It seemed like a good idea at the farmers' market, but the first time I purchased fresh artichokes, an overwhelming sense of buyer's remorse soon followed. Back at home, I stood over the cutting board — knife in one hand, bulbous green globe in the other — unsure of what to do next.
With their thick, thorny leaves, artichokes can seem intimidating to the home chef, but I needn't have been so nervous. Once you get the hang of working with them, they are extremely easy to prepare. The meaty leaves and tangy hearts are beautifully flavorful and unexpectedly versatile. Artichokes are also extremely high in antioxidants.
How to Choose It
A firm, green artichoke is the way to go. Look for one whose leaves are closed; open leaves indicate that it may be too ripe. Avoid artichokes with dark spots on the leaves or stem.
How to Store It
If you're not going to cook your artichoke right away, slice off the bottom of the stem and sprinkle the stump with water. Refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag and cook within a week.