HOW TO EAT AN ARTICHOKE

This funny, beautiful, prickly vegetable is a culinary marvel. I wonder, who on earth was the first one to try to eat it?  I just don’t know what kind of person would have thought to eat an Artichoke! Just look at it! It’s sorta like eating a pine cone! But bless the pioneer’s heart for being the first to try!
I adore artichokes! I have been happily eating the marinaded kind in a jar for years! And if an item on a menu had artichokes in it, it would be my first choice to order. But it was only several years ago I braved making my own steamed artichokes at home. Why did I wait so long?
Making artichokes… and eating them for that matter, is not a difficult procedure. All that is needed is a couple of fresh artichokes and the right technique.
If you have never eaten artichokes, seize the moment and try one! New experiences help us to grow and live adventuresome lives! Not to mention Artichokes are elegant vegetables who’s taste and eating experience is sublime!
StoneGable’s Guide To:
 Eating An Artichoke
Ingredients:
2 large, heavy artichokes that are plump for their size
3 fresh lemons
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Proceedure:
Wash the artichokes with cool water. Shake off excess water. 
Lay the artichoke on a cutting board and cut off the stem and any tiny petals. This allows the artichoke to sit upright.

Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, snip the tips off of each petal with kitchen shears. The petals have a little thorn at the end that must be snipped off. There is no need to snip the tips of the top 1/5 of the petals as they will be cut off later.

It is easy if you hold the artichoke on it’s side in the palm of your hand and snip.
Cut the top 1/5 of the artichole off with a SHARP knife. Be very careful, it is a little tough to cut.
Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon liberally all over the artichoke, paying special attention to the cut off ends. This will keep it from discoloring.
Put the artichokes in a heavy saucepan filled with a couple of inches of water and cut lemons.
Simmer on medium low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. I don’t undercook the artichoke because the center does not get done.
Meanwhile, make a lemon mayonnaise dipping sauce.
In a bowl, mix mayonnaise with the juice of a half to one whole lemon and set aside. There are many recipes for dipping sauce, but it am a purist! The flavors of the artichoke and lemon are just perfect!
When the artichokes have been steamed, remove them from the water with tongs.
Place artichokes on a plate along with the dipping sauce and extra lemons.

How To Eat An Artichoke: Technique
Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, pull the petals off 1 at a time.
The end closest to the artichoke has a little plump area of pulpy “flesh”. It it the end that is dipped into the sauce. The other end of the petal is not edible. Hold on to that end.

Dip the “good stuff” end in the dipping sauce and turn the dip side of the artichoke over and place the end in your mouth. Make sure you are firmly gripping the petal. Gently bite down on the petal, but do not break the flesh. Pull the petal through your teeth squeezing out the delicious pulpy material inside. Enjoy the luscious  flavor of the artichoke mingled with the dipping sauce.
Discard the petal. I keep a “discard” bowl on hand.
Continue to pull off the petals and eat them until you get to the very inner petals of the artichoke and the petals have no more pulp in them.

At this point peel off the rest of the petals until you get to the “choke” a fiberous, fuzzy looking disc.

Using the edge of a spoon or a knife scrape off the choke and discard. This will expose “heart”, the culinary prize of the artichoke.

The heart can then be cut up, dipped in the lemon mayonnaise and eaten. Double YUM! The heart may not look as pretty as the rest of the artichoke, but it is so very delicious and worth the trouble to get to them.
Eating an artichoke is an EVENT! Fun and exotic, wouldn’t this be fun to eat with your Valentine?

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Yvonne, thanks for sharing this post! very interesting and informative! I love artichokes but not brave enuff to buy off shelves and cook them at home! furthermore artichokes are expensive here at my side of the world. thanks again for sharing this info. I guess no harm done trying the same at home!. have a good day

  2. says

    Great post, Yvonne. My mother loved artichokes so we had them all the time and it never occurred to me that others might find them unusual. Several years ago I served shrimp stuffed artichokes at a dinner party and nobody would touch them. All 8 went back to the kitchen. Wish I had your tutorial then.

