All About Artichokes

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Artichoke Tutorial including information about buying, storing, cooking and eating artichokes, as well as step-by-step photo instructions on how to prepare artichokes for stuffing.
Novices often don't know where to begin with this intimidating vegetable, but don't worry, it's not that difficult to tame even the wildest artichoke.

Buying & Storing Artichokes
When buying artichokes, look for a vibrant color and a vegetable that is tightly closed. An artichoke that is starting to open is not that fresh. Another good rule of thumb, as it is with many fruits and vegetables, is to look for one that feels heavy for its size.

To store artichokes, first wash in cold water, then place them, still wet, in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. They should keep for at least a week.

Preparing for Cooking:
  1. Remove the sharp outer top leaves by cutting about a quarter of the artichoke from the top -- a serrated knife works well.
  2. Trim the base so that your artichoke can stand up straight.
  3. Place in pan with about an inch and a half of salted water (you can also add a little lemon juice to the water if you like). Or you can use a steamer basket.
  4. Cover pot and steam artichokes for about 30 to 40 minutes (depending on size), or until bottoms of the artichoke are tender (test with a fork). Check the water levels often, as it's easy to forget about and let boil dry. I know from experience, this does not add a pleasant aroma to your house.
  5. Serve with melted butter (I like to add a little lemon juice and garlic to mine), a mayonnaise style dressing or even a hollandaise sauce.

How To Eat An Artichoke
Pull off a leaf and dip the widest end into butter or sauce. Pull the leaf through your teeth, taking off the tenderest part. Discard the rest of the leaf. Continue with other leaves. As you get closer to the heart, remove the tiny leaves and the hairy choke from the heart. The rest is entirely edible.

How To Prepare An Artichoke For Stuffing
A hollowed artichoke can become an artful, elegant container for any number of stuffings. Try filling stuffed artichokes with dips for party hor d'oeuvres or stuff with tuna, shrimp or chicken salad for a light lunch entree or stuff with rice, couscous or other grains and veggies for a spectacular side dish.

1. 2.

1. Cut off stem so artichoke can easily stand.

2.Cut about an inch off the top.

3. 4.

3. Using a spoon or (even better) a melon baller, hollow out the middle, including the hairy choke (make sure you remove all of this).

4. Stand artichoke upright, steam the artichoke as usual then stuff with filling of your choice (depending on your stuffing choice, you may want to cool or even chill the artichoke first).

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