Guide to cooking an artichoke

preparing artichoke

I had a lot of fun doing this step-by-step guide to cooking and eating an artichoke. It’s an unusual vegetable which a lot of people avoid due to the difficulty in preparing it. It’s actually not that hard, you just need a sharp pair of kitchen scissors and *a lot of lemons*!

removing artichoke spines

The first one is to snip off the spines of the globe artichoke and the latter is to prevent the rapid oxidization (artichokes almost turn immediately brown when you cut into it).

You will need:

  • 2-3 lemons
  • Sharp kitchen scissors
  • Slicing knife
  • A sturdy metal spoon

eating artichokes

The artichoke we got cost RM 24.69. It’s RM 45.90 per kg and I calculate that each petal costs over RM 1! That’s coz the grocery sells the artichoke with a huge stem (which you can’t really eat).

cutting artichoke thorns

The first thing you do is to snip off the sharp spines in the individual petals on the artichoke. Just use your kitchen scissors to cut it off so a flat edge is formed.

artichoke lemons

You will need to squeeze lemon juice (or rather dip the lemon half into the cut petal) as soon as you snip the thorns off. This is to prevent it from turning brown. Get those lemons ready!!! smirk

artichoke stem

Once you have worked over the entire green artichoke and removed all the thorns, it’s time to cut off the stem. You need to get the stem level to the artichoke or about 1 inch from the end, depending on the recipe.

cutting artichoke

I think the stalk on my artichoke was a good 3-4 inches. It makes it look pretty, like a flower, but most people don’t eat the stem.

opening artichoke

Now that everything is done, you need to remove the choke in the artichoke – use a sharp knife to slice 3/4 of an inch off the top of the artichoke. Remember to squeeze lemon juice all over the artichoke when you do this to prevent oxidization.

removing artichoke

The next part is where your study metal spoon comes in…you need to use it to dig into the artichoke so you remove the choke. Think of it as using the spoon to eat a particularly hard frozen iced confectionery. That’s the same motion you should be using. Dig down and remove!

removing choke

Some people can remove it with one dig but I never could. That’s not important, the important thing is to get the entire choke out since that’s totally inedible. It’s the pink/purple interior of the artichoke that comes with fibres that looks like asbestos.

artichoke choke fibers

I’m kidding, I don’t know what asbestos fibers look like but I imagine it’s similar to these! It’s almost feather like to the touch and you have to remove every single bit of the choke.

cleaning artichoke

Make sure your artichoke is clean and free of the choke by a simple visual inspection (you can leave the heart in – that’s edible) and it’s ready to cook! You now have a clean artichoke!

dressed artichoke

I did a stuffed artichoke from this with breadcrumbs and garlic – I’ll put that up soon! πŸ™‚

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24 thoughts on “Guide to cooking an artichoke”

  1. I think i’ve seen once only in Penang, at one of those upscale supermarkets selling at nearly Rm30 each. I’ve also seen Martha Stewart baking it in the oven and just sprinkle on some salt and pepper, sucking the petal one by one

    • Yeah, this was at an upscale supermarket too! I don’t think the normal ones import and sell these! πŸ™‚

      It’s quite expensive though but a lot of fun to eat!

  2. Damn smart of the supermarket to sell by weight and include the stem along.

    Anyway, I really enjoy the Masterchef series too! I prefer the Australia version though. The US version just feels too edited and over-the-top dramatic for me.

    • Yeah, but apparently you can use the stem for stock! πŸ™‚

      It is still quite heavy though. The supermarket caters for imports so the people who shop there isn’t so much price conscious and interested in new things.

      We run up a bill of RM 250 each time!

      I know what you mean – MasterChef Australia is the fun one to watch and learn, it’s all about the contestants. MasterChef US is all about drama and the judges (but kinda fun to watch too for the drama).

  3. Dude, before I learned how to cook ……I did swallow the fuzzy stuff when I for some odd reason decided to cook an artichoke….it was not a fun experience.

    • I can imagine! πŸ™‚

      I touched the fibers and it feels like something that would cause me to sneeze and choke. How does it taste like?

    • Haha! Yeah, it’s a lot of work but it’s fun to eat! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, you should do that coz not everyone knows how to eat one. I’ve seen people swallow the whole petal in Europe, while on a tour. I was flabbergasted!

    • Nice! I didn’t know you can eat the entire petal! πŸ™‚

      I did see someone do that while in Europe too and was flabbergasted coz I certainly can’t swallow the tough petal exterior.

  4. I had it in my friend’s husband restaurant here in Singapore.

    He steamed the whole artichoke and served it with vinaigrette. You pluck off the leaves, dip the bottom into the vinaigrette and nibble off the flesh attached to the bottom of the leave. Then when you get to the heart, the kitchen takes it back and turn it into a different dish.

    • Nice! Yeah, that’s how I wanted to do it at first too! πŸ™‚

      Just a simple steaming to have the whole taste of the artichoke. I ate the heart too, there’s a way to eat it by turning it inside out, where you can get at the goodies!

  5. I take a much more direct route with artichokes: I don’t trim anything except to cut the stem down to something under an inch and remove any brown petals. Then I steam the whole thing as-is for 45 minutes to an hour.

    To eat, pull off the petals one at a time, dip in melted butter and nibble out the soft tasty flesh near the root of each petal. Once you get to the choke, it scoops out easily with a spoon. The heart and the bit of stem are easier to eat, and are basically my “reward” for doing all the work to get down to them.

    Artichokes are the flowers of giant thistles, and the “choke” is the bundle of what would be the fuzzy parachutes for the seeds.

    • Yeah, that sounds like a great recipe! πŸ™‚

      It’s how I wanted to cook it the first time too! Just a simple steaming so we can concentrate on the flavors of the artichoke.

      I love eating the heart too! There’s a lot more meat in there than in the petals.

      Thanks for the info about the thistles, I didn’t know that. Cheers!

    • I’m not that good! πŸ™‚

      My dear is better at cooking. I can follow recipes down to a T though, which she doesn’t like to do.

      I once followed a MasterClass dish replication straight down to the chopped nuts!

    • Hmm…good question! πŸ™‚

      I don’t know where to get a globe artichoke in Penang. We got ours in KL – there are many groceries who carry it, Ben’s Independent Grocer is where we got ours, we’ve bought it from Village Grocer and Jaya Grocer too.


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