Artichoke Season is Here!

May 22, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015
May is the peak season for baby artichokes. (Photos.com)
May is the peak season for baby artichokes. (Photos.com)

Artichoke lovers have reason to celebrate as May is the peak season for baby artichokes.

Baby artichokes are fully mature artichokes that grow closer to the ground, sheltered by the large leaves of the plant. They are easy to prepare and cook because the inner fuzzy portion of the choke does not develop.

To prepare baby artichokes, snap off the lower petals until the yellow-green core is reached. Use a knife to cut off the top half-inch of the baby artichoke. To avoid the baby chokes’ bitter taste, trim the stems and all remaining green areas from the base.

Baby artichokes can be steamed over rapid boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. They may also be grilled, roasted, or sautéed.
“Baby artichokes are fun because with just a little trimming you can eat the whole thing,” says Kori Tuggle, marketing manager at Ocean Mist Farms, the largest producer of artichokes in the country. “A baby artichoke can be used as a low-carb ingredient for any dish you would a potato for, such as an omelets or in soup.”

Baby artichokes are a seasonal item and availability does vary throughout the year, but the month of May is the peak volume month for this size artichoke.
“Shoppers should be able to find baby artichokes now wherever they shop for traditional artichokes,” Tuggle said.

How to eat an artichoke

Many people have never experienced the joy of eating an artichoke because they never learned how to eat one. The good news is that eating an artichoke is easy, and it is definitely something to be savored slowly and sumptuously.

Start by pulling off one of the outermost petals. Dip the base of the petal into your favorite sauce. Many people prefer melted butter or mayonnaise, but there is no limit to the types of dips or sauces that can be used.

Pull the petal through your slightly clenched teeth to remove the soft, tender flesh at the bottom of the petal. Discard remainder (you’ll want to have an empty bowl ready in which to drop them).

Continue until all petals have been removed. You will now have arrived at one of the great culinary rewards—the heart! If the fuzzy choke guarding the heart hasn’t been removed, scoop it out with a spoon.

Cut the remaining artichoke heart into bite-sized pieces, dip, and enjoy!

Here is a super simple way to prepare restaurant quality artichokes! Have you made this recipe?

Easy baked artichokes

Source: Adrienne Meier, Ocean Mist Farms
2 large Ocean Mist artichokes rinsed and trimmed (remove the entire stem and save to add to a pot of stew or soup)
1 whole lemon, cut in half
4 cloves of garlic, slivered
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt to taste
4 sheets of heavy duty foil wrap

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Squeeze half a lemon on the top of each trimmed artichoke. Drizzle each artichoke with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, allowing oil to go in between artichoke leaves.

Stuff two cloves of slivered garlic between leaves of each artichoke. Sprinkle each artichoke with salt and any other herbs such as finely chopped rosemary or sage.

Double wrap each artichoke with two layers of heavy duty foil, sealing well on top by twisting and pinching foil packets. Place foil packets of artichokes in oven and bake.

Jumbo to large sized artichokes: Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes
Medium sized artichokes: Bake for 1 hour

Remove artichokes from oven. When cool enough to handle, unwrap artichokes and enjoy with additional lemon or scoop out the fuzzy center of the baked artichoke and use as an edible bowl filled with your favorite soups, stews, or dips.

Ocean Mist Farms is four generations of family farmers who lead the artichoke category and grow a full line of fresh vegetables.