Steamed Artichokes

April 2, 2012

Artichokes are a nostalgic food for me. I remember eating lots of them as a kid in the early spring when artichoke season rolled around. I loved working my way towards the center, scrapping the fleshy part of each leaf between my teeth. The best part comes last – once ¬†you have worked your way down to the heart. It’s food you have to work for, but you are rewarded for your efforts.

Steamed artichokes is an easy recipe. The more difficult part is the prep. If you haven’t worked with artichokes before, they can be an intimidating vegetable. Here are some simple steps to cleaning and preparing an artichoke to steam.

How to Prep an Artichoke:

1. Rinse artichoke under cold water. (Let water run from the top down into the leaves to remove any lodged dirt).
2. If there are any small leaves on the stem or the base of the artichoke, tear them off.
3. Place artichoke on a large cutting board and with a sharp knife, remove about 1 to 1.5 inches from the top. This can be a lot to cut through – I’ve found a bread knife works well, and saw off the top as if you were slicing a loaf of bread.
4. Cut the bottom of the stem, leaving about 1 inch.
5. With scissors, trim the sharp points off the leaves. (Can be very sharp).
6. With a vegetable peeler, peel the outer skin off of the stem. (This will allow you to eat it).

Eater’s Note: There are more reasons to eat artichokes besides being mouth-wateringly delicious. Nutritionally, they are low in calories (a medium sized artichoke has about 25 calories), and great source of fiber, vitamin C and folate, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. You can eat them warm or cold, so it works well to make extra to bring to work as a snack, or eat again another night. I usually cook 4 at once because I can easily fit that number in my steamer basket.

Steamed Artichokes
  • 1+ whole artichokes - trimmed (see notes)
  • Pot with steamer basket and lid
  1. Fill pot with several inches of water and bring to boil.
  2. While water is warming, prep artichokes (see notes)
  3. When water is boiling, add basket, artichokes, and cover.
  4. Cook for about 30 minutes until tender. Artichokes are done when you can easily insert a knife into the artichoke just below the stem AND can pull off bottom leaves without any resistance. If you are in doubt keep cooking.
  5. Serve with melted butter, or garlic aioli for dipping. I also love them plain.