They might look complicated and a little intimidating but learning how to clean artichokes is actually quite simple! Even if this is the first time you've made that at home, you'll be surprised what an easy recipe this is!
Click here to learn how to steam Brussels sprouts!
Why you'll love this recipe
✔️ This de-mystifies the process.
✔️ Artichokes really are simple to make.
✔️ AND they are delicious!
For the exact measurements, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- whole artichokes - globe artichoke or baby artichokes, this works for any size fresh artichokes.
- fresh lemon
Trimming Artichoke for Steaming
If you've never cooked an artichoke where do you start? The tips of those leaves have small spines on them. They are as hard as a rock. Here's a quick how-to for large globe artichokes.
- The first step is to trim and cut artichokes - start by trimming off the stem or base of the artichoke. Or if you'd prefer use a vegetable peeler or paring knife and remove the tough skin at the base of the artichoke.
- Remove any tough leaves as well.
- Next, slice off the top. I use a sharp serrated knife; this works really well.
- Now using kitchen shears or sharp scissors, cut off the tips of the prickly leaves. The thornes are very sharp!
- Slice lemon in half. Rub the top of the artichoke (the trimmed edges) with the lemon to prevent oxidation.
- Place artichokes in a big pot of cold water.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into the pot then toss it into the water with the artichokes. Make sure there is enough water to completely cover the vegetables.
- Add a good amount of salt - about a palmful. Cover the pot tightly and turn the stove on high.
- Check occasionally and if needed, add additional water to the pot. Set the timer for 45 minutes.
- Test artichoke for doneness. Remove a leaf to see if it easily peels off. Then insert a skewer into the base. Push it about halfway up the artichoke. If it inserts easily, it is done. If there is resistance, allow it to cook for another 5-10 minutes and test again.
- Remove the cooked artichoke from the hot water and drain upside-down for about 10 minutes. Since it has been boiling for nearly an hour it stays very hot! Allowing it to drain and cool down makes it possible to handle easily.
How do you eat an artichoke?
They can be served whole - but if you've never served an artichoke - here are a few more hints.
- Peel and remove the tender leaves from the artichoke. You can dip the ends of the leaves in melted butter for dipping sauce or mayonnaise or squeeze them with fresh lemon juice. Pull it thru your teeth to remove the pulpy flesh, delicious!
- As you work around the artichoke enjoying the tender inner leaves you'll come to the heart. Use a fork to go around the top of the leaves as pictured above.
- Then, take your fork and scrape off the fuzzy choke. It's inedible. Remove and discard.
- You're left with the tender hearts, which is the best part of the artichoke!
Peak artichoke season is the in the spring, however they will continue to produce. You can enjoy fresh artichokes all summer long and into early fall.
Artichokes can be served cold or hot. They are delicious either way!
The heart of the artichoke is consider the "best" part, but the leaves are delicious as well!
- Some people use a melon baller or small spoon to remove the hairy choke.
- Be sure to add squeezed lemon to the water, or the edges that have been cut will turn brown.
- Whether you are making large artichokes or small ones, the process is the same, you'll just need to adjust the cooking time.
- Using a pressure cooker will cut the cooking time to 15 minutes. However, cooking time changes with the size of the artichoke.
I hope I've taken away a bit of the mystery surrounding artichokes and you're ready to give them a try!
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- Large Dutch Oven or large pot
- Sharp knife
- Steamer basket
How to cook artichokes
- 2 globe artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons salt
- mayonnaise, melted butter for dipping or additional fresh lemons to squeeze over the artichoke for serving.
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- Fill a large stockpot with water. Quarter the lemon and squeeze them into the water. Add the squeezed lemons to the water.
- Slice off end of artichoke and snip the spine off each leaf. Place them in the lemon water on the stove. Cover tightly and turn the burner on high.
- Check at 45 minutes for doneness by inserting a skewer into the base of the artichoke. When the skewer easily inserts about halfway into the artichoke, they are done.
- Remove them from the pot and turn them upside down to drain.
- Serve & enjoy!