Artichokes are a wonderful perennial vegetable that are a great stalwart of the permaculture garden. But how to preserve artichoke hearts? With a bit of somewhat fiddly processing you can turn these thistley flowers into a fancy treat!
Artichokes are most abundant in spring, but you can get an extra flush in summer and even into autumn if you’re lucky. The part of the artichoke most commonly eaten is the immature flower bud, or heart. But it’s interesting to note that the leaf stems are also commonly used as a vegetable when peeled of their fibrous skin. But that’s a trick for another story! Read on and learn how to preserve artichoke hearts…
To prepare artichokes you will need:
A sharp paring knife and cutting board
A large bowl of water with one lemon squeezed into it
A bucket to catch trimmings – there will be a lot
A bunch of artichokes, with about 2.5cm stems still attached
How to preserve artichoke hearts:
Step one: Cut off the top of the artichokes
Cut them off about two thirds of the way up the flower bud. Discard the top. Rub the cut edge with lemon juice as artichokes oxidise very quickly and will turn a fairly unappetizing grey in no time without this.
Step two: trim back the outer petals
Pull off the tough outer petals of your artichoke bud. You want to get to the soft, immature inner petals that are a buttery yellow colour. Dunk your artichoke into the bowl of lemon water. Repeat this dunking after each of the following steps too to keep your artichokes looking pretty.
Step three: trim the stem
Trim your artichoke stems to about 2.5cm in lenght. Then peel off their tough skin with a paring knife. Dunk!
Step four: remove the choke
Cut your artichoke bud into two symmetrical halves. Using your teaspoon, scoop out the tufty “choke” in the centre (these are the immature seeds).
Your artichokes are now ready and prepped for preserving! Simmer them for 20 minutes in a large pot of water. You can then cover them in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and herbs and keep in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. For a longer shelf life try pickling them in vinegar or preserving in a pressure canner.