Cooking Artichokes For the
First Time

Cooking artichokes was a complete mystery to me.

Our family had never eaten artichokes growing up so I considered them a foreign food only served in fancy restaurants.

My husband grew up in California and his family really loved eating artichokes.

Six months after we were married my husband brought home two globe artichokes.

Like a good wife I wanted to show my husband I could cook artichokes. I went to my handy Better Homes and Garden cook book and looked up cooking artichokes.

    I dutifully trimmed the end of the leaves with scissors as the book indicated and boiled in salted water.

    I was proud of myself as I served artichokes that evening.

    My husband took one look at the neatly trimmed artichokes at started laughing at my fancy trimmed effort.

Needless to say I was crushed by his reaction. Apparently his mother never trimmed artichokes. To my defense all cook books I have found describing cooking artichokes, tell you to trim the ends of the leaves with scissors. Although this is not necessary it is a personal choice.

Over the years my husband has become more sensitive to my feelings and I no longer trim the ends of the artichoke leaves before cooking.

Choosing Artichokes

Globe Artichokes are in season from October thru June although they are at their peak during April and May. You will find them year round in the produce section, but eating artichokes out of season is not as satisfying. The flavor of old artichokes is wanting and they don’t cook up well.

Fresh artichokes are heavy and the leaves are compact with a good green color all the way to the tip of the leaves. The stems should be nice and green as well. Artichokes will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least a week. Discolored and bruised artichokes indicate they are old.

Growing your own artichokes insures a fresh supply all summer. One large artichoke or 3 smaller side shoots make a serving. We like to eat artichokes whole, al naturel with plain butter and salt as a dipping sauce.

Let's Start Cooking

The stem of the artichoke needs to be removed at the base. With a knife cut the stem even with the base of the artichoke. Remove any leaves that are old and discolored around the base.

    1. Fill a large pan with water, cooking artichokes need plenty of room, add salt and bring to boil.

    2. Drop prepared artichokes in boiling water.

    3. Simmer uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes.

    4. Check artichokes often. Artichokes are done when bottom leaves pull off easily and bottom stem is tender when a knife is inserted in the bottom.

Keep a close eye on the artichokes. Over done artichokes are not good. I like the meat to have a slight give. Remove cooked artichokes with a slotted spoon. Turn upside down in a colander to drain.

Artichokes may be served hot, warm or cold with dipping sauce of choice.

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