How to Cook, Clean, and Eat Artichokes

by KathyMcGraw

Did you ever wonder what an artichoke was? This article will show you pictures of Artichoke fields, and step by step on how to cook, clean and eat an Artichoke.

What is an Artichoke

ARtichokes in Central California Field


An artichoke is a thistle like plant that grows in several Medeterannian areas, and the areas I am familiar with are in Central California. Castorville and Watsonville, California are where you will see field after field of artichokes.  If you're lucky you will see artichokes in bloom.  Yes, they bloom like a flower.


Artichoke Field with Blooming Artichoke Image

Coffee Mug With Living Green Message and Images of Artichokes Growing

Preparing an Artichoke for Cooking

Some people wash the artichoke, and cut off the thorns first.  I have eaten artichokes for years and never cut the thorns off, but I do cut the stem.  Why cut the stem? I'm not real sure as I am not a "cook."

Artichokes are grown in fields, and once they are ready to be picked they are harvasted and sent to Market.  They should be washed out before cooking. I just run them under water.

Step 1 Cutting the stem from the Artichoke

Cut the stem of the Artichoke before cooking
Cut the stem of the Artichoke before ...

Step 2

wash artichokes before cooking
wash artichokes before cooking

Step 2- 4 Cooking Artichokes

After you fill the pan (put enough water to cover the artichokes), you want to cook the Artichokes about 20 minutes.  Some people say to cover the pot, but it's not really mandatory.  I do move the artichokes around in the boiling water a few times, as they have a tendency to float no matter how much water I put in the pot.

A few of the leaves will turn brown, but this doesn't affect the taste at all. To check to see if the artichokes are done, stick a fork in the stem.  When it goes all the way in easily, your artichoke is done.

Eating an Artichoke

The two ways I know to eat an artichoke are with butter and mayonnaise.  I was told that if the artichoke is hot you eat it with melted butter, and use mayonnaise if it's cold.  However, I eat mine with mayonnaise, and especially like the heart (the inside) with mayonnaise.  Just put some on your plate and dip the leaves then scrape the leaf across your teeth to get the meaty part of it. 

Note:  The first few leaves have very little of the good stuff on them, but the larger ones further inside the artichoke do.

Checking to See if it is Done

Cooking Artichokes
Cooking Artichokes

Cooked and Ready to Eat

Eating an Artichoke
Eating an Artichoke

How to Eat an Artichoke

The outside of an artichoke has the leaves.  Peel them off, and eat the fleshy part.  Once you get near the heart, the leaves will be thin and lighter in color.  Peel these off and then you will see what looks like soft hair (it's called the choke).  Take a spoon and scrape this part out, leaving you with the heart, which in my opinion is the best part of the artichoke.  In fact it is the heart that you will see in the markets when you buy marinated artichokes.

There are several different ways to use artichokes, and the cookbook here will give you recipes for 21 other ways you can eat artichokes. 

Hope this helped you if you haven't cooked or eaten one before.  Experiment for the taste you like best, and enjoy.

21 Artichoke Recipes in This Artichoke Cookbook

Cute, Small Artichoke Cookbook from the California Artichoke Advisory Board
The California Artichoke Cookbook: From the California Ar...
Celestial Arts
$5.99  $1.18

Perfect Serving Board for Artichokes

Artichoke Shaped Serving Board
Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 qt, Artichoke...
Le Creuset
Only $399.95

Artichoke Chicken Casserole Recipe

Quick and easy artichoke recipe
A friends quick gourmet recipe, Chicken Artichoke Casserole. This Artichoke Casserole is one of her many quick gourmet recipes.

Updated: 06/22/2011, KathyMcGraw
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Holistic_Health on 07/06/2011

Well, I can't say I don't know how to prepare it anymore so I guess I'll have to eat one. Great info!

sheilamarie on 06/25/2011

Although I have loved eating marinated artichoke hearts for years, I have never cooked an artichoke and have been intimidated to try. Your information here makes me want to go out and buy one today and give it a try!

ohcaroline on 06/20/2011

I've only had artichoke once...a long time ago. I don't remember what it even tasted like. I haven't fixed them either. Good instructions.

SquidRich on 06/17/2011

I've never had artichokes, but with these clear preparation instructions, maybe I should try them...

Michey on 06/16/2011

Very good practical tips, I really need some directions... and I have them. Thanks

KathyMcGraw on 06/15/2011

It is encouraging to read that the instructions are easy enough to understand for that for those of you that haven't cooked them. And as Chefkeem said, they are indeed healthy. Enjoy.

lakeerieartists on 06/14/2011

I have been eyeing the fresh artichokes in the grocery store the last few weeks. I am always afraid to buy them because I don't know how to cook them. This is really going to help.

kimbesa on 06/14/2011

So cool...artichokes are a new favorite. Thanks!

sandyspider on 06/14/2011

Great information of artichokes.

kajohu on 06/14/2011

Artichokes are in our local supermarket now -- I keep eyeing them, but haven't really known what to do with them. Now I do -- this might be a fun "treat" for us this weekend!

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