Oh, the lovely artichoke.
This fun food has a special place in my heart. (Pun intended!)
Jack and I met at a restaurant called the Mason Jar. The ‘Jar’ was known for their steamed artichoke and their Spinach- Artichoke Dip. So, my man and I were slinging artichokes before they were cool.
To me, artichokes are synonymous with Spring. They are amazing thrown into a crawfish boil, stuffed with cheese and baked for an appetizer or steamed and served with a glass of wine.
When we started the Farm to Kitchen, one of the vegetables I BEGGED my farmers to grow was the artichoke. When I couldn’t find any takers, I bought seeds to tried to grow my own…and…all know how that went.
A few weeks ago, our farm loving friends at The Wheel Kitchen found a stash of pesticide-free chokes from Atkinson Farms in Spring, TX.
In my rush of excitement, I started digging through fun facts about artichokes and I learned some fun and interesting things about this delicacy! The artichoke is a plant (I know, all veggies are plants) and the part we eat is the flower that has not yet bloomed. Word has it they are MAGICAL when in bloom so I’m planning another trip to the farm in 2 weeks so I can see the before & after!
At farm box pick up, I go through each share to explain the unknown to our co-op members. To my surprise, several people were unaware of what to do with the 4 artichokes in each box.
As requested, here is how I prep my chokes prior to steaming, grilling, baking or boiling:
Trim the tip of the leaves on the artichoke with scissors. (See Left.)
Not much is necessary as you are simply trimming it to allow for easier steaming and a most aesthetically appealing option.
Trim each leaf for a uniform choke. (See Right.)
NEXT STEPS: Using a sharp knife, trim the top quarter of the artichoke.
Trimming the top will expose purple and cream flower petals and allow you to separate the surrounding leaves to assist with the next steps.
Trimming the tail will allow the choke to sit flat with serving whole.
NEXT STEPS: Pull as much of the flower petals out while opening up petals and allowing you access to the heart. (See Left.) As you go deeper, you will reach a layer of spikey hair that should be removed as much as possible.
When the hair is removed, you will have a clean artichoke heart that is ready to be stuffed, baked, steamed or boiled.
To enjoy, remove one leaf at a time, gently scrape the leaf between your teeth in a pulling motion to get the meat from the heart. Continue eating leaf after leaf until the heart is fully exposed. Cut and enjoy!!
Remember, the first time may seem too long a process; but, I promise, it can be mastered quickly and easily.
Let me know how my method works for you and if you have any other methods you use to break down your artichokes!