Why It Always Pays To Buy Artichoke Hearts Frozen

Artichokes are one of the most popular vegetables across the globe for a reason. They typically compliment pastas, pizzas, and salads with their soft texture and earthy flavor, but these veggies can easily be incorporated into less obvious dishes such as stews and casseroles, too. Still, many home cooks stay away from eating artichokes due to how difficult they are to prepare including the removal of their tough exteriors. Thankfully, frozen options exist for those who don't want to deal with the frustration involved with these finnicky veggies.

Frozen artichokes cut down considerably on prep time by already arriving peeled, making them perfect for recipes that only call for the hearts. In fact, they might taste better than the fresh artichokes at your local market, as the frozen vegetables are usually picked and flash-frozen at their peak ripeness. This differs from fresh produce, which farmers typically harvest earlier to prevent spoilage. Just remember to defrost the hearts when you're using them for dips and other recipes that do not benefit from the added water content of frozen foods.

Use frozen artichokes for oven and stovetop dishes

Some may only think of artichokes as a topping for a dish, but the reality is that using frozen artichoke hearts can become the star and elevate a variety of baked recipes that utilize the oven. Try adding the hearts to your frittatas or a galette to add some Mediterranean flavor. The veggies can also be added to baked pastas to add some rustic notes. Frozen artichoke can also boost stovetop dishes such as risotto; the best part is, for this kind of recipe, it doesn't require you to defrost the ingredients in advance.

You can even use frozen artichokes to make fried dishes such as carciofi alla giudia, a meal that the world-renowned chef Giada De Laurentiis always eats when in Rome. To make this dish, you'll want to let the hearts marinate in salt before deep frying them in order to remove their moisture. Once they're cooked thoroughly, you can get rid of any excess oil and toss them in a simple dressing that includes lemon juice, garlic, and pepper.

Swap frozen artichokes for canned veggies in a pinch

Frozen artichokes are not readily available at every grocery store. If you're having trouble getting a hold of these veggies, head to the canned foods aisle instead and pick out some artichokes in a jar or tin. Much like their frozen counterparts, canned artichokes come prepared as just the hearts, meaning that do not need any comprehensive chopping. Canned and frozen artichokes also have a similar mouthfeel, but the former can cut down your time in the kitchen even more since they do not need to be defrosted prior to use. Just drain or scoop them out of their container and you're good to go.

Keep in mind that canned artichokes typically have hints of sourness that are not found in their fresh or frozen counterparts. This is because these veggies are usually preserved in a liquid containing salt and citric acid, which adds to their shelf-life and keeps them from losing their natural color. In this case, stick with fresh or frozen varieties if you know your dish will not benefit from added acidity.