How To Eat An Artichoke Without Wasting Any

Artichokes are one of the more unusual and intimidating plants that we eat. Though they are often placed with vegetables in supermarkets, artichokes are actually flowers and, despite their prickly appearance, most parts of the artichoke are edible. An artichoke can be divided into four parts: the stem, the petals, the heart, and the choke. The first three parts are — with a little preparation — safe and delicious to eat. Only the fuzzy interior, known as the choke, should be discarded except in very young specimens.

Artichokes come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. While they require some work to break through their sharp, rough exterior, the diverse flavors and textures of the stem, petals, and heart are well worth the effort and shouldn't go to waste. You can enjoy these parts of the artichoke boiled, steamed, roasted, preserved in olive oil, or fried in the traditional Roman Jewish alla romana style. They are also delicious when blended into a creamy sauce, dip, or pesto. Just wash, cook, trim (specifically, trim the feathery inner petals — the choke– that surround the heart), and then enjoy!

How to eat artichoke petals

Though the small pieces that fan out across the artichoke are often referred to as artichoke leaves, they are actually petals. Artichoke petals can be plucked to eat one by one as a fun and flavorful snack (as you would with chips), but first, you'll need to prep, clean, and cook them.

To begin, use kitchen scissors to snip the pointed tips off of each petal as they can be quite sharp. Then, use a serrated knife to cut away the top inch of the artichoke. Run the artichoke under water, using your fingers to loosen up some space between the petals so that these areas can also be rinsed thoroughly. Steam the artichokes in a steaming basket on the stovetop or in an electric steamer. Once softened (about 30 minutes), they are ready to eat! They are perfect with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt, but you can also dip them into a variety of vinaigrettes, spreads, or melted butter. Rather than eating the whole petal, you'll want to bite it gently, then use your teeth to scrape away the soft part of the petal, leaving behind the more fibrous part.

How to get and make use of the artichoke heart

The heart of the artichoke is the hardest part to get to, but it's also the most enjoyable to eat. Once you've steamed the artichoke and removed all of its petals, you're most of the way to it — all you need to do is use a spoon to scrape away the fuzzy stuff that can be found atop the artichoke heart, known as the choke. Toss this, and you're left with the tender, tasty base of the artichoke. You can leave these whole for a hearty snack or savory side at dinner, or chop them into little pieces to be served in a soup or salad.

Make the most of your artichoke and use different parts of the plant in a single dish or take advice from chefs Max and Eli Sussman in their recipe for chard salad with artichoke hearts and serve the artichoke petals as a snack while preparing the artichoke hearts for rest of your meal.