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How to Clean Fresh Artichoke Hearts

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Start with Fresh, Compact Artichokes
Fresh Artichokes

Artichokes

Photo © Molly Watson
There are all kinds of reasons to clean your own fresh artichokes into artichoke hearts. The main one is it's the only way to end up with fresh, rather than canned, marinated, or frozen artichoke hearts. The process does take some time, it's true, but it isn't difficult. The first one you do may end up looking a bit mangled, but you learn a lot doing that first one. Trust me, they will look smooth and pretty with just a bit of practice.

In order to end up with the tastiest, most tender artichoke hearts, you need to start with fresh, moist artichokes. Like all vegetable, artichokes slowly but surely dry out after they've been harvested. As they lose moisture and age, their leaves pull away from the center, the stem wrinkles, and the tender inner heart gets increasingly fibrous, dry, and tough.

Look for artichokes with tight, compact heads and fresh-cut stems. Note that all cut stems will be brown - artichokes oxidize and turn brown very quickly after being cut - you want to look for artichoke stems that aren't dried out.

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