Artichoke (Globe)

Glossary - Plant Derivatives

HTML clipboard


Whole Globe Artichokes are prepared for cooking by removing all but 5-10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender, about 15-45 minutes. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation.

After cooking, the large leathery scales forming a tight rosette are pulled off one by one, and their soft, inner basal part (usually) dipped in some kind of sauce, perhaps butter, lemon, mayonnaise, malt vinegar or vinaigrette. The dipped soft part is then pulled off with the teeth and all the rest of the leaf discarded. The fleshy, edible part is found by many to be delicious, but is quite sparse in proportion to that which is discarded.

This process continues until most of the leaves have been removed and the remaining ones are too small and delicate to bother with eating. This point is difficult to judge and the novice artichoke eater may wish to seek guidance by discreetly watching a companion. Finally, a knife is used to remove the thistle or choke (the immature florets), the whole top layer of delicate feathery growth crowning the heart. It is this central top of the stem supporting the rosette that is sold cut up, pickled and bottled as "artichoke hearts".

The thistle part is fibrous and unpleasant to eat, and has a way of getting everywhere when it is cut away from the heart. Therefore, it is wise to cut some of the edible heart away and discard it along with the thistle to avoid making a mess. It may be easier to remove by pushing it off the heart with a finger or spoon than with a knife.

Globe artichokes can be harvested while still small, cooked, and eaten whole. Boiled Globe Artichokes can be deep fried in butter. Smaller artichokes can be quartered, tossed with oil, and roasted. Immature artichokes can also be pickled or canned. Globe Artichokes may also be used to flavour liqueur.

Artichokes have also been referred to as a sommelier's nightmare, as consumption creates a sweet taste in the mouth that interacts with other foods and beverages, including wine.

Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea; artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Dalat region of Vietnam.

More Information

Bookmark with:    Digg Digg    reddit reddit    Facebook Facebook    StumbleUpon StumbleUpon    Newsvine Newsvine