Peaking between March and May, artichokes are a delicious spring vegetable. If you’ve never enjoyed them fresh — don’t be daunted by their thorns. Here, we break down the parts of an artichoke — and provide an illustrated guide to proper preparation, so you can find out what you’ve been missing.
Anatomy of an artichoke
Tiny thorns: These sharp tips prove the artichoke is part of the thistle family.
Outer petals: Choose artichokes with very few tough outer leaves and a tightly closed top. (When they’re not tightly closed, the artichoke has begun to dry out.)
Heart: Artichoke gold; it’s creamy and delicious when cooked.
Stem: The peel is tough, but the inside tastes just as good as the heart.
Choke: True to its name, this inedible hairy section will stick to your throat. Scoop it out with a melon baller or spoon before cooking.
How to trim an artichoke
How to eat an artichoke