You normally wouldn’t consider a hedgehog looking vegetable edible. That’s why vegetables (and hedgehogs) grew those spikes in the first place. We’re not supposed to want to eat them. Artichokes are supposed to be worth the hassle of getting to them, but are they?
I was watching an episode of “Chopped” last week and one of the judges, kid you not, said that an improperly prepared artichoke could actually kill you. She said if you left the choke (the furry part) in, the person who ate it would choke on it and possibly die. That sounds about as appetizing as fugu.
I looked it up after I saw it, because I was freaked out. A vegetable in the produce section at my local Kroger can kill me? Madness! I couldn’t find any reference to death by artichoke, thank goodness. I read that the choke is very unpleasant to eat, and it might make you cough. Eating anything hairy would. It’s not really deadly. The chokes of baby artichokes or Spanish and Italian artichokes are ok to eat.
That’s a relief. I wouldn’t want my inept artichoke fileting skills to kill a dear friend. Knowing that my poorly cut artichoke would not result in immediate death, I decided to soldier on and try this beast myself.
Artichokes are low in calories and fat. They are a good source of B vitamins and Vitamin C. They also have Vitamin K (something to watch if you’re on warfarin/coumadin). They were once famed to be an aphrodisiac. They are reported by the Artichoke Advisory Board (there’s really one of those) to be one the vegetables with the highest amounts of antioxidants.
Artichokes look different at different times of the years. In the spring, their leaves should be tightly packed. They should be bright green and heavy for their size. During the fall and winter, they have a bronze color on their leaves and are less tightly packed. The advisory board says they are most delicious during fall and winter.
I would pretend to tell you how to dissemble one, but I did a horrible job. I had more waste than artichoke. At least I, for sure, got all the dangerous, deadly choke out. I had it in my head that I wanted to do a dish with artichoke heart instead of a simple dipping sauce, so I went in to fully dissemble the critter. Here are two great tutorials:
I got enough heart out of it to steam the heart to make a pizza, but not the wonderful dish I had in mind. You just steam the hearts for about 25 minutes, until they are tender.
The pizza tasted ok, but I feel like the artichoke defeated me. My artichoke didn’t look like any of the photographic tutorials I followed or even the can of artichoke hearts I almost bought. I did learn a lot about artichoke anatomy. I also learned that it can’t kill me, so I’m going to try again.