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Food glossary

Artichoke

Artichoke

Baby

These are considered to be quite a delicacy and can be eaten whole, including the outer leaves and stalk and even the tough, hairy choke which is usually discarded. Available all year.

Uses:
Whole baby artichokes are usually served in a salad or side dish. They are often served as part of a traditional Mediterranean starter with other vegetables.

To store:
Keep in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.

To prepare:
Wash in cold water and trim the stalk and pointed leaves with scissors.

To cook:
Simmer covered, or steam for 20 minutes or until the base is tender.

Hearts

The most delicious part of the artichoke, the cooked heart, is available in oil in jars or canned in water with salt added. This convenient form of the tastiest part of the artichoke is especially popular in Italy.

Uses:
As part of an antipasti (a selection of Italian starters), sliced and added to pasta sauces, to top pizzas or added to salads. The oil from artichokes in jars can be used in cooking or salad dressings. They can be served hot or cold.

To store:
Keep the unopened jar or can in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened store artichokes in oil in the fridge and use within 1 month. Canned artichokes should be stored in the fridge, once opened and used within 5 days.

Globe

An edible variety of thistle, artichokes are beautiful to look at and make an impressive starter. The tops of the outer leaves are inedible, but once cooked the bottom part should be soft and fleshy. The flower bud (the choke), which is not eaten, is enclosed by the inner leaves which are also inedible and are discarded to reveal the most delicious part of the artichoke - the heart. Globe artichokes have a distinctively nutty flavour. Available all year.

To store:
Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To prepare:
Wash in cold water and trim the stalk and pointed leaves with scissors.

To cook:
Simmer covered, or steam for 30 minutes or until the base is tender.

To eat:
Pull off each leaf, dip in melted butter or sauce and pull through your teeth to remove the tasty pulp, discarding the rest of the leaf. Then discard the hairy choke and inner leaves in the centre and eat the prized, meaty heart at the base.

Jerusalem

Confusingly a Jerusalem artichoke is not a member of the artichoke family and has nothing to do with Jerusalem! It is actually