Artichokes grow on a large thistle which can reach 1.5 metres in height and have prickly leaves which at the moment are purplish in colour. They grow to about the size of a tennis ball and are usually round to conical in shape and made up of large leathery petals.
Artichokes are a good source of folate, dietary fibre and some vitamin C. They contain no fat and have very few kilojoules. A 100g globe artichoke has 145 kJ.
HOW TO PICK
Pick up the Artichokes and feel the weight. Buy artichokes that feel heavy for their size and with tightly compressed leaves. Look for Globes that have a healthy green color and an overall look of freshness (not dehydrated).Smaller artichokes will likely be more sweet and tender than the larger ones.
HOW TO STORE
For refrigerated storage, slice about an inch width off of the Artichoke stem, sprinkle the raw Artichoke stems with water and refrigerate them in an airtight plastic bag. It’s best to cook them within five to seven days after you buy them.
HOW TO COOK
- Take a kitchen scissor and cut off the thorned tips of all the petals then slice about ¾ of an inch off the tip of the artichoke.
- Pull of any smaller petals towards the base and on the stem.
- Cut the excess stem, leaving only about an inch on the artichoke and peel the touch outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.
- Rinse the artichokes in cold running water and while rinsing, open up petals so the water get inside more easily.
- In a large pot, pour some water (upto a couple of inches), put a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf. Insert a steaming basket, then add the artichokes. Cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25-45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.
HOW TO EAT AN ARTICHOKE
- After following the instructions above, pull of outer petals one at a time. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce of preference.
- Tightly grip the other end of the petal and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy delicious portion of the petal. Discard the remainder of the petal.
- Continue until all of petals are removed, and once you reach the fuzzy part called “choke” covering the heart. Slice this into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.