Artichokes are actually the edible bud of a thistle flower, which humans have cultivated since Roman times. They require some prep work, but their earthy flavor and meaty texture is worth the effort. Steamed whole, artichokes need little more than a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of butter, or aioli to dip; the prized hearts are excellent batter-fried, marinated and served atop crostini, or chopped and used in pastas. Baby artichokes are equally versatile, and quicker to prep as they don’t contain a choke—try them simmered, sautéed, or used raw in salads.
HOW TO BUY
Selecting artichokes depends on how you’re using them: Large artichokes are best for stuffing, medium ones are fine for salads, and smaller ones are most suitable for pickling or frying. The leaves should be tightly packed and the stem should be plump-looking and firm to touch; avoid any with shriveled-looking leaves.
HOW TO STORE
Store artichokes loose in the crisper drawer with humidity on high to slow wilting; don’t wash or peel before storing and do not place in a sealed plastic bag; this will promote rot. Uncooked artichokes are best consumed a day or two after they’re bought, while cooked artichokes will keep for up to a week if refrigerated in an airtight container.