Artichokes are actually in the prickly family of plants called thistles, which might explain why they look so crazy — covered in spiky leaves, like a cross between a vegetable and a dinosaur. But they’re also crazy good for you: full of stuff your body needs, like minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage. You’ll need to cook your artichoke first, and then you’ll want to eat just the wide ends of the leaves and the bottom, also known as the “heart.” Here’s how:
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife (adult needed)
- Large pot with lid
- Clean scissors
- 1 artichoke per person
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, with a squeeze of lemon or your favorite salad dressing
- Fill the pot halfway with water and put it on the stove. Put the lid on and turn the heat to high.
- Use the knife to saw off an inch or so at the tip of each artichoke and all but an inch or so of its stem. Use the scissors to snip any remaining pointy tips off each of the outer leaves, so you won’t poke yourself when you eat them.
- When the water is boiling, carefully put the artichokes in, cover the pot, and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook the artichokes at a gentle boil until a leaf pulls out easily when you tug it, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on how big the artichoke is.
- Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander for 10 minutes so they won’t be too hot to eat. Serve right away with the melted butter or salad dressing.
EAT IT Starting with the outside leaves, pull off one leaf at a time, then dip the pale bottom of the leaf in melted butter or salad dressing, and scrape the meaty part off the inside of the leaf with your bottom teeth. You’ll throw away the rest of the leaf, but you can put it in a bowl for now. Do this with all the leaves until you get to the hairy part of the artichoke (known as the “choke”), then use a spoon to scoop out and throw away the fuzzy choke. Cut up the heart and eat it. It’s the best part!