How To Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Time to steam up the kitchen.  ?

We’re talking all about how to steam fresh artichokes today!

Interestingly, we have had more requests for this tutorial than any other in our series so far.  But it totally makes sense.  Fresh artichokes are such a treat to eat…but you’ve gotta know how on earth to tackle them first!

I only just recently learned how to prepare and eat them myself about 6 or 7 years ago, when my friend Marlies took it upon herself to invite me over for an Artichoke 101 happy hour.  I was a complete novice to fresh artichokes, having only ever eaten the hearts from a jar.  So she was excited to show her food blogger friend how it’s done, and taught me how to select and steam a batch of fresh artichokes to tender perfection.  And then we went out on her sunny back patio, and she showed me how to eat them step by step until we found our way to those yummy hearts in the middle.  Of course — a fresh artichoke tutorial wouldn’t be complete without a decadent lemony melted butter sauce, which we made together and I’ve been hooked on ever since (recipe included below).

So today, I thought I’d pay Marlies’ tutorial forward, and create a step-by-step video tutorial for all of you who might be new to them as well.  They are one of the absolute best parts of Spring.  You’re going to love ’em!


How To Select Fresh Artichokes:

Fresh artichokes are in generally at their peak each March – May.  When selecting them at the store, look for artichokes that:

  • have tightly-packed leaves (vs. loose and splayed leaves)
  • feel dense and heavy
  • are a healthy green color, with not too much browning (although a little browning around the edges of the leaves is ok)
  • optional: are “frost bitten” — if you see artichokes at the store that have leaves that look like they have been slightly brushed with white, don’t shy away from them, they are often more sweet and tender

Pro tip: I always use the “squeak test” to choose my artichokes.  If you hold one close to your ears, and squeeze the leaves around with your fingers, they will squeak if they’re nice and fresh. ?

How To Store Fresh Artichokes:

Sprinkle the artichoke stems with a bit of water (don’t wash the whole artichoke), then store it in a loosely-sealed bag in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator.

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How To Steam and Eat an Artichoke

Learn how to cook (steam) and eat a fresh artichoke with this simple recipe, including a decadent lemon butter dipping sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh artichoke
  • 1 fresh lemon wedge
  • water
  • 1-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • dipping sauce (see options below)

Directions:

  1. Use a knife to slice off the bottom 1/2-inch (or more, if you’d like) of the artichoke stem, and the top 1 inch of the artichoke globe (the leaves on top).  Remove any small leaves toward the bottom of the stem.  Rinse the artichoke with water.
  2. Use kitchen shears to trim about 1/4/-inch off the pointy tips of each of the artichoke leaves (so that they don’t poke you when you eat them).  Then rub the lemon wedge all over the leaves.
  3. Drop the lemon wedge in a large stockpot, and fill the pot with a few inches of water.  Add garlic and bay leaf, place a steaming basket in the pot, then place the artichoke in the steaming basket stem-side-up.  Cover the pot with a lid.
  4. Heat the water over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and continue steaming the artichokes for 30 minutes, or until a knife can be very easily inserted in the stem of the artichoke and a leaf pulls off easily (and the fleshy part scrapes easily off of the leaves, as mentioned below).
  5. Remove from heat, and transfer the artichoke to your serving plate.
  6. To eat the artichoke, remove the outer leaves, dip them in your sauce if desired, then use your teeth to scrape off the soft fleshy part of the leaves.  (See video for a visual.)  Repeat until all of the leaves are removed.
  7. Then you will be left with the fuzzy “choke”.  Use a spoon to scrape off all of the fuzzies (they’re inedible).  Then use a knife and fork to cut the remaining artichoke heart and stem into bite-sized pieces.  Dip in the sauce, and enjoy.

Dipping Sauce Ideas:

  • Lemony Melted Butter Dipping Sauce: This is my favorite way to eat steamed artichokes!  Just melt some salted butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper, and serve.  And if you really feel like going the extra mile, sauté a clove of minced fresh garlic in the butter for 1 minute before serving.  Delish.
  • Blender Hollandaise SauceThis version is super easy.
  • Tzaziki Sauce: For a Mediterranean twist.
  • Any kind of mayo or aioli
  • …or whatever sounds good to you!
All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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24 comments on “How To Cook and Eat an Artichoke”

  1. how easy is this!? i never would have guessed…fresh artichokes look dang scary! i think this would be perfect for a friday night date with my hubby on our patio!! xx

  2. I grew up on steamed artichokes, they’re so good! About 30 years ago I thought they might taste better if I put a clove of garlic in the water, along with a bay leaf, and lemon slice, so tried it, and have made it that way ever since. In fact, 10 years ago I first wrote about it here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cook_and_eat_an_artichoke/

  3. I’ve cooked a few, but I don’t get where the fleshy part of the leaves you’re supposed to eat are. I do the teeth scraapy thing, but nothing soft just leaf. Gave up after the third time. Maybe the eating part of the video will help. Thanks!!

  4. Loved this video and info!

  5. I have eaten and cooked artichokes for decades. The only change I would make in your procedure is to find the choke with the longest stem and do NOT cut it off…the stem is the extension of the heart. You can nibble down the center of the stem as far as you want and it all tastes like the heart….

    gc

    Rating: 5
  6. Thank you so much for this! I am OBSESSED with jarred artichokes, but fresh ones have always seemed too intimidating. This actually looks easy though! My family is trying to cut back on salt, so that’s just one more reason to try fresh instead of jarred.

    – MAK

    • You’re very welcome, Margaret! We hope you and your family find this helpful! :)

  7. Yummm! Artichokes are definitely a labor of love =)

  8. My MIL always says they were easy to make but I didn’t believe her. This is probably why I didn’t bake chicken until I was 28 years old ha ha Can’t wait to make my own articoke this summer!

  9. Oh wow, I can’t tell you how much I needed this tutorial in my life! I always see artichokes in the supermarket/ grocers and always think “Hmmm, I should try using this weird little specimen” but always chicken out because, it’s a scary looking thing. I think this tutorial – and that lemony butter sauce – will help me get over my fear! ?

    • Thanks for sharing, James — we’re so glad you found this helpful! They’re tricky little buggers, and definitely take some doing, but we think they’re worth it! :)

  10. Thank you for this video! Now I’ll attempt to make it!

  11. There was artichocke at the market this weekend. I was hesitante to buy some and cooked them since I had no idea how to. Having read your blog sooner I would have tried that! On Friday, this is what i’m cooking for sure. Thank you!

  12. Oh my … this flashed me back about 18 yrs. I used to manage a recovery home for women with addictions. There were 14 residents and all had access to the kitchen to prepare meals. One of the younger residents met a guy at a meeting and invited him for a meal. He told her a few of his favorite foods and one of them was fresh steamed artichokes. None of us had any idea how to prepare them so we asked the cook from dietary for directions.
    I came to work a few days later and our garbage disposal was broken. Called the repair dept and a guy came out and took it apart. He drug out about 5 lbs of green and brown muck….which I later found out was the “failed” attempts at cooking artichokes….. His statement to me was “tell your gals, if you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t go in the disposal, it should go in the trash”….
    That young resident ended up married to the guy she was trying so hard to impress. I wonder if she ever learned the right way to cook artichokes?

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

    Rating: 5