How to Trim an Artichoke

You’ll get to the “heart” of the matter in no time with these simple instructions.


By SAVEUR Editors

Published on April 19, 2024

It takes a bit of practice and patience to properly “turn” an artichoke, but the task is well worth the effort. If it’s your first time working with the fresh, thistly vegetable, you may find the heaps of trimmed leaves excessive or wasteful, but rest assured, it’s all par for the course to reach those tender hearts. 

Cut artichokes begin to turn brown the moment they’re exposed to air; to prevent that, some cooks hold them in a bowl of lemon water while trimming. That said, if you’re cooking the artichokes (as opposed to, say, slicing them raw for salad), they turn brown when exposed to heat anyway, so it’s fine to skip the acidulated bath.

You may not want your fingers to turn brown, however: Artichokes contain a phytochemical called cynarin that can discolor skin. For that reason, we recommend wearing latex gloves, especially if you’re trimming large quantities of the vegetable.

1. Using a sharp knife, trim off the bottom inch and dark green circumference of the stem, and any tough outer leaves.

Pete Sucheski

2. Slice off the inner cone of leaves where it meets the heart, leaving the fibrous choke attached.

Pete Sucheski

3. Using a teaspoon, gently scrape out the fuzzy choke, being careful to not remove any meat from the bottom.

Pete Sucheski

4. Optional: If the recipe calls for artichoke bottoms, slice off and discard the stem so the bottom of the artichoke is flat.

Pete Sucheski

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