Although they are more commonly associated with winter, we get some of the best local Artichokes during the early part of Spring.

A lot of amateur cooks are intimidated by artichokes. Perhaps it is their strange appearance. Perhaps it is the spikes on the end of their petals. Or maybe it is their reputation for being laborious to prepare. Either way, they are a lot easier to cook than you might believe, and wonderfully versatile and delicious!

The first step is to remove about 2 layers of the outer leaves, until you expose the paler leaves in the middle. Discard the outer leaves and then quickly dip the whole artichoke in some acidulated water to stop it discolouring before continuing.

Next step is to cut off the long stem. Easy

Last step is to remove the “choke” from the centre. This is the fluffy interior which can be found right in the centre of the petals. Simply insert a small spoon and dig out as much of the fluffy stuff as you can. If your recipe does not require the artichoke to be whole (i.e. if you are not going to stuff it etc.) then this final step is easier if you cut the artichoke heart into halves or even quarters.

That’s it! Now all you need to do is decide what recipe you want to use your artichoke in! We have a couple at the side of the page. But Artichokes can be braised, steamed, BBQd, baked or fried. They are great in pasta, risotto, salads and just by themselves.

Go on, get into it!