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How to cook and eat artichokes

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With the emphasis on healthy eating these days, artichokes are a good choice.

One large artichoke contains only 25 calories and no fat and is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, magnesium, and folate, a vitamin B.

In case you think artichokes are hard to cook or eat, here are some tips to help you add them to your healthy food routine:

Preparing artichokes

  • Wash under cold running water.
  • Pull off lower petals that are small or discolored.
  • Cut stems close to base.
  • Cut off top quarter and tips of petals, if desired. Some people like the look of clipped petals, but it isn't necessary to remove the m. They’ll soften with cooking.
  • Plunge into acidified water – one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice per quart of water – to preserve color.

Cooking artichokes

Boil

  • Stand artichokes in deep saucepan or pot with 2 to 3 inches boiling water. If desired, oil, lemon juice, and seasonings can be added to cooking water.
  • Cover and boil gently 25 to 40 minutes, depending on size, or until petals near the center pull out easily.
  • Stand artichoke upside down on a rack to drain for 2 to 3 minutes.

Microwave

  • Set one medium-sized artichoke upside down in small glass bowl with ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon each lemon juice and oil.
  • Cover with small glass plate.
  • Cook on high 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Let stand covered 2 to 3 minutes after cooking.

Eating artichokes

  • Melt butter and put it or mayonnaise, lemon butter, garlic butter, or a special sauce in individual serving bowls.
  • Place on serving plate.
  • Remove petals one at a time, dip in butter or sauce, and rake meaty portion at the base of petal between your teeth. When outer petals are removed, you’ll see a center cone made up of the artichoke heart covered by the choke, fuzzy growth that is immature florets, and light-colored covering petals.
  • Remove center cone. Pull or cut off petals, slice off the fuzzy choke with a knife and fork, and discard them.
  • Cut the artichoke heart into bite-sized pieces and serve.

Fresh cooked and chilled artichokes can be refrigerated in a covered container up to a week.

See Iowa State University Extension's "Pick a Better Snack – Artichoke" for recipes for Garlic Dip for Artichokes, Grilled Artichokes, Artichoke Creamy Thai Dip, and Mini Artichoke and Red Pepper Pizzas.

Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

Comments

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Pot Sets

Don't you just love artichokes? I learned to eat and prepare them just as you described years ago upon living in New Orleans. I even have those wonderful artichoke plates that make a nice impression at dinner parties. Funny thing...My husband and I just finished eating them with our lunch today...we dip them in butter melted with lemon juice, salt, pepper and a few splashes of tabasco & worcestershire sauces.

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