In Season Now: Artichokes

Artichoke Flatbread

Few vegetables look as fierce and intimidating as artichokes, yet their mild, nutty flavor and meaty texture are worth the extra effort. They lend themselves well to a variety of preparations and dishes, from creamy dips to flatbreads, pastas and more. Cultivated since Roman times, artichokes are technically an edible bud of a thistle flower (baby artichokes are simply normal buds that grow lower on the plant). They’re a significant source of vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium. Peak season is from March to May; however, you’ll find them in grocery stores year-round. Think you’re ready to tackle this In Season Now produce? Then read on for tips on how to buy, store and prepare artichokes!

Select artichokes that are heavy for their size with tight, olive green buds and healthy-looking stems. Avoid any with shriveled-looking buds. Large artichokes are great for stuffing, medium ones for salads, and baby ones for pickling or frying.

Store unwashed artichokes in a perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper for up to one week. Cooked artichokes will keep for a few days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Before you begin, fill a large bowl with cold water; add the juice of one lemon. (Placing the trimmed artichokes in lemon water helps to prevent browning.) Pull off and discard the tough outer leaves around the stem. Use a serrated knife to slice about one inch off the top. Trim ¼ to ½ inch off the top of each leaf with kitchen shears to remove the thorny tips. If you want the artichoke to sit flat, cut off the stem flush with the bottom of the leaves. Cut the artichoke lengthwise in half; use a teaspoon to scrape out the choke and drop the halves into the lemon water.

Find inspiration with artichoke recipes from around the web:

What are your favorite artichoke recipes?

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