How do I choose the perfect artichoke?

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Whether eaten fresh and whole or canned in sections, artichokes are delicious additions to salads, main dishes, and dips. They're fat-free, so use them to up the flavor of your favorite dishes without adding to your waistline.

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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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.

Marge Perry
Apr, 2011
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