Look for artichokes that are heavy for their size, tightly compacted, and deep green, perhaps with a purple tinge. One of two peak seasons for artichokes is now through May; the second is September through November.
The artichoke, which is the flower bud of a thistle like plant, can have thorns at the tips of the tough outer leaves, but don't let that dissuade you from enjoying their alluring flavor! Cut off the top inch of the artichoke and trim the tips of the lower leaves. If you need tips and recipes for artichokes, see 7 Ways with Artichokes.