This is actually a thistle with a long stem. The tender ends of the leaves and the base (or 'heart') of the bud are both edible; the tough outside leaves and the furry central choke and its surrounding leaves are not.
You'll need to remove the leaves and scoop out the furry hair covering the heart before eating.
We look for tightly-packed leaves, and listen for a squeaky sound when squeezed (gently :)).
- Freshest in winter.
- Good for roasting, steaming, grilling, stuffing, and in soups, casseroles and Mediterranean dishes.
- Store in fridge crisper in perforated bag (not for too long.. best eaten soon after purchase).
- They'll turn brown when cut (if not covered with water).
- To prevent browning, drop in a bowl of water with a few drops of lemon juice.
- Cook in boiling, salted water ~40 minutes (done when it's easy to pull out a leaf).
- Always drain upside down!
- Make sure you cut the tough tips of the leaves off before serving whole (the younger the artichoke, the less you'll need to cut off).
- Use stainless steel, glass or enamel cookware.