a bit more water if needed as the artichokes cook.

Artichoke hearts can be baked or roasted, sauteed, marinated or pickled.

artichoke cut in half

How to Eat A Steamed Artichoke

Eating whole steamed artichokes is one of my favorite ways to enjoy these veggies. Plus, you’ll still get the heart from the center!

To eat artichoke leaves, first peel off the outer leaves and work your way in. Hold the artichoke leaf by the snipped tip, and place upside down (meaty side down) on your bottom teeth. Bite with your teeth and scrape the flesh from the leaf as you pull. Discard the eaten leaves.

Serve steamed artichoke leaves with dips like Vegan Ranch Dressing, Homemade French Onion Drip, or hummus.

Once done, slice the artichoke in half and harvest the heart. It will be a bit soft from steaming, but is amazingly delicious to eat as-is or use in other recipes!

Cooked Artichoke Recipes to Try

Roasted and baked artichoke hearts are great to include in pasta dishes, on homemade pizzas, or to make vegan spinach and artichoke dip.

Tangy, zesty marinated artichokes are also super tasty on pizzas, sandwiches, and in fresh salads. Or enjoy with toasted pieces of bread and your favorite vegan cheese as a fun appetizer or snack.

three artichokes raw whole

What do you love about artichokes? Let me know in the comments below!