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What Do Artichokes Taste Like?


Artichokes are delicious and healthy vegetable that can be included in many different meals. They may look intimidating, but under their tough exteriors are soft hearts full of flavor. What do artichokes taste like?

Do you know how to cook these vegetables? In this guide, you’ll learn the best flavor pairings for these veggies and how to prep them with ease.

Plate with sliced fresh artichoke showing bright pink center.

What Are Artichokes?

Artichokes are edible flowers from the thistle plant. Although they’re technically unbloomed flowers, people treat artichokes as vegetables. They are prominent across the Mediterranean area, growing primarily in Italy. In the United States, artichokes grow in California.

Artichokes carry a range of sizes and colors. They can be as small as Brussels sprouts or as big as cabbages. While most artichokes come in green hues, some also have purple hues.

Another feature that makes this vegetable challenging is its thorny layers. Although there are thornless artichokes, some claim they’re not as delicious.

What do artichokes look like?

The most popular variety is the green globe artichoke. Each head or globe looks like a pine cone with a thick stem. Protecting the artichoke are layers of thick pointy petals called “bracts.” And on top of these bracts is a thorny crown.

Once you remove the bracts, you’ll find inner petals housing the center choke. The “choke” is actually the flower buds and beneath that is the artichoke heart.

Not all parts of the artichoke are ideal for eating. The crown is inedible, and not many people are fond of eating the outer petals. When cooked right, the inner petals should be tasty. And it’s not even worth tasting the choke. It has a hairy and unappetizing texture hence the name.

So, what part of the artichoke is edible? You want is the artichoke heart with a little bit of the stem, both of which are equally delicious.

What Do Artichokes Taste Like?

Artichokes have a mild herbaceous flavor with nutty and earthy tones. The cooking process may also affect this vegetable’s flavor. For example, boiled or steamed artichokes tend to be sweeter.

On the other hand, grilled artichokes have a characteristic smoky flavor. And frying artichokes gives them a savory and nuttier taste, like fried asparagus.

What Is The Texture Of Artichokes?

Uncooked artichokes are firm and crunchy. But after cooking, the outer petals and artichoke hearts have soft and chewy texture.

Can You Eat Artichoke Raw?

Surprisingly, you can eat artichokes raw. If you want to try out raw artichokes, make sure to get fresh ones.

Fresh artichokes guarantee a crunchy bite and nutty flavor. Just a heads-up, raw artichokes have a bitter aftertaste that may be unappealing to some. To counter the bitterness, try these vegetables with olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Tips For Buying Artichokes

The key to a delicious artichoke is picking out the right crop.

Start with choosing artichokes with luscious green leaves. Any wilting, brown, or yellow leaves are signs that the artichoke isn’t fresh or handled properly.

The artichoke’s outer petals bloom open the longer they sit out. So go for artichoke heads with tight and compact petals.

Artichokes should also be heavy for their size, which means they’re moist and meaty. If an artichoke feels too light, chances are it’s dried out and lost much of its flavor.

Another way to test an artichoke’s freshness is to squeeze it lightly. You should hear a squeaking sound hinting that the vegetable is young and full.

Also, here’s an extra tip: look for frost-kissed artichokes! These artichokes have brown edges from the cold. Although pricier, people say that these taste more delicious than regular artichokes.

How To Prepare Artichoke

There are two options for preparing artichokes. You can cook them whole or take out the artichoke hearts.

The latter obviously takes more time but saves you the trouble of removing the petals later. And using whole artichokes means a longer cooking time but keeps the hearts soft and moist. Either way, you’ll still get yummy artichokes.

For easy prepping, we laid out the steps for each option.

Option 1: Whole Artichokes

You’ll need the following:

  • Chef’s knife
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Whole artichokes
  • Lemon juice or vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cut an inch of the artichoke’s crown and toss it aside.
  2. Cut the stem but leave at least half an inch on the bottom.
  3. Trim the pointy ends of the artichoke leaves using the scissors.
  4. Rub lemon juice all around the artichoke.
  5. Or place the artichoke in a bowl of water with vinegar.
  6. Set artichoke aside for cooking.

Option 2: Artichoke Hearts

You’ll need the following:

  • Spoon
  • Chef’s knife
  • Whole artichokes
  • Lemon juice or vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cut an inch of the artichoke’s crown and toss it aside.
  2. Cut the stem but leave at least half an inch on the bottom.
  3. Remove the layers of petals until you reach the choke.
  4. Use the inner petals for later or toss them aside.
  5. Scoop out the choke using the spoon.
  6. Rub lemon juice on the artichoke heart or soak it in water and vinegar.
  7. Set artichoke aside for cooking.

Tips:

  • Keep the stems intact until you need to cook the artichoke. Once you cut the stem, artichokes brown fast because of oxidation.
  • Rubbing or soaking artichokes in anything acidic down the oxidation process.
  • Stuff whole artichokes with aromatics for a richer flavor.
  • Using thornless artichokes will cut your prep and cooking time.

How To Cook Artichokes

Although artichokes are tricky to prepare, they’re pretty easy to cook. Boiling is a common way of cooking artichokes. But others prefer steaming with aromatics. If you’re after crispiness, then fried or grilled artichoke is the way to go.

Here’s how you can cook your next batch of artichokes.

Method 1: Boiling

You’ll need:

  • Water
  • Salt (optional)
  • Lemon or vinegar (optional)
  • Whole artichokes
  • Medium-sized pot

Directions:

  1. Fill the pot with enough water to submerge the artichokes.
  2. Season the water with salt and lemon juice or vinegar.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Add artichokes and let them simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Artichokes should be fork-tender.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water.
  7. Drizzle olive oil on artichokes and add a pinch of salt.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Method 2: Steaming

You’ll need:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaf
  • Lemon
  • Whole artichokes
  • Steaming basket
  • Medium-sized pot

Directions:

  1. Fill the pot with at least four cups of water.
  2. Add salt, garlic, bay leaf, and lemon juice.
  3. Place artichokes on the steaming basket and cover it with a lid.
  4. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.
  5. Steam the artichokes for 25 to 35 minutes.
  6. Check the inner petals if tender.
  7. Remove artichokes and set them on a plate.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Method 3: Grilling

You’ll need:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Whole artichokes
  • Grill

Directions:

  1. Cut the steamed artichokes in half.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon to taste.
  4. Grill them on each side for 10 minutes.
  5. Cover the artichokes and smoke for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

Method 4: Frying

You’ll need:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Skillet

Directions:

  1. Season the artichokes with salt and pepper.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into the skillet.
  3. Place the skillet under medium heat.
  4. Fry artichokes until lightly browned.
  5. Add ¼ cup of water and cover the skillet.
  6. Reduce to a simmer.
  7. Let the water thicken into a slightly thick sauce.
  8. Remove from the heat and set on a plate.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

Cooking Tips

  • Some people say that boiled artichokes taste watery compared to steamed artichokes. You can avoid this by not overboiling the vegetables.
  • When boiling artichokes, try adding halved lemons for a sharper flavor.
  • Artichokes dry out under the grill’s intense heat, so make sure to steam the artichokes first. Steaming ensures a shorter cooking time and keeps the artichokes moist.
  • If you’re frying whole artichokes, cut them in half. The tough outer petals make it challenging to cook the heart.

What Flavors Pair With Artichokes?

The artichoke’s mild taste makes it a perfect pair for simple flavors. For instance, artichokes always taste great with garlic and herbs. The latter’s pungent flavor amplifies the vegetable’s nutty tones. While using herbs like thyme and rosemary gives an aromatic boost.

You can also serve artichokes alongside other veggies like asparagus. This pairing makes sense because they have similar flavors. For dinners, fried artichokes make delicious appetizers paired with asparagus soup.

Also, remember the petals you set aside? While most people don’t eat them, they’re still edible. Bake or fry the petals until they soften and eat them like chips. Artichoke petals taste delicious with dips like garlic ranch, salsa, or guacamole.

That’s not all! In case you didn’t know, artichokes can handle fancy ingredients too. In fact, world-renowned chef, Guy Savoy, cooks artichokes with a truffle-based creamy sauce!

How long do artichoke last?

Artichokes can last up to one week when stored properly. Fresh artichokes should be kept in the refrigerator and placed in a plastic bag with some damp paper towels to keep them from drying out.

If cooked, they should be stored in an airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to three months.

Canned artichokes can last for several months if unopened and stored in a cool, dry place.

Once opened, they should be consumed within two or three days.

Why Do Artichokes Taste So Good?

Artichokes taste so good because of their nutty, earthy, and sweet flavors. If you love eating vegetables, then there’s no doubt you’ll love artichokes too.

Does Artichoke Taste Like Meat?

No, artichokes don’t taste like meat. They do have an earthy and nutty flavor that’s more similar to asparagus or Brussels sprouts.

Are Artichokes And Brussels Sprouts The Same?

No, artichokes and Brussels sprouts aren’t the same. They come from different plant families. They also taste different, with Brussels sprouts having a closer flavor to cabbage.

Summary

Once you get to know artichokes, they’re not as threatening as they look! Indeed, they’re one of the most delicious and versatile vegetables around. Fresh artichokes offer nutty, earthy, and sometimes a bit sweet flavor. But if you’re eating raw artichoke, prepare for a bitter aftertaste.

So, what do artichokes taste like with other flavors? Garlic and herbs give these vegetables a savory and aromatic boost. Artichokes also get along with other veggie dishes like asparagus soup. For quick snacks, the inner petals taste scrumptious with creamy dips. Lastly, adding some truffle should lift the artichoke’s flavor to gourmet levels.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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