Written by Brittany Spieker, UNL Dietetic Intern
Spring has sprung! This means certain fruits and vegetables are starting to come back into season. Did you know that March through May is a perfect time to try out the artichoke? Artichokes provide fiber and Vitamin C, making it a great vegetable to include in meals or even make as a snack. If you’ve never eaten or cooked this leafy vegetable, the process can be very intimidating. But do not worry! After reading these tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to impressing friends and family with your artichoke making skills!
There are six main parts to the artichoke, including the thorns, outer petals, inner petals, choke, heart, and stem. The most common part of the artichoke seen in grocery stores or in foods found at restaurants is the heart of the artichoke. Although the heart is the most familiar, we will discuss each of the other parts in more detail.
You can purchase artichokes at your local grocery store. Look for artichokes with petals that are still tightly wound around the artichoke head. Artichokes should also be a vibrant green color, heavy, and firm. These characteristics will provide a more tender vegetable that’s ready for cooking.
1. Cut thorns off the outer petals.
2. Cut off the very top of the artichokes.
3. Cut stems to about 1” in length. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the tough outer part of the artichoke stems.
4. Clean the artichokes by rinsing with cold water.
5. Using a boiling pot of water and a steam insert, steam artichokes for 20 minutes or until artichokes are tender.
Artichokes with Garlic Dip
- 1 c. plain, low-fat yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T. chopped parsley
- 1 T. chopped chives
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 4 artichokes, prepared and cooked
- In blender, combine all ingredients, except artichokes.
- Refrigerate dip until serving time.
Eating an artichoke
After the artichokes have been cooked (see above description on how to prepare artichokes), all you have to do is peel a petal off, dip the base of the petal into the garlic dip, and pull the base of the petal through your teeth to eat the tender flesh of the artichoke. Do this until all of the petals are gone.
From there, cut out the choke to reveal the heart of the artichoke. You can cut the heart into smaller pieces and dip into your sauce.