Artichokes, How To Prepare Them

I just love artichokes. They are a thistle, and grow quite easily here in the Western Cape. You can let them flower until beautiful and purple, or you can pick them when they are ripe and ready to eat.

Flowering Artichokes
Flowering Artichoke

Many people do not know how to prepare them, and really, they are simple and easy. We only get the mature vegetable here, but I have to admit to preferring the soft young ones we get in France and Italy as they are nicer to cook with and easier to incorporate into a meal. You can serve the leaves with an hollandaise sauce, a plain mayonnaise or even lemon butter sauce. Be patient and enjoy the leaves, as it is the heart you really want! That is the best part of a mature artichoke but do take care to get all the thistles out before eating it. This is a meal that reminds me of my mother. She uses a pressure cooker and it is something we ate when my dad was away.

Do you eat artichokes?

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Recipe Category: Vegetarian
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from From Nature To Plate page 100


  • 4 artichokes
  • 30 mls lemon juice


  • Remove the tough outer leaves and snap off the stalk
  • Bring the largest pot to the boil - if possible not an aluminium or iron one as this is what causes the artichokes to discolour
  • Add the lemon juice and the artichokes
  • Place a plate on top of the artichokes to keep them submerged
  • Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes
  • Drain well

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28 thoughts on “Artichokes, How To Prepare Them

  1. wow, never knew our favorite globe artichokes flower so beautifully, lovely dish with lemons, thanks for sharing

  2. I do love artichokes although I haven’t had one since I left the UK. I must keep my eye open for them now I’m down in the Cape.

  3. Wow, I’d never seen one flowering before, they are beautiful. I like them too, but have only cooked them myself once, when a friend gave me some from his garden.

  4. Love em! Here in Andaucia they grow in abundance and when I first arrived and cooked them like this (I still do as I love them like this) everyone thought I was mad. They’re so cheap and plentiful here that they only eat the hearts 🙂 They dn’t know what they’re missing!

  5. I absolutely love artichokes: here in Australia their season coincides with that of young fresh asparagus in spring. Some people here go for the heart immediately which to me is such a waste: it’s so much fun sitting around the dining table, dunking the leaves in your favorite sauce and slowly sucking them 🙂 ! I have to admit that I do cut about the top 1/3 – 1/4 off tho’ horizontally ere I put them in the acidulated water 😀 !

    1. The original recipe recommends the same, but I don’t bother so I didn’t put that step in. This used to be a treat with my mom when we were kids 🙂

  6. i really like artichokes–but have only ever bought the preserved variety–will have to try your method of preparing fresh ones–well as for the flowering one–it looks so pretty

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