Slideshow: 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
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.
Ta-da! The artichoke heart
Ta-da! The artichoke heart
Now you are left with the tastiest part: the heart.