Preparing the Artichoke

It wouldn’t a surprise if you find preparing artichokes a daunting task, if not a little bit intimidating.  Artichokes are not ordinary, run-on-the-mill plants.  They’re something that you don’t often see on dinner tables.  A little knowledge on how to prepare artichokes would help dampen your fear and let you enjoy this delicious thistle.

After picking your artichoke, right before you do any kind of trimming, wash it thoroughly and carefully.  Hold the flower by the base, putting it under running water for a few minutes.  Wash between the leaves or better yet, brush them without pulling.

After you have carefully brushed all the leaves, turn the artichoke flower upside down and shake off the excess water.  Then, dry it with a towel.

Hold the stem firmly in one hand, removing a few of the tough outer leaves.  With a big, sharp knife, cut the choke in half going from the top to the bottom.  Also take off some of the hardy fibers at the base of the choke.

Then, trim the stem and leaves, making sure to completely remove all the prickly tips of each leaf to avoid any risk of accidentally pricking yourself.

Wrap each half of the artichoke in saran, pop them in the microwave and heat for five minutes.  After that, remove the artichoke from the oven and unwrap.  Let it cool down to room temperature.

Next, remove the hairy, purple-tinged leaves from the choke by spooning them out – these are inedible.  You can insert the spoon about an inch under the purple leaves.  The heart, which is the most flavorful part of the artichoke, is right under it.

Remember to put a few drops of lemon juice on the artichoke to prevent discoloration.

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