How to Peel and Prepare an Artichoke

  • 01 of 08

    Step One: Cleaning the Artichoke.

    Before doing any trimming, first wash the artichoke thoroughly. Hold the artichoke under cold running water. Rinse in between the leaves without pulling on them. Turn the artichoke upside down (stem side up) and give a good shake. Dry the artichoke with a clean towel.

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  • 02 of 08

    Step Two: Trim the Top.

    Using a large knife, cut off the top 1 1/2" to 2" of the artichoke. This is where the leaves are most tightly bunched.

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  • 03 of 08

    Step Three. Trim the Leaves.

    Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut off the sharp points from the leaves.

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  • 04 of 08

    Step Four. Scoop out the base.

    At this point, the artichoke can be used for stuffing. Cut off the stem flush with the base. Cook the artichoke in boiling water for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove and scoop out the purple leaves and "hairs" that cover the artichoke heart. Note: Artichokes discolor rapidly when exposed to air. If you are not using the artichokes right away, place the uncooked artichokes in some water with lemon juice.

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  • 05 of 08

    Step Five. Removing the Leaves.

    If you only want to use the artichoke hearts, remove all the leaves. Starting with the outermost leaves first, grasp a leaf by the top and pull downward. The leaf should snap right off. Continue until all the leaves have been removed.

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  • 06 of 08

    Step Six. Edible Portion is Exposed.

    Once the leaves are removed, the innermost pale leaves will be exposed. This is the part you've worked for, but there is still a little more to do.

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  • 07 of 08

    Step Seven. Trimming the Base.

    Once the leaves are removed, use a paring knife to remove the hard leaf remnants around the base. Use a vegetable peeler to trim the woody outermost layer of the stem. Cut off a 1/2" from the bottom of the stem.

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  • 08 of 08

    Step Eight. Expose the Choke.

    Cut the remaining piece in half lengthwise. Remove the purple leaves and the hairy portion covering the choke. A grapefruit spoon works well for this task. The artichoke is now ready to be sliced and cooked according to the recipe. If you are not using the artichoke right away, place them in some water with lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.