Artichokes are sexy. You eat them with your hands and pull them through your teeth. They are even considered an aphrodisiac by many. In the 1600’s only men were allowed to eat them for fear of how women would react.

Artichokes are the buds of the flower of a plant in the thistle family. The flower if allowed to mature is very large, purple and fuzzy. Kind of sexy. Artichoke are in season from March through May. Most in the United States come from California.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of cooking them at home. In reality they are not difficult. First buy artichokes that are a good green color. The leaves should not look dry and brown. When you squish the artichoke you should hear the leaves squeak.

When you get your artichoke home store it in a plastic bag in the fridge. To prepare for cooking tear off the lower tough leaves and peel and trim the stem. If you are not cooking right away rub with lemon to prevent them from turning brown. Turning brown does not affect the flavor but is unattractive. Bring water or broth (you can season with garlic, onions, spices or herbs) to a boil. Drop the artichokes in, reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. They are done when a fork pierces the bottom easily. Drain well. Artichokes are delicious hot or cold with hollandaise, mayonnaise or plain lemon and butter.

To eat an artichoke simply tear off the leaves and dip in your butter or sauce. Scrape the meaty part off between your teeth. When the leaves become to small and soft pull them all off. You will see fuzzy white That is the choke. Scrape the choke off with a spoon, what you have left is the heart. Cut the heart up, dip and enjoy!


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