Here are Artichoke Basic Essentials: How to pick, store, and cook healthy, oil-free vegan recipes. When to choose organic. Plus, nutrition information on this delicious fresh vegetable.
Quick Reference Pin:
- Spring: Artichoke prime season is Spring, March to May. Almost all US artichokes are grown in California.
- Squeaky Leaves: Press the leaves of an artichoke together. You should hear a "squeak"
- Avoid Dry or Shriveled: This is a sign of aged, dried-out artichokes. They've probably been on the shelf too long, and you should avoid.
- Brown Tips? Might mean old artichokes, or a sign of frost damage. Some swear that brown tips signal the most delicious artichokes.
- Size Matters: Small artichokes cook faster, taste sweeter, and require less prep. You only need to trim a few outer leaves, and there shouldn't be a hairy thistle on the inside. Baby Artichokes are ideal for beginner cooks.
- Refrigerate 1 Week: Store unwashed artichokes in your refrigerator for up to 1 week
- Freezing or Canning: You'll want to steam or boil artichokes before freezing or canning. Raw artichokes would turn brown and be un-tasty. Simply boil or steam until knife tender and drain. Store in an air-tight plastic bag (removing as much air as possible) for freezing. Or store in a salted brine for canning.
How to Clean and Cook:
- How to Clean: Rinse the artichokes under running water to remove any grit
- How to Trim: Trim off the top spiky tips. Trim the bottom stalk of any brown. Use a bird's beak (curved paring) knife to shave off the outer layer of the stalk and peel off the 2-3 rows of leaves at the base. Use a spoon to scoop out the heart and hairy thistle. Keep trimmed artichokes in an acidulated bath (water + lemon juice) until ready to cook.
- Artichoke Leaves and Thistle: Not edible and not tasty. Toss on the compost pile or discard. Not recommended to use in vegetable stock.
- How to Cook: Steam, boil, bake, or braise artichokes until tender. Use on salads, enjoy as an appetizer, or puree into a dip with hummus. You can grill, roast, or saute artichokes for more flavor.
Nutrition (help from the California Artichoke Council)
- Fat Free, Cholesterol Free, Low Sodium
- Low Calorie: Only 25 calories per artichoke
- Good Fiber: One artichokes has 6 grams of fiber! That's 1/4 your daily recommendation
- Good Source of: Potassium, Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Magnesium
- Antioxidant Power:
- Cynarin and Silymarin - have been linked to healthy liver function and repair