Peak Season for Artichokes

March through May is the perfect time to steam, stuff, bake, braise and thoroughly enjoy fresh artichokes. Learn how.

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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