How To Cook Artichokes

Mar 7, 2022 | Gro Guide

Did you know March 16th is National Artichoke Day? Well now you do. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we need to celebrate with eating some artichokes. First brought to America in the 1800, artichokes are one of the oldest vegetables know to man. According to Greek mythology, Zeus came off Mount Olympus and feel in love with a woman named Cynara. She would occasionally take trips to back on earth to see and spend time with her family. When Zeus found out about these trips, he was angered and turned her into an artichoke. Now, the scientific name for artichokes are Cynara cardunculus, presumably named after Zeus’ love Cynara.

Whether you choose to believe Greek mythology or not, one thing remains, artichokes are nutritious and delicious. To eat artichokes, you have to understand a couple key facts about them. First, you can eat the leaves, although I would not. The outside layers are really tough and fibrous, and might cause an upset stomach. The bottom of the vegetables is the part that is craved after, and that part is called “the heart.”

Although it is possible and digestible to eat an artichoke raw, I would never advise it. It is so very tough, and would not be worth the effort. When cooked, you can turn this inedible vegetation into something so delicious, Zeus would come back down from Mount Olympus to eat. These are a couple different ways to cook this amazing vegetable, so let’s get to it.

Boiling Artichokes

How to Boil Artichokes

The best way I found to eat artichokes is to boil them. I grab my biggest pot and fill it half way with water. I add about ½ teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. After adding the ingredients to the pot, I place a plate over the artichokes to keep them submerged under the water. This will help to ensure full even all around cooking, otherwise they will float to the top, and parts of the vegetable might get as cooked as other part.

Preparing the Artichoke for Boiling

Before it goes into the water, it might need a little trim though. I recommend cutting off some of the stem, usually I will leave about an inch. If the artichoke has spikes on the leaves, I will take a pair of sheers and cut the spikes off. It could take some time to snip off all the spikes, but trust me, as you are tearing into an artichoke, you don’t want to worry about getting poked in the finger. Don’t ‘man up’ on this one either, the spikes hurt, and multiple stabbing will make you never want an artichoke again.

If you need more room in your pot, you can cut off about 1.5 inches from the tip top of the leaves. I usually wait until after it finishes cooking because the it is easier to cut. But as you will find out, 2 plus is already a tight party in the pot, so 3-4 artichokes might have a need to slim down on each ones real-estate.

Boiling the Artichoke

Once this is done, just sit back and make your sides, dipping sauces, and other elements to the dinner. It does take some time to cook. It should boil for 1 to 1.5 hours, trust me, it can take it. I test to see of they are done by piercing a fork into the bottom part where the stem is. It is perfect when the fork slides into the meat with no pressure. If you meet resistance, it needs more time to cook.

Grilling Artichokes

How to Grill Artichokes

Grilling any food always calls for a party, and artichoke definitely deserves a big one. This technique is very simple but very tasty. After you make sure your vegetables are clean, cut them right down the middle. They are a little tough to cut, so be very careful. Once they are cut and you have two halves, sprinkle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the outside of the vegetable, and the inside. Sprinkle salt and pepper as well.

It there are spikes on the leaves, cut them off. For grilling, I like to leave more of the stem on than when I boil them. I figure why not, on the grill you have a lot more room, but you will notice the entire stem does not taste as good at the heart and gets less appealing as you descend into it.

Fire up that grill and get to grilling. Hit them hard with heat, don’t beat around the bush. You want to cook them heavy and hot. It is okay if some oil drop and causes the fire to flame up a little, especially if it is on the outside part of the artichoke. Turn then over occasionally, and it should be ready (again depending on the heat) in about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

During this time, you can prepare some sauces to dip the vegetable in, or other food you and to accompany this dish with. You can tell when it is ready to eat when you tear off one of the outside leaves veery easily, and the meat with it comes right off. Once this happens, it is ready to eat.

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