The One Hack That Will Make Summertime Artichoke Prep A Breeze

Artichoke enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the prickly vegetable is at its best right now, with its peak season being March through May. Primarily hailing from California in the U.S., per What's Cooking America, artichokes have been a staple on Italian-American kitchen tables and seen on menus of Italian restaurants for generations. Once believed to be an aphrodisiac and the key to bearing sons, the mystique of the artichoke can be traced back to Greek gods with one of many affairs from the amorous married Zeus.

A study from the Nutrition Journal touts the benefits of consuming this antioxidant-rich food (surpassing even kale), which provides a quarter each of the daily recommended vitamin C and K intake and aids in digestion thanks to its high fiber content (via Healthline). Found in most supermarkets year-round, globe artichokes can be as large as softballs. When purchasing any variety of fresh artichokes, NPR suggests looking for those that are heavy in hand, not dry or squishy to the touch, and covered in dark green leaves that are tightly packed together. Fans of artichokes can also find the product already prepped and cooked in various forms, from pickled or marinated to frozen, canned, and the delicious (if artery-clogging) creamy artichoke dip. Although most of the artichoke is inedible, the heart, stem, and sweet meat found on the tender leaves are more than worth the effort it takes to prepare them. Luckily, that just got easier thanks to a clever hack.

This hack lets you clean an artichoke while keeping it whole

Home cooks are not the only ones who are apprehensive about working with artichokes, a famously confounding vegetable to prep. According to the Food Network, chef Alton Brown loves to eat artichokes but can't stand to cook them — presumably due to their intimidating network of fibrous leaves and inner fuzzy bits that are inedible. How can we make this high-maintenance food a little easier to cook? With a little Instagram research, of course!

Recently, The FeedFeed demonstrated a hack for tackling the trickiest task associated with artichokes: cleaning them. Using kitchen shears and a teaspoon, Lisa Thompson snips the center of the artichoke a few times to expose the inner choke. She then uses the teaspoon to gently scoop out the choke, creating direct access to the heart. A few taps on the counter causes all the inedible parts to fall out and makes plenty of room if you're craving stuffed artichokes for dinner.

From there, the right way to clean and prep artichokes involves placing them in water with lemon juice to prevent the veggie from oxidizing (turning brown) like a potato. Then they're ready to be steamed and served with butter for dipping, placed on a bougie pizza, or even fried until shatteringly crispy in the Roman-Jewish style. However you decide to prepare them, don't throw out that stem! When peeled, this often overlooked part of the artichoke is tender and tastes just like the heart, without the hassle of the thistles.