The “thorny winter”(artichokes) are delicious but to cook well the artichokes, however, it is necessary to clean them properly removing outer hard leaves and inner annoying fluff.
When you buy them, check that they have a uniform color and a firm texture, the tips should be secure, the dark leaves and the stem long and turgid.
Before starting rub your hands with lemon to prevent blackening, as the artichokes contain substances which oxidize in contact with air. Alternatively you can use gloves.
For the same reason, prepare a bowl with cold water and lemon juice: there will plunge the artichokes, cleaned and cut. The solution acidulated slows the oxidation process. Then:
- Browse the artichoke removing with hands the leaves (bracts) more external, the harder, until they are soft to the touch. Do not throw the leaves removed, you can use them for decoctions, infusions and macerated. Why bracts focuses cynarin, a substance with properties hepatoprotective and digestive
- Cut with a knife the top of the artichoke, about three inches from the tip
- Cut the artichoke in half, lengthwise
- At the center is the typical beard (called “hay” or “pappus”), is not edible. Remove it with a sharp boxcutter or with a corer
- Take care of the stem: delete the final part, the hardest, and the remainder eliminated any thorns present.
- Also remove the outer layer of fibrous stalk to get a tender and tasty that you can cook
- Now carefully cut the artichoke into quarters
- Always remember to put the cleaned artichokes in water acidulated to prevent blackening.
- Be careful because once cleaned can not be stored for long periods otherwise lose their beautiful color.