Thanks for sending in your requests for more information about artichokes. They're one my favorite things and so easy to prepare, too. Here are a few pointers:
Shopping for Artichokes - I can't think of a time I ever bought a bad artichoke. Even the frost damaged variety are delicious. Since they're usually sold at a set price per artichoke, I look for the biggest ones available (but not bigger than a softball). You do want to avoid artichokes that look bug-eaten, there might be more insects waiting inside.
Cooking Artichokes - So easy! You can steam, barbecue or pressure cook artichokes, but I simply boil them. Fill a pan with enough water to mostly cover the artichokes, add a lemon cut into a few pieces and a dash of olive oil. Cut the artichoke stems, leaving about 2 inches and cut the very top of the artichoke off. If you're being fancy, you can cut the thorns off the outside leaves with scissors. Boil large artichokes, stem down, for about 30-45 minutes. Test if they're ready by pulling midsized leaves out with tongs and sampling.
Eating Artichokes - Don't serve artichokes with wine, the mixture creates a weird sweet flavor. Pull the finished artichokes from the water and drain. Dip the leaves in your favorite toppings - mayonnaise, vinaigrette, lemon or butter are all classics - and eat! Use a large bowl for the spent leaves. When you get to the heart, scrape out the "fur" with a spoon and eat the rest. That's the prize!