What’s in Season: Artichokes

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

It’ so easy to just get marinated artichoke hearts most of the year, but when artichokes are in season, there are few vegetables that are more earthy and refreshing than artichokes.  In their peak season, usually between March and May and often extending into summer, they are ever so tasty steamed and grilled with just a little lemon.

Artichokes are thistles, members of the genus Cynara, family Compositae, with cousins marigold, daisy, Echinacea, and dandelion.  They originated around the Mediterranean, and, in spite of their name, have almost nothing in common with sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), which are actually a New World food.

Here are some basics on cooking fresh artichokes…

At the market… If you’re choosing fresh artichokes at the store, look for firm, brightly-colored ones with unblemished leaves that hold tightly together.  The most common kind to us is globe artichokes, which can be found in the traditional green globe, baby (harvested earlier), purple (more bitter, pretty product of certain seed varieties), and long stem (whose stems are edible if peeled). 

Back home…  Artichokes turn color quickly, so hold artichokes in a water bath with a squeeze of lemon during preparation if you have a lot to do.  Your artichoke trimming will vary by recipe and what part you want to use, but for most recipes you will need to remove the stems and the top third of each artichoke, and trim off the sharp edges and outer leaves.

Fresh artichokes are fantastic roasted, steamed, boiled, and grilled, and they love breadcrumbs, cheese, and pork products as much as they love lemons, garlic, and fresh herbs.

To the stove (or grill)… The Paula Deen Test Kitchen gives you clear instructions for trimming and preparing artichokes in this great spring-summer recipe, Grilled Artichokes with Bacon and Rosemary Dip Here, they’re blanched in batches while you preheat the grill and fry up some bacon to make a yummy dip.  They are then simply halved lengthwise and grilled for about 10 minutes. 

Artichokes can also be boiled all the way through, plain, or in broths flavored with citrus, aromatics, spices, and white wine, or stuffed and foiled-wrapped as in Stuffed Artichokes. Here, individual leaves are packed with a garlic, parsley, cheese, and breadcrumb blend, topped with lemon slices, and simmered covered until fork-tender.

When they’re in season, you don’t have to bolster artichokes with cheese and crusty bread, but that’s always delicious.  Out of season (or anytime you’re in a pinch), try these recipe favorites using marinated artichoke hearts: Mini Artichoke and Gruyere Quiche or Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes and Basil.

Don’t Miss Our Other Artichoke Favorites!
Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Chicken and Artichoke Frittata
Shrimp and Artichoke Dip

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Reader Comments:

54321

Love Artichokes anyway they are cooked. thanks for the recipe never knew how to stuff and cook them ,will make them tonight

By Charlotte Kunz on April 12, 2013

54321

Hello Paula, I have never prepared Artichoke before and I am not sure how to trim.prepare for cooking. Any advise you can give? Vivian Amado-Blanco

By Vivian Amado-Blanco on June 08, 2012

54321

I love artichokes any way they are prepared. We espicially like artichoke dip. In our markets here we have Artichoke bottoms. They are all of just the heart meat and no petals. I find sometimes the Artichoke heart can be tough & stringy. I am sure you know about these but if not they are really wonderful in any recipe calling for artichoke hearts. Truely worth a try.

By Cindy Burt on May 15, 2012

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm