If you haven't cooked often and suddenly you find yourself in need of cooking an artichoke, one look at it might immediately send a shudder down your back because it looks like a very intimidating food to be cooking. But, if you know just how to prepare them, they really aren't all that scary of an item to cook in your kitchen. Below are steps on how to prepare yourself a fresh artichoke.
First you will need to cut off the stems at the bottom of the artichoke. After you do that you will notice how nicely the artichoke will not sit upright on your cutting board and this will make it a lot easier for you to work with them for the rest of the preparation.
Now you will take a paring knife or any knife with a serrated blade. You will need this to cut off the more spiky and tough outer leaves of your artichoke. You can also peel off the larger leaves with your fingers by simply snapping them off at the base of the artichoke. Just be really careful not to poke your fingers with the pointy leaf edges of the vegetable.
You can either continue to cut or peel off the tough leaves until you reach the inner soft more yellow or pale green leaves of the artichoke. Once you get to this point you have reached what is called the artichoke heart. If you find that there are some fuzzy dark green tops on the yellow or pale green leaves you will need to slice that off with your knife or you can scrape it off with a melon baller. You want to get rid of the dark leaves because they are tough and very hard for people to digest.
You can now either leave the artichoke the way it is or you can cut it in half. If the artichoke is a jumbo one you might even be able to cut it into quarters. If you aren't going to be cooking your artichoke right away you are going to not want it to turn brown so you should rub the leaves with some lemon wedges and the lemon juice will act as an anti-oxident. Once you are done with all of this your artichoke is fully prepared to be cooked.
If you want to, you can peel off all of the edible leaves instead of leaving them attached and cook this way. This is probably a good idea if you are cooking a soup or a pizza that requires artichoke. You aren't going to want a big chunk of artichoke in a soup or on a pizza.