How to Clean Artichoke Bottoms for Use in Moroccan Recipes

  • 01 of 09

    Whole Fresh Artichoke

    The desired artichoke bottom is the fleshy receptacle or base, hidden beneath the outer leaves. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Artichoke bottoms are used in Moroccan cooking. The photos and instructions on the following pages will show you how to work with fresh artichokes to yield a cleaned and pared bottom, ready for use in Moroccan recipes.

    Make sure you have ample work space since you'll end up with lots of trash from the artichokes. Be careful of any thistles which may be at the tops of the outer leaves.

    You'll need:

  • a small, sharp paring knife
  • a large bowl
  • one or two fresh lemons, quartered
Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Cut Off the Artichoke's Stem and Remove the Outer Leaves

    Peel off the artichoke's tough outer leaves. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Cut off the stem close to the base of the artichoke. Then, working from the bottom and moving around and upwards, grasp and peel off the tough outer leaves.

    You can remove the leaves one-by-one, or pull off a few at a time. Don't grasp too many leaves at a time, however, or you risk removing some of the flesh from the bottom along with the leaves.

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Remove the Artichoke's Interior Leaves

    The artichoke's interior leaves. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Once the outer leaves have been peeled off, the soft petal-like interior leaves of the artichoke are visible.

    Grasp the interior leaves and remove them as well. Watch out for the sharp tips on those interior leaves.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    The Fuzzy Choke of the Artichoke

    The artichoke bottom is still hidden beneath the fuzzy choke. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Now you can see the fuzzy choke which conceals the artichoke bottom.

    Before you remove the choke, you'll need to do a little paring. See the next step.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Pare the Sides and Bottom of the Artichoke

    Pare the artichoke sides and bottom to remove remnants of the outer leaves. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    The bottom and sides of the artichoke will need to be pared to remove remnants of the outer leaves. Use a paring knife to carefully peel off the remaining bright green pieces of leaves. They are quite stiff, so be careful not to accidentally cut away the flesh from the bottom.

    Work around the sides of the artichoke, and then move to the underside. If you didn't cut the stem flush with the bottom of the artichoke before, you can do that now.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Remove the Artichoke's Fuzzy Choke

    Remove the artichoke's fuzzy choke and the dimpled layer beneath it. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Now you can remove the fuzzy choke. Insert the tip of your paring knife just beneath the surface of the fuzzy layer, keeping the flat side of the blade horizontal. Make small turns of the artichoke and knife to "slice" off the fuzzy choke.

    Note the dimpled layer that's under the fuzzy choke. This darkens quickly and should be scraped off and discarded. Scrape hard and dig a little deeper towards the center – you want to see the smooth, white surface of the bottom.

    Removing the choke may take a little practice, but after cleaning an artichoke or two it will be easier to judge how deep to insert the knife, and how much to rotate the blade. You can also try scraping out the fuzzy choke with a spoon to see if that works better for you.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Squeeze Lemon Juice on the Fresh Artichoke Bottom

    Squeeze lemon juice on the artichoke bottom to prevent it from turning brown. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Immediately squeeze or rub lemon juice on the cleaned artichoke bottom to prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown. Set it aside in a bowl with some lemon until you finish cleaning all of your artichokes.

    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Cleaned Artichoke Bottom

    The cleaned artichoke bottom, ready for cooking. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    The cleaned artichoke bottom is a bit concave and should remain fairly white since you've covered it with lemon juice. However, any dimpled choke that didn't get removed will turn brown quickly – if you see any, be sure to scrape it off and rub a little lemon juice on the newly exposed flesh.

    Don't wash fresh artichoke bottoms until you're ready to cook them. Freeze them if you're not planning to use them shortly.

    Frozen artichoke bottoms will keep well for several months. When using frozen artichoke bottoms in a recipe, I simply rinse them and add them, still frozen, directly to the dish for cooking.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Underside View of Artichoke Bottom

    Underside view of a cleaned artichoke bottom - remnants of leaves need to be removed. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This photo shows the underside of an artichoke bottom. The bright green pieces of outer leaves still need to be pared off. I cut the stems flush with base, but you might prefer to leave a little more stem.