At times, you may have a need for raw artichoke hearts, which can be steamed or used in recipes. Artichoke hearts taste best when they’re cooked, but sometimes you won’t have a need to cook the whole artichoke along with the heart. Here is how you separate the heart from a raw artichoke, which you can then steam or cook as you please.
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Separating the Heart from a Raw Artichoke
- Serrated knife, or sharp chef's knife
- Kitchen shears, or sharp, clean scissors
- Vegetable peeler
- Melon baller, or spoon
- Paring knife
- Large pot with lid and steaming basket (optional)
- Have a bowl of cold water with lemon juice handy, as well as some fresh lemon halves, to keep your artichoke pieces from oxidizing and turning brown. Rinse your artichokes under cold water, pulling the leaves apart gently to let the water run between them and flush out any impurities. Pat the artichokes dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Remove any stray leaves from the stem of the artichoke.
- With kitchen shears, or sharp scissors, remove the thorny tips from the leaves. You can actually steam these leaves, the bottom parts of the leaves are edible - if steaming you'll definitely want to remove the thorny tips. If you do not plan to steam the leaves, you can skip this step - just be careful when peeling them later, as the thorns can be quite sharp.
- With a serrated knife cut about an inch off of the top of the artichoke.
- Remove the bitter, fibrous end of the stem with your knife, leaving about an inch left on the artichoke. Be sure to rub a lemon onto the exposed end of the stem.
- Peel the outer skin from the remaining stem. The stem can has a more bitter taste than the rest of the artichoke and removing the skin helps to take away some of the bitterness.
- Peel off 5-6 layers of external leaves from the artichoke, snapping off the leaves and setting them aside, till you reach an inner layer of leaves that are fresh looking and white at the base.
- With a serrated or sharp chef's knife, slice off the remaining crown of leaves around where the green part stops and the whitish bottom begins.
- When you slice off the remaining leaves, you will expose the inner fuzzy choke. Discard the leaves.
- With a melon baller, remove the choke – the furry, inedible center area. Rub exposed areas with lemon.
- With a paring knife, trim off any remaining bits of leaves around the edges of the heart.
- Now your artichoke heart is cleaned and ready to cook!
- If you plan to steam the artichoke hearts, fill the bottom of a pot with a few inches of water. Place a steaming basket in the pot and the artichokes hearts on top, then cover the pan with a lid. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Let the hearts steam until they are tender and a knife can be easily inserted. Cooking time will vary based on size and quantity. Start with 15 minutes and increase time as needed.