In this guide to artichokes, you’ll find the best tips on how to purchase, prepare, and enjoy this spring vegetable! Artichokes are more than just a canned vegetable and the recipes below will help you find the perfect way to include them on your table.

A pile of fresh artichokes on display.
Photo credit: Pexels.
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Artichokes are a versatile and underused vegetable. Technically, they’re the edible flower buds from a plant that’s related to the sunflower. Though their appearance may be off-putting, once you know how to prepare them you’ll never go back to the canned variety.

Though most people associate artichokes with marinated jars or cans you find on the shelf, there are so many other ways to prepare them. Each cooking technique brings with it a fun new option for making the most of this spring-time vegetable.

Benefits of Artichokes

With their prickly exterior, you may be wondering why you should even bother working these into your diet.

However, artichokes are a wonderful vegetable to include for many reasons:

  • High in antioxidants
  • Low in calories and fats
  • Aid in digestion
  • A wonderful source of fiber

How To Buy Artichokes

Fresh artichokes are in season from March through May. Outside of these months, buying them fresh isn’t worth it as they tend to be rough, tough, and not nearly as tasty as they can be.

I personally gorge on fresh artichokes during their short season and then stick to canned artichoke hearts during the remainder of the year for recipes like this vegetable bean skillet or this quick and easy chicken artichoke and olive skillet dinner.

Spotting A Fresh Artichoke

When you’re shopping for artichokes, you want to choose the ones with a deep green (or purple – yes, purple artichokes are a real thing) color and tight leaves. This indicates that they are fresh.

Leaves that are loose or flaking, or that have darkened indicate an old artichoke.

Likewise, the bulb should feel heavier than expected when you pick it up and the outside is almost brittle to the touch.

Types Of Artichokes

There are a few different varieties of artichokes to choose from. Baby artichokes aren’t a different type, just a smaller bud.

Green globe: these are the ones you’re probably most familiar with. They’re heavy, round, and large.

Omaha: this variety is very dense but is also a bit sweeter than most others.

Imperial star: these artichokes are commonly referred to as one of the best-tasting varieties

How To Store Artichokes

Artichokes are stored easily enough as all you need to do is keep them in the fridge. They’ll last up to a week. You don’t need to slice them or prepare them, simply wrap them in the plastic bag you grabbed them in and they can chill in the fridge.

Cooked artichokes will last 3-4 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.

Purple artichokes on a wooden table.

How To Prepare Them

This is where many people get put off as they require some work before they’re ready to be cooked. But the juice is worth the squeeze with these!

Start by trimming or shaving the stem with a vegetable peeler and remove the hardest outer leaves. Snip off the tops of the remaining leaves using kitchen shears too if they’re extra crunchy.

When sliced in half, the inner core is revealed. This is referred to as the “heart” and it will be surrounded by a bit of fuzz. You want to remove the fuzz before you eat. I find a grapefruit spoon to be the perfect tool to do this.

From here, you can boil the artichokes or steam them. Though these are typical preparation methods, other options like roasting and grilling artichokes are also possible and can bring out even more flavor.

Drizzle some oil, lemon, and salt over the artichokes before roasting them and you’ll be hooked forever.

Artichokes are fully cooked when you can remove the bottom leaves with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions About Artichokes

Are artichokes good for you?

Yes! Artichokes are packed full of fiber, antioxidants, and folate and considered an excellent choice if you’re trying to incorporate prebiotic foods into your diet. They make a great addition to your diet as they’re also low in calories and fats.

What is the best way to cook artichokes?

Many people simply steam or boil the artichokes and use them in their dishes. However, grilling or roasting artichokes will bring out much more flavor.

The Best Fresh Artichoke Recipes

Enjoy one of the best vegetables of the spring season with these artichoke recipes. These recipes use artichokes as the main ingredient or help you find new ways to add them to classic meals.

tomato braised artichokes
5 from 3 votes

Tomato Braised Artichokes with Pistachio Pesto

The BEST way to enjoy artichokes is in this simple braised artichoke recipe cooked with whole peeled tomatoes and served with delicious pistachio pesto.
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simple grilled artichokes
No ratings yet

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Herb Tahini Dipping Sauce

Looking for a new way to enjoy eating artichokes? Try grilling them with this simple recipe! The smoky grilled charred flavor goes perfectly with a bright tahini lemon dipping sauce.
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4.28 from 11 votes

Crispy Lemon Roasted Baby Artichokes

These roasted baby artichokes are tossed in lemon juice, baked until crispy and sprinkled with kosher salt making a delicious spring snack or side dish.
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Roasted vegetables and potatoes on a plate with a fork.
5 from 2 votes

Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies

This simple dinner recipe combines sausage and vegetables on a sheet pan for an easy complete meal all in one! Purple artichokes are a stunning seasonal addition to the chicken sausage slices and baby potatoes in this meal.
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Beef Stuffed Artichokes

Beef Stuffed Artichokes

Lebanese Beef Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms is exactly as it sounds, artichoke bottoms stuffed with a perfectly spiced beef and pine nuts mixture
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Steamed Artichokes

Steamed Artichokes

Mediterranean style steamed artichokes are a delicious spring appetizer or vegetable. Naturally low-carb and keto friendly.
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Italian Shaved Artichoke Salad

Italian Shaved Artichoke Salad

A quick and easy shaved artichoke salad made with fresh artichokes, Parmigiano cheese, and a tangy lemon dressing. A perfect appetizer.
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Lasagna with Artichokes and Mozzarella

Lasagna with Artichokes and Mozzarella

A white Artichoke Lasagna with a creamy cheesy filling of flavorful sautèed artichoke hearts and melted Mozzarella cheese.
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Stuffed Artichokes Made Sicilian Style

Stuffed Artichokes Made Sicilian Style

Artichokes made Sicilian style, stuffed with onion and cheese is an absolute hit. The combination really brings out the sweetness.
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Ah-mazing Vegan Stuffed Artichokes

Ah-mazing Vegan Stuffed Artichokes

These vegan stuffed artichokes are simply remarkable…garlicky, lemony, cheesy, and bready…what else could you want?
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More Spring Vegetable Guides:

A Guide to Asparagus
A Guide to Radishes
A Guide To Peas
A Guide To Leeks

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. This guide is fantastic! It’s got everything you need to know about buying and cooking these veggies. The recipes are super easy to follow and delicious. I love how versatile artichokes can be!

  2. This Lasagna with Artichokes and Mozzarella is my kind of lunch. Creamy, savory and so delicious. I could eat these every day and may have seconds (or thirds) just in one sitting! lol I’m totally obsessed!

  3. I never knew how to spot a ripe artichoke and now I do! THANK YOU. Also a shaved artichoke salad? I’ve never heard of that and I will be making it immediately.

  4. oooh so many good ideas! We tried the grilled artichokes with tahini and it was an amazing side dish! thank you