How to cook Artichoke
To prep artichokes, squeeze the juice from a few lemons into a big bowl of cold water, dropping the squeezed lemon halves into the bowl as you go, but keeping 1 halved lemon out so you can use it to rub the artichokes as you prep them. Artichokes oxidize and discolour super-quickly once exposed to air, so it’s important to rub them with acid as you go, keeping them submerged in lemon water thereafter.
One artichoke at a time, click off the outer leaves – about half in total – until you get to the paler, yellowy- white, more tender ones. With a sharp knife, trim 5cm below and above the base of the choke, rubbing the exposed cuts with lemon as you go. Use a small sharp knife or speed-peeler to peel the base and stalk, revealing the soft flesh underneath. Rub it all over with one of your lemon halves.
Get a teaspoon, insert it into the middle of the leaves, then turn and scrape it to remove the inner, fluffy choke – look inside to check you’ve done an accurate job. Once done, simply squeeze in some lemon juice.
At this point you can use them whole, halve or quarter them as your recipe calls for, or, of course, slice, dice or do whatever you want with them! The possibilities are endless.
READ: How to use artichoke
HOW TO PREPARE AN ARTICHOKE
WHAT IS AN ARTICHOKE?
Globe artichokes are actually edible flowers, from the thistle family. Prepping them takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it! Steamed, grilled, roasted, or sautéed, they’re absolutely delicious.
WHEN ARE ARTICHOKES IN SEASON?
Artichokes are in season from June to November. But you can also get delicious jarred artichokes which come in flavoured oil and are great for antipasti spreads, or tinned pre-prepared artichoke hearts, both of which are available all year round. If you have a plot of land, growing artichokes is beyond easy, they look extraordinary and their yield is pretty high. Bearing in mind they can be expensive to buy, growing your own could be win–win. Try and give your artichokes a little squeeze before you buy them to check they’re nice and firm and at their best.
HOW TO STORE ARTICHOKES
Fresh globe artichokes should be refrigerated and eaten soon after purchase.
What are the health benefits?
Two globe artichoke hearts count as one of your 5-a-day (one portion of veg or fruit is 80g raw weight). They're a good source of folate, potassium and manganese.