You can enjoy eating artichokes fully only when you get to its heart, literally. But how to get to the artichoke’s most delicious part can be a bit tricky, if not downright intimidating.
Artichokes are really thistles. You have to strip them, remove their bracts, the prickly and stiff fibrous leaves to get to the edible heart. Indeed, the artichoke plant should be patted on the back for guarding its heart so well.
But like most things in life, there is always a way. Once you know what this way is, you would realize the impression you have on the armor-like outer layer was just an impression. It’s really not as hard as you think it is.
Here’s how you do it.
Remove all the bracts on by one by pulling it downwards until you get to the choke. While you are doing this, remember to put lemon juice to the artichoke to prevent it from discoloration.
With a sharp knife, cut all the dark green parts including the stem off the artichoke. The hairy fibers you will see at the center of the artichoke are inedible and will have to be removed.
Also take note that as you get to the center of the artichoke, the leaves will have more white or yellowish parts with purple tips. These tips are sharp, so be careful.
After the leaves have all been pulled off, all that would be left are the base and the heart that’s crowned with a fuzzy patch.
Using a spoon or a melon baller, scrape off and throw away all the choke or fuzzy part, exposing the pale and creamy flesh of the heart. Make sure not miss any choke as it’s quite unpleasant. You will know you are doing the right thing when the artichoke looks like a chalice.
Slice off the discolored stem-end of the artichoke. If you are going to steam or stuff the heart, cut close to the base so it can stand. If you are going to cook it Roman style, cut only the discolored part. You may peel the stem at a later time.
Dip or rub the artichoke heart in lemon juice to avoid discoloration. And now, you have a trimmed artichoke heart, ready for the taking!
Tags: Preparing Artichokes