  3. says

    Your teaching skills are very evident in this wonderful post! I have only eaten fresh artichokes once…and they did not serve a dipping sauce! This sounds delicious!I do love the taste of artichokes in a jar so will have to try this. Thanks!!!! XO, Pinky

  4. says

    So glad you got the computer working right, I hate that when it happens.

    We are huge fans and dip ours in lemon butter. I will have to try the mayonaise. Of course, it is always a fight over who gets the heart. We usually make one per two people and it is always on our Christmas Eve menu. One year I neglected to get them and I did hear about it!!

  5. says

    This is a wonderful post. I remember teaching my oldest to eat an artichoke when he was just a little guy. Every now and then he’ll talk about it, so it must have made quite an impression.

    :)
    ButterYum

  6. says

    Is there anything better in the world! I LOVE artichokes…it is my kid’s favorite thing to eat and I become their hero every time I make them;)! We have a place in town that steams them and then just before serving they throw them on the grill and they take on that smoky flavor…oh my… they are fantastic…some frsh lemon added and I am in heaven!

    Thanks for stopping by earlier…I love it when you visit!

  7. says

    I’ve only tried fresh ones once…I was with friends in San Francisco and we stopped for just a little bite and we got an artichoke to share. I can’t say that I was impressed but your tutorial makes me want to try again. Thanks for the thorough tutorial.

  8. says

    I agree it was a brave soul who first decided to eat an artichoke! I wonder if they knew to take the thorns off the ends!! I have never had a fresh one but like the taste of those in a jar. Not a common item where I live.

  9. says

    Do not ever put any part of a fresh artichoke down a disposal! I speak form experience. Nothing like preparing for a special dinner party in a small kitchen while hubby has the disposal dismanteled! It was very stopped up! We finished all on time! The food was fabulous! Those were the days…bought them by the brown papaer bag for $1 at a Monterey vegetable and fruit stand! Yum!

  10. says

    Now I have to try these. I’ve only eaten and used the ones in jars that are marinated. They sound good though.

    I did a post for you. I finally got around to making those Cornbread and Asiago Cheese Bagels. Come by and see.

  11. says

    From your reader’s comments I am surprised at how many people do not prepare artichokes at home. I have been making them for my family for over 40 years! One of our favorites is to sprinkle chopped fresh garlic and dried sweet basil in amongst the large, outer leaves and add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the steaming water. The garlic and herbs permeate the entire artichoke. We use a warm butter dipping sauce and prepare to have butter all over our cheeks and running down our arms!

  12. says

    Whatever you do, do NOT put any part of the artichoke in the disposal! We did…right before a dinner party. Nothing like cooking in a small stepping over hubby who is under the sink dismantling the very stopped up disposal. We got it done though. Food was all on time and fabulous! We bought them by the brown paper bag full at the local Monteray veggie market for $1! Those were the days!

  13. says

    Yvonne, you have of course THE BEST post I have ever seen on artichokes; most people do not trim the tips as you show; and the lemon juice is key. Julia also recommends scooping the choke out prior to serving, which I now do. I will think of you the next time we steam a few! They seem to take so long to steam but suppose there is nothing to do for that. Wishing you a wonderful weekend~

  14. says

    I’ll never forget the first time we were served artichokes at a dinner party. After a quick demo, we each took a tentative bite..and we were in love! We’ve been cooking and enjoying them ever since. YUM Great tutorial. Hope it inspires many people to jump in and try them. We just use melted butter for dipping but the mayo sounds delish too. Love your beautiful blog!

  15. says

    Yvonne, you did an EXCELLENT job of describing how to do this! (not an easy task)
    Artichokes are one of DH’s favorite veggies & HE is the one to always make the dipping sauce. It has to be just the right proportions. He’ll be thrilled that you posted this & make me think of getting him some this week.
    Thanks!

  16. says

    Great lesson, especially for people who don’t know what to do with them. We served them to my husband’s sister once, and she left the best part on her plate. The heart…LOL. We love eating them and I even have special artichoke plates.

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