Artichoke Basics: Picking, Storing, Nutrition and Healthy, Oil-Free Vegan Recipes

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.

Fresh Artichokes are a delicious, healthy vegetable.  Bake, steam , or braise them for your favorite oil-free vegan recipes

Fresh Artichokes are a delicious, healthy vegetable.  Bake, steam , or braise them for your favorite oil-free vegan recipes

Purple Artichokes are gorgeous, healthy vegetables.  Antioxidants give this vegetable its unique color.  Baby artichokes cook faster and require less prep, making them ideal for beginner cooks.

Purple Artichokes are gorgeous, healthy vegetables.  Antioxidants give this vegetable its unique color.  Baby artichokes cook faster and require less prep, making them ideal for beginner cooks.

Chef's Plant-Based Tip:  Once you trim artichokes and scoop out the hairy thistle, you can stuff them with a simple, healthy filling like whole wheat bread crumbs, whole wheat couscous or cooked quinoa, 

Chef's Plant-Based Tip:  Once you trim artichokes and scoop out the hairy thistle, you can stuff them with a simple, healthy filling like whole wheat bread crumbs, whole wheat couscous or cooked quinoa, 

Chef's Cooking Tip:  When working with artichokes, you need to create an acidulated bath (basically just lemon juice and water).  Keep trimmed artichokes in here.  This will prevent them from turning brown and oxidizing

Chef's Cooking Tip:  When working with artichokes, you need to create an acidulated bath (basically just lemon juice and water).  Keep trimmed artichokes in here.  This will prevent them from turning brown and oxidizing

 

Quick Reference Pin:

Artichokes 101 - Healthy Infographic Pin for Season, How to Choose, Store, Cook, and Nutrition

Artichoke Basics

Seasons:  

  • Spring: Artichoke prime season is Spring, March to May.  Almost all US artichokes are grown in California.

Choosing: 

  • 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.

Storing:

  • 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
Chef's Cooking Tip: A "Bird's Beak" Knife makes it easy to trim and peel artichokes

Chef's Cooking Tip: A "Bird's Beak" Knife makes it easy to trim and peel artichokes


Healthy, Oil-Free Plant-Based Artichoke Recipes