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Peak Season for Artichokes

Steamed Artichokes with Creamy Walnut Dip

Steamed Artichokes with Creamy Walnut Dip

My mother loved artichokes.  Every spring, she would steam fresh artichokes and serve with either a lemon-melted butter sauce or sweetened vinegar dipping sauce. They were delicious! 

Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean. Italy, France and Spain are the largest producers. In the US, California produces close to 100% of all of our artichokes. They’re at their peak from March through May, so now is the perfect time to steam some fresh artichokes.

With just a little prep work, you’ll be on your way to artichoke heaven! Two good basic recipes for prepping and cooking instructions include Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Butter Sauce and Steamed Artichokes with Creamy Walnut Dip, both perfect for a simple, first-time treat.

Baked Artichokes Stuffed with Red Quinoa

Baked Artichokes Stuffed with Red Quinoa

Artichokes can be stuffed, baked or braised. You can add them to dips and sauces. They’re wonderful in soups, stews, grain dishes and salads. Canned and jarred artichoke hearts are a popular addition to a variety of salads, mains and sides. Here’s a selection of recipes made with fresh artichokes:

These recipes are prepared with canned or jarred artichokes:

Remember, when cooking fresh artichokes, scrape out the fuzzy stuff on top of the heart with a spoon or a melon-baller.  It’s inedible and must be discarded.  Oh, and don’t forget the dip!  Artichokes are awesome on their own, but when dipped into a succulent sauce, they’re the highway to heaven, all the way.  You can melt butter or ghee (it’s like clarified butter) and add lemon juice or you can do what mom did and mix vinegar with a sweetener like honey or natural sugar or agave, or try one of our favorite dips:

Do you cook artichokes?  Got a favorite recipe?  Let me know.

Originally published 2013. Updated 2015.

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Monica says …

Thank you so much for this article! I just got 3 artichokes in my CSA box, and I had no idea what to do with them. This is perfect. :)

Rosemarie says …

Growers are growing a "different" artichoke compared to years ago. They are not planting every year. The globe round artichokes are garbage. The markets in may area have zero artichokes out for display and sale right now, March 2013. This is because the type of artichoke that is grown is not good quality. I can't remember the last time I bought artichokes. My friends and family members all have the same complaint. Growers should return to growing the traditional artichoke which is teardrop shaped with thorns at the edge of each leaf, a meaty "heart" and thick stem. I have spoken to the grocery store managers in my area, showing them that the few soft, black, round artichokes they have for sale are GARBAGE !!! I have contacted the Chamber of Commerce, Arichoke Capital, California regarding the horrible quality of artichokes being sent to the New England area. Feel free to pass my comments along to all involved with growing artichokes. Thank you....

dshrn1960 says …

I have never cooked or even bought an atrichoke. Time to learn lol

Ximena says …

My Dad and I used to go once a week to this farm and the lady would let us pick our artichokes. It was one of those things that we just loved doing together. I have been eating them forever! Boiled and served with a vinaigrette made of lemon,vinegar,olive oil and dijon mustard. It is definitely harder to find good ones here in North America so whenever Whole Foods has them i take them all. I'll have to try one of these recipes now that I'm all stocked up!. They look delicious.

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D-tron says …

I halve them lengthwise and cook them in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes ( elevate them in a steamer basket ). Then I mix mayo and sriracha as a dipping sauce. You can make it mild or super spicy. It's fantastic!

Laura M. Lee says …

Dear Whole Foods, I would like to know why it is that you do not stock canned/jarred artichoke hearts, etc, that are from California grown artichokes. I have checked your Walnut Creek and Oakland stores and all the products on the shelves are from either Spain or Peru. The "artichoke capitol of the world" is in California, yet there is not one product from California. Why not?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LAURA - Our buying is done at the store/regional level. If you are aware of a California vendor for canned artichokes, definitely let the store know. They'd be happy to look in to any new vendors to make sure they meet our quality standards.

debra ortizio says …

Where are the fresh artichokes. No one is carrying them why? We have checked 2 whole food stores none for sale. We have eaten artichoke every thanksgiving for the past 50 yrs.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DEBRA - I'm so sorry they haven't been in stock. Check with your local store, they can let you know when they should be getting more in.