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Cooking Artichokes

Have you ever looked at an artichoke? They can be quite intimidating at first, but when you taste one after it has been cooked correctly, you'll wonder why you ever passed them by in the produce section of your grocery store. You can even find them in the canned foods section, which is great for when you're short on time and need to make something with artichokes.

The first thing to know is how to choose an artichoke, and make sure that they are fresh. Look at the stalk, if it is brown and dry, then find a different artichoke. Also, consume them the same day that you buy them. Choose the smaller variety of artichokes if you intend to eat them raw with dips. For those that you plan on cooking, buy the larger ones which will be more rigid. Cooking the artichoke will make them soft and easy to eat. Inspect an artichoke before placing it into your grocery cart making sure that it has a consistent color, and no dark spots. Remember that the leaves should be tightly closed.

When you get home from the grocery store with your artichokes, begin preparing them immediately. If you cannot prepare them straight away, place them inside of your refrigerator so that you can prepare them later that same day. Follow these steps in preparing an artichoke for cooking:

  • Destalk. Remove the stalk by breaking it off, rather than cutting. Hold the vegetable on the counter, allowing the stalk to extend over the edge of the counter. Hold the head down while you press down on the stock, allowing it to pop off with one smooth motion.
  • Remove leaves. Peel away the bottom leaves with a knife, and continue peeling until you have peeled away about 1-1/2 inches of leaves. Finally, cut off about 1/2 inch of the top of the vegetable, and then use kitchen scissors to trim the pointed end off of each visible leaf.
  • Rinse. Rinse the artichoke well and then place it upside-down into a colander to allow it to drain thoroughly.
  • Now it's time to cook the artichoke. Fetch a large stock pot and fill it nearly to the top, allowing about two inches form the top. Add a bit of garlic and salt to the water, and allow it to come to a full, rolling boil. Place the artichoke in to the water and allow it to boil vigorously for about 45 minutes. When you can pull the leaves easily form the stem, the artichoke has finished cooking. Boil for a full hour if you want your artichoke to be really tender.

     

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