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How to Cook Vegetables


How to Cook Artichokes
The artichoke, specifically the globe artichoke, is actually the unopened flower bud of a thistlelike plant.

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Availability: All year; peak March to May.

Buying guide: Look for heavy, plump heads with tightly closed, thick green leaves. Avoid bruised, dried, or fading artichokes with spreading leaves. During the winter months, artichokes will be a bronze color since they have been frostbitten, but there is no loss of flavor.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 3 days.

History: Northern Europeans considered this thistle a weed. Cherished by people of the Mediterranean for centuries, Italians brought them to America in the 1800s. Today, Castroville, California, produces most of America's crop.

  1. To remove dirt between leaves, soak artichokes for 1 hour in warm salted water.

  2. To prepare artichokes, cut bottom stems from artichokes with utility knife so that artichokes will sit flat and upright. Remove outer, tough leaves; discard.

    Cut the bottom stems off the artichokes and discard.
    Cut the bottom stems off the
    artichokes and discard.

  3. Cut 1 inch off pointed tops of artichokes with chef's knife.

     Cut 1 inch off pointed tops of artichokes with chef's knife.
    Cut 1 inch off pointed tops of
    artichokes with chef's knife.

  4. Snip tips from remaining leaves with scissors.

     Snip tips from remaining leaves with scissors.
    Snip tips from remaining
    leaves with scissors.

  5. To cook artichokes, use large enough stockpot to allow artichokes to fit in a single layer. Add water to stockpot to 4-inch depth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add lemon juice; drop in artichokes so their bases are at the bottom of pot.

  6. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 30 to 40 minutes until leaves pull easily from bases and artichoke bottoms are tender when pierced with fork.

  7. Drain artichokes upside down in colander so water is not trapped in leaves; set aside until cool enough to handle.

  8. Fill hollowed artichokes with your choice of stuffing mixture, smoothing leaves upward to close slightly. Place on baking sheet; bake 10 to 15 minutes until heated through. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

    You can fill the cavity of the artichoke with your desired stuffing.
    You can fill the cavity of the artichoke
    with your desired stuffing.

  9. To stuff and bake cooked artichokes, spread the outer leaves carefully with your hands. Remove small heart by grasping with fingers, then pulling and twisting. Scoop out the fuzzy choke down to the flat artichoke bottom with spoon.

  10. To microwave artichokes, prepare artichokes as directed through step 4. Rinse in cool water; drain and wrap individually in heavy-duty plastic wrap. Place each wrapped artichoke, bottom side up, in a custard cup. Microwave on HIGH 12 to 14 minutes until leaves pull easily from bases and artichoke bottoms are tender when pierced with fork, turning and rearranging each cup halfway through cooking. Continue as directed.
Brussels sprouts are another vegetable that people are typically not as familiar with preparing. Learn more about this unique vegetable in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Vegetable Recipes: Both tasty and good for you, vegetables are a great vehicle to try out new seasonings and cooking methods. Find plenty of ideas on our Vegetable Recipes page.
  • Grilling Vegetables: Grilling vegetables is not only easy but it also produces a rich tasting, healthy treat. Learn how to grill vegetables in this article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

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