Artichokes are not sold by variety in Australia, but may sometimes be labelled as globe artichokes.
Choose artichokes with a deep green or grey-green colour with a purple tinge, and tightly-packed ‘petals’. Pick small to medium-sized artichokes that feel heavy for their size.
You can store unwashed artichokes in a plastic bag for up two weeks in the refrigerator.
Preparing and eating
Rinse thoroughly, making sure to remove any dirt from between the leaves. Trim off the stem and about 2cm off the top of the artichoke. Peel away a layer of the coarse outer leaves before cooking. To eat, pull off cooked leaves and run the pulpy portion through your teeth to ‘scrape’ off the flesh, then discard leaf.
If using artichoke hearts, cut artichoke in half and remove the furry, inedible choke first. Place cut artichokes immediately into a bowl of lemon water or drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.
4 quick ways with artichoke
The simplest way to cook artichokes is steaming .Place whole artichokes upright in a large steamer, adding 2–3 garlic cloves, a slice of lemon and 1 bay leaf to the boiling water, for 35–45 minutes, until the outer leaves can be pulled off easily. Turn artichokes upside down to drain. Serve with a simple dip made from ¹/³ cup each low-fat mayonnaise and plain low-fat yoghurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and chopped chives.
Serve baked artichokes with steak or lamb dishes. Place prepared artichokes into a baking dish, add 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup reduced-salt stock, then cover with foil. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with grated parmesan before serving.
When preparing artichokes, trim stem, cut off top third of artichoke and reach in to remove the hairy choke. Steam artichokes (as in 1. above) and drain. Meanwhile, whisk equal parts olive oil and red wine vinegar together. Mix in chopped garlic, chopped fresh basil and a few finely chopped tomatoes. Place artichokes on serving plates and gently open up leaves. Fill cavity and the space between leaves with tomato mixture and serve immediately.
For a simple side dish, cut steamed artichokes into 8 sections (removing the choke). In a frying pan, sauté a little minced garlic, then add a generous splash of balsamic glaze and artichokes. Cook for a few minutes, then sprinkle with shaved parmesan.
Did you know? Artichokes are high in dietary fibre, providing 14% of the RDI per 100g.