Friday, November 7, 2014


Although they are not in season right now, I picked some a couple of artichokes at the store. I was shopping for a few quick items with my 11 year old and they caught his eye. He asked if we could get them, and then as an added measure of persuasion he said, "you can write for work about them." How can you say no to a pre-teen begging you to buy veggies? 

Here is an interesting story about that 11 year old and his affinity for artichokes. 

He goes to a local charter school and has the most AMAZING teacher. And one day she brought some artichokes to school and introduced them to the kids and taught them how to eat them. My son thought that this was about the coolest thing that had ever happened to him at school and he has been hooked on them ever since. 

We experiment with them a little bit when we eat them - this time we added a little balsamic vinegar to the mayonnaise and it was pretty good - according to some of us. We still have plain butter eaters, plain mayo eaters and even a few who tried plain balsamic. 

Boil the artichokes for the most traditional method of cooking them.
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil and add salt.
Drop the artichokes carefully into the pot once the water begins to boil and leave them to cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
Drain artichokes with the stem up before serving.

Steam your artichokes for less cooking time and to preserve more of their nutrients.
Place a couple inches (4 cm) of water into a pot to boil with a steaming basket on top. Add some lemon juice and salt to flavor the water if you prefer.
Drop the artichokes into the pot once the water begins to boil and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain artichokes with the stem up before serving.

Grill the artichokes after steaming or boiling them for even more flavor.
Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise.
Discard the choke, which is the inedible part of the artichoke just above the heart that looks like a bunch of tiny hair.
Drizzle or brush the artichoke with olive oil and place it on the grill carefully, turning it once to get color on both sides.

To eat a whole cooked artichoke: Break off each leaf one at a time; dip the leaf into melted butter, mayonnaise, or some other sauce and draw the base of the leaf through your teeth to remove the tender portion. After all the leaves have been removed, scrape off the inedible prickly "choke" to expose the inner artichoke heart. The heart is now ready to cut into pieces and enjoy.

To use the cooked artichoke heart in a recipe: Peel leaves from artichokes. Scrape off the inedible prickly "choke" to expose the heart. Cut the heart in half or as directed in a recipe.