This Is How Andrew Zimmern Removes The Prickly Center From Artichokes

Andrew Zimmern had a great tip in a recently posted YouTube video titled "How to Prepare Artichokes." Artichokes can be intimidating if you've never cooked them before; the edible part of the thistle plant, these spiky vegetables barely resemble something edible, let alone delicious — which they are, according to The Tasty World, which describes them as sweet and nutty.

Zimmern says that with a few simple steps, you can discard the less palatable parts of this hostile-looking vegetable and get to the center of what The Kitchn calls "the oyster of the vegetable world." One of those steps is removing a few of the exterior leaves to make large artichokes easier to work with, advises Zimmern in the video. He also recommends having a bowl of lemon water (or acidulated water if you want to impress your family and friends) nearby to dunk the artichokes in. This is because, like apples, artichokes will turn brown once cut. While it won't affect the taste, this water, as well as a few cut lemons to rub on the artichokes will help them maintain their color. 

Zimmern scoops out the choke with a spoon

Another part of preparing artichokes is removing the "choke" part at the base of the petals. This tough, fibrous portion is not only unappetizing, but also a choking hazard (via the Gardening Channel). In his YouTube video, the Bizarre Foods star demonstrates the most effective way to remove this part of the plant.

After cutting the artichoke into quarters, rubbing them with cut lemon, and placing the pieces in lemon water, Zimmern says to take one quarter at a time and use a spoon to scrape out the threads of the choke. "Some people like to do a paring knife," he says. "I find that a spoon is sort of ideal for getting in there, all the way to the back, and preserving all the rest of the artichoke." He then explained, "All I want to do is push the spoon forward and just lift out those fibrous hairs, and there you have a beautiful artichoke, both the heart and the tender parts of the leaves. I think with a knife, you cut into other parts of the artichoke and you remove pieces you don't want. It seems pretty perfect to me."

And Zimmern should know. In addition to his chef credentials, Zimmern also calls himself "an artichoke nut," and confesses he could eat them at almost every meal. Ready to cook with artichokes? Zimmern's website has some great recipes, including fried artichokes with lemon aioli and an Artichoke and Asparagus Barigoule.