Artichokes are the unopened flower buds of a large plant in the thistle family that typically produces stalks with one large artichoke on the end and several smaller artichokes below it. A large mature artichoke will have tough, fibrous leaves — some varieties have thorned tips — layered over increasingly tender leaves and a dense core, the artichoke heart.

How to cook artichokes and artichoke hearts
We’ll share eight ways to cook artichokes, but before you get started:
Always use stainless steel, enamelware, or glassware when you’re cooking artichokes to prevent discoloration.

In the cooking methods below, “prepped” artichokes have been washed, trimmed (with or without stem), and rubbed with lemon juice.
Use your fingers to gently spread open the leaves before cooking to allow heat and seasonings to penetrate to the core.

A raw artichoke’s bright green color will dull as it cooks. Don’t panic—that’s completely normal.
Total cook time can vary widely depending on the size of your artichoke.
Artichokes are done when the base or stem can be easily pierce with a sharp knife.

1.    Boil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place prepped artichokes into the boiling water, cover the pot, and let them simmer until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how large they are.

2.    Parboil
Some recipes instruct you to parboil—or partially cook—artichokes before finishing them in the oven or on the grill. You can parboil them whole, but some recipes have you cut the artichoke in half from top to bottom, and remove the innermost leaves before parboiling. Follow the instructions for boiling, but cut the time in half. Try Stuffed Artichokes.

3.    Steam
Steaming cooks artichokes without boiling away vitamins and nutrients. Place a steamer basket into a pot and fill with water to just below the bottom of the basket. Place prepped artichokes, base-side up, into the basket in a single layer. Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke. Try this recipe for steamed Artichokes.

4.    Slow Cooker
Put the cleaned and trimmed artichokes stem-side down in a single layer in your slow cooker or crock pot. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze lemon over the top, and pour in water or broth to about a quarter of the way up the artichoke. You can add garlic, a bay leaf, or any other herbs and seasonings you wish. Cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours, or until artichokes are as tender as you like. The time will vary depending on the size of your artichokes.

5.    Microwave
Put ¼ cup water, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and a few drops of olive oil into a microwave-safe bowl. For two artichokes, use a glass pie pan. Place prepped artichoke(s) base-side up into the bowl or glass pan, cover with plastic wrap, and cook at full power for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the base is completely tender when you pierce it with a knife. Keep covered and let artichoke(s) rest for 5 minutes before serving.

6.    Roast/Bake
Heat your oven to 425º F. Prep artichokes, trimming off the stem at the base. Season as desired with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, etc. Wrap each artichoke separately in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place base-side down directly on an oven rack or in an oven-safe pan, and bake for 1 to 1½ hours, or until tender. Try Simply Roasted Artichokes.

7.    Grill
Prep artichokes, cut in half from top to bottom, and scoop out the choke. Boil in salted water until tender. Drain on paper towels and let cool. (You can do this a day or two ahead of time.) Season and oil the halves and grill over medium-high heat for a few minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly charred. Try Herbed Grilled Artichokes.

8.    Instant Pot
Trim and stem artichokes. Add a cup of water, garlic cloves, bay leaf, and salt in a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot). Place artichokes a steamer basket and steam on high pressure for 10 minutes, following manufacturer’s instructions. Try this recipe for Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes.


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