Preparing Artichokes the Italian Way

Woman holding artichoke
Sofie Delauw / Getty Images
  • 01 of 10

    Start With An Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Let's Begin!
    Preparing Artichokes: Let's Begin!. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    I remember the first time I had an artichoke, many years ago: It was steamed, and we pulled away the petals, and sucked the soft flesh from the petal bases, discarding the rest, until we got to the artichoke hearts. This isn't the Italian way. Rather, Italians begin with a fresh artichoke of the kind shown here, stem and all.

    This particular artichoke is a fine example of a cultivar called Morellino, and has long, sharp spines on the ends of the petals, which it's important to get rid of.

    [...MOREEdited by Danette St. Onge on 1/31/2016]

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    The Artichoke Stripped of Tough Outer Petals

    Preparing Artichokes: Tough Outer Leaves Removed
    Preparing Artichokes: Tough Outer Leaves Removed. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    Begin by rubbing your hands with a cut lemon to keep the artichoke's juices from staining them. Next, start pulling away the tough outer petals (pull down, towards the stem), working around the artichoke, until you reach the more-tender inner petals, which will snap off much more easily. Exactly how many leaves one must remove is something learned with experience, but don't be surprised if you discard about a third of the petals.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Trim the Tip of the Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Trim Tip
    Preparing Artichokes: Trim Tip. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    Once you have reached the more-tender inner petals, which are a lighter green color, you must trim the top of the artichoke with its spiny tips.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    The Tip of a Trimmed Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Tip Trimmed
    Preparing Artichokes: Tip Trimmed. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    Rub your finger across the freshly cut surface of the artichoke to make certain there are no remaining spines. If there are, remove the offending petals.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Trim the Stem of the Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Stem Trimmed
    Preparing Artichokes: Stem Trimmed. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    If you are planning to do something that requires standing the artichokes upright, for example, stuffing them, trim the stem flat with the base of the petals. Otherwise, trim the stem of the artichoke leaving about an inch (2.5 cm) below the petals.

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Pare the Stem of the Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Shape Stem
    Preparing Artichokes: Shape Stem. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    If you look at the stem of an artichoke you will see a ring, with tough, darker green skin surrounding a paler green heart. The darker part is not good to eat, and you should remove it with a paring knife, leaving the heart of the stem, which is an extension of the heart and good to eat. When you're done preparing the top part of the artichokes, peel the stems to reveal their cores.

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    A Fully Trimmed Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Ready to Work With
    Preparing Artichokes: Ready to Work With. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    Artichokes discolor quite quickly when exposed to air. To prevent this, rub the artichoke all over with a cut lemon, or soak the cut artichokes in a bowl of water with a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice added.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Artichokes Cut in Half

    Preparing Artichokes: Cut in Half
    Preparing Artichokes: Cut in Half. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com
    The trimmed artichokes, cut in half. Note that their hearts have some fuzz. This fuzz is unpleasant to eat, and must go.
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Removing the Fuzz From the Artichoke Heart

    Preparing Artichokes: Remove Fuzz
    Preparing Artichokes: Remove Fuzz. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com
    Use either a paring knife or a spoon to remove the fuzz from the heart of the artichoke.
    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Slicing the Artichoke

    Preparing Artichokes: Slice Them
    Preparing Artichokes: Slice Them. © Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com

    The artichokes are now ready to be sliced. Depending upon what you are doing, you may want to quarter them, or cut them into eighths. Or, you may want to slice them, as you need to do for this recipe for black rice with artichokes.