Learn About Artichoke

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is an Artichoke?

An artichoke, commonly called the French artichoke, is a vegetable that comes from a thistle plant.  The artichoke itself is a thistle flower bud that is picked before it blooms.  Artichokes are green, with petals curled up to form a ball shape, and may come in medium or large sizes.  Some artichokes may have a slightly purple coloring toward the center of the ball.  Artichokes can have thorns on the outside, a long stem, and hairs on the inside.  They may come whole, which requires peeling to get to the artichoke heart, or canned only as artichoke hearts.  

What Does Artichoke Taste Like?

Artichokes have a mild nutty taste to them, somewhat similar to asparagus. When cooked with spices or other foods, artichokes may absorb the flavors of the other foods.

Learn About Artichokes
Artichoke cut in half on a wooden cutting board.

How Do You Eat Artichoke?

The inner part of the artichoke, commonly referred to as the heart, is the edible portion of the artichoke.  The exterior leaves around the artichoke, the hairy bits called the choke, and the stem should not be eaten.  Fresh artichoke hearts are commonly grilled, sauteed, fried, or boiled.  Roasted artichokes and stuffed artichokes are popular side dishes.  Spinach and artichoke pair well to make dips and dipping sauces.  Artichoke is frequently paired with chicken as a complete meal.

Where Can You Buy Artichoke?

Find canned artichoke hearts in the canned food aisle of the grocery store.  Fresh artichokes are found in the produce section.

How Do You Store Artichoke?

Store canned artichoke in a cool, dry place.  Place fresh artichoke in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Fun Fact About Artichoke

If the artichoke is not picked and blooms on the thistle plant, it turns into a bright purple flower.

Did You Know?

Some countries enjoy their artichokes by drinking artichoke tea.

Recipes Using Artichokes

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

Thaw frozen artichoke hearts before beginning. Coat artichokes in olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt. Transfer artichokes to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and tightly wrap in foil. Bake until the artichoke hearts soften and are fork tender. Serve warm topped with fresh parsley.

Sauteed Artichoke Hearts

Thaw frozen artichoke hearts to make cooking easier. Cook artichoke hearts with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt in a cast iron skillet. Cook until artichokes soften.

Stuffed Artichoke Hearts

Create a delicious appetizer using thawed artichoke hearts. Mix parmesan cheese, minced garlic, butter, salt, pepper, and oregano in a bowl. Line artichoke hearts in a baking dish. Use a spoon to scoop the cheese filling to top the artichoke hearts. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the artichokes and bake.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Use a colander to drain the liquid from canned artichoke hearts. Chop artichokes and spinach into smaller pieces. Combine artichokes, spinach, softened cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Transfer to a baking dish and bake.

Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce

Make a delicious sauce with thawed artichokes hearts. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, butter, minced shallots, and artichoke hearts in a large pot. Simmer while you prepare spaghetti or other strand pasta like linguine. Mix in some pasta water and all of the cooked spaghetti to the cream sauce. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top.

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