This is a funny one to write because we’re a house divided when it comes to artichokes. I love them even with all the prep work they necessitate, Ulysses hates them. I live with a man who eats pizza with a fork and knife, sucking on artichoke leaves just isn’t his idea of a good time when it comes to a meal. We’ve agreed to disagree on this one.
A Guide to Spring Vegetables – Artichokes
When you think of artichokes I bet the canned, marinated ones come to mind before the fresh spring ones. They do, don’t they? You think cheesy spinach & artichoke dip not fresh green vegetable with spikey leaves and fuzzy insides. I know, I do too. We’re gonna change that today though because these fresh ones, although a little rough around the edges (quite literally) can be so much more delicious than the watery canned ones.
Peak season: March-May
Varieties: Artichokes are the edible flower bud from a plant related to the sunflower. Baby artichokes are not a different variety, just a smaller bud. The most common variety is the classic green globe artichoke although purple artichokes can be found in some stores as well.
What to look for: Deep green color and tight leaves are what you’re looking for. Loose and darkened leaves indicate an old artichoke. The bulb should feel heavy for it’s size.
How to store it: Storage is easy with these guys, keep artichokes in the plastic bag from the store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to prepare it: Artichokes take a bit of work before they’re ready to be cooked. Stems should be trimmed and shaved, outer leaves removed and tops of the remaining leaves snipped to cut off the pointy ends. The heart, which is the inner core of the artichoke, is surrounded by fuzz. That should also be removed or avoided when eating. Braising or steaming are probably the most traditional ways to cook artichokes but grilling and roasting are also options. Artichokes are fully cooked when you can remove the bottom leaves with ease.
Nutritional benefits: Artichokes are packed with antioxidants!
Artichoke recipes from Running to the Kitchen
None yet (at least not using fresh ones)! Kinda can’t believe that. This will change next week, stay tuned!
Artichoke recipes from around the web
Artichokes stuffed with citrus-tarragon shrimp – Seasonal & Savory
Grilled baby artichokes with lemon-basil aoili – Crumb
Garlic thyme oven braised artichokes – Gourmande in the Kitchen
Grilled marinated artichokes – Tasty Yummies
Whole wheat black pepper fettuccine with baby artichokes – Oh My Veggies
Purple potato and artichoke gratin – Nourished Kitchen
Zucchini blossom and artichoke risotto – Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Artichokes and cheesy grits – No Recipes
Baked stuffed artichokes with leeks – The Italian Dish
Braised baby purple artichokes – Family Spice
Next week: A GUIDE TO SPRING VEGETABLES – LEEKS