Gallery: How to Trim an Artichoke

Have some lemon water ready
Have some lemon water ready

To prevent discoloration, rub any cut surfaces directly with lemon juice or immerse the cut artichokes in lemon water. You can also use vinegar or citric acid in the water instead of lemons.

Cut off the top inch (or so) of the artichoke
Cut off the top inch (or so) of the artichoke

A serrated knife works best.

Your next steps will depend on whether you want a whole artichoke or just the heart…

I. For whole artichokes
I. For whole artichokes

If you want the artichoke whole, cut off the stem and a bit of the base. This makes it easier to set them in a serving dish. But don’t throw the stem away! You can peel and steam it as a tasty, little bonus or add it to a stuffing for the artichoke.

I. For whole artichokes
I. For whole artichokes

Trim the sharp tips of the outer leaves with kitchen shears. Put the artichoke in the lemon water while you prepare the rest of the artichokes for cooking.

Once they’re ready, steam them for about 30 minutes or until an outer leaf can be easily pulled off and a knife can be inserted into the heart with no resistance.

But you still have to pull out the inner core of leaves and fuzz...

I. For whole artichokes
I. For whole artichokes

Pull out the inner core of little purple leaves and scrape out the fuzzy choke. It’s easiest to do this after they’ve been cooked, but you can do it before, too. A melon baller or grapefruit spoon both work well.

Now, onto artichoke hearts…

II. For artichoke hearts
II. For artichoke hearts

To get to the heart, peel away. Keep peeling back the leaves until you reach the very delicate and pale ones.

You may start out pulling the leaves one at a time, but, like me, you may eventually lose your cool and start plucking out several at a time. It doesn’t matter, almost all of them need to be trimmed away.

II. For artichoke hearts
II. For artichoke hearts

Trim the outside of the stem and dark green parts off the base. A paring knife does the job best. Also, cut off the end of the stem, which is probably dry and discolored.

II. For artichoke hearts
II. For artichoke hearts

Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and clean out the center. Get the fuzzy choke and inner purple leaves out with a melon baller, grapefruit spoon, or teaspoon.

Ta-da! The artichoke heart
Ta-da! The artichoke heart

Now you are left with the tastiest part: the heart.

20100315-artichoke primary.JPG
20100315-artichoke primary.JPG