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Globe Artichokes – how to cook AND how to eat …in ten steps

Because they’re not widely grown in England I think people are generally nervous about trying them in the kitchen – perhaps admiring them at the supermarket or glancing at their preserved hearts in tins or dainty little jars at the deli, but that’s often as far as it goes.

Cooking Globe Artichioke 1

However, just over the English Channel and beyond they’re common place. My brother remembers eating them in France as a child whilst on an school exchange trip and I’ve eaten them ad infinitum whilst living in Algeria many years ago, where they were generally served as a hors d’oeuvre before, say, couscous or a lamb tagine.

Well, in case you’re curious and would like to have a go, here’s how, in ten steps, I prepare …and eat them:

1. Washing…

Carefully clean the artichoke heads (I run the cold tap down into the petals (leaves, sepals, scales – I’m never sure what to call them, but you know what I mean), plunge them in water and then give them a couple of really good shakes out of the back door!) and boil in a pan of water for 20 to 40 minutes depending on their size. You know when they’re done when the petals pull away from the base without much resistance.

Cooking Globe Artichioke 2

2. Draining…

Remove from the water and place upside down in a colander on the draining board to allow the scalding steam to evaporate and the very hot water to drain out safely.

Cooking Globe Artichioke 3

3. Choosing your dip…

I prefer a vinaigrette – I use a blend of extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of sea salt (some people prefer melted butter or mayonnaise) and take to the table with the artichokes and a large empty bowl for the inevitable mountain of waste that you are going to create…

Cooking Globe Artichioke 5

4. Edible ends…

The picture below clearly shows the edible part of the petalĀ  – it’s the paler part on the right hand side – the bit that was attached to the base of the artichoke head, otherwise known as the heart.

Cooking Globe Artichioke 6

5. Dipping and drawing…

Remove the petals one by one, dip the base into your chosen dressing and gently scrape off the tender bit at the bottom by putting it in your mouth, closing your teeth on it and drawing it outwards.

Cooking Globe Artichioke 86. Discarding the remainder…Cooking Globe Artichioke 12

7. The inner petals…

Continue until you get to the inner petals at the core that don’t have much fleshiness on them. They look a bit different to the rest and have a translucent quality, often tinged with purple.

Cooking Globe Artichioke 9

8. Nibble with care…

You can remove this part in one go, then delicately nibble the ends taking care to avoid the sharp tips. These inner petals cover the choke – the stamens – which are very fibrous and inedible (see below):

Cooking Globe Artichioke 10

9. Remove and discard…

With a sharp pointed paring knife, remove and discard the choke (some people prefer to scoop it out with a tea spoon)…

Cooking Globe Artichioke 11

leaving the tender, delicious heart – the base of the flower that joins the flower to the stringy stem – for your delectation.

10. Dunk …and eat your heart out!

Share your experience(s) with Globe Artichokes.


2 thoughts on “Globe Artichokes – how to cook AND how to eat …in ten steps

  1. Thank you for this explanatory guide to eating artichokes – I never thought of them as flowers and had no idea that the choke is actually the stamens! I can’t wait to try this out.

    1. Thanks for your comment and yes, like you, I’d never thought of them as flowers. Eating them IS a bit of a fiddle and a lot of people can’t be bothered, but I love them and hope you will too!
      Bridget recently posted…I for Indeterminate – Word Up!My Profile

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