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Getting to the Heart of Artichokes

Did you know that artichokes are a kind of thistle? Once they bloom they are inedible, so what we're eating is a flower bud. Summer is prime time for artichokes, so here are my favourite ways of enjoying them:

Recommendations from our readers:

Artichokes take a bit of work to prepare, but once you have the technique down it's not so time-consuming. Read on for prep tips!

Choose artichokes that are plump with bright green-mauve petals that have not gone black at the tips. For large globe artichokes, I like to boil them whole until tender and the petals pull out easily. Eat by taking one petal at a time, and dunking the fat end in a tangy vinaigrette and sucking at it, it’s fun to share and takes a while to get to the prize in the middle which is the heart of the artichoke. Be careful to scrape off the inedible hairy choke. The best way to remove the choke without damaging the heart is with a teaspoon. If you are after just the heart, prepare as above and then marinate the heart in a little olive oil and crushed garlic. The artichoke hearts are lovely eaten cold with a garlic and almond puree.

For baby violet artichokes you will need small ones that fit easily into the palm of your hand. To prepare baby violet artichokes, with a sharp knife cut the top 1/3rd off so that the artichoke has a flat top. Then pull about 1/3rd of the petals off, you can tell when to stop because the cut edge will change from green to yellow. Pair the stalk down and then slice the artichoke in half length ways. Scoop out the immature choke with a teaspoon and put the artichokes straight into acidulated water otherwise they will turn black. Serve them with egg or vegan mayonnaise or marinate them.

What are your favourite ways to eat artichokes? Any favourite recipes?

Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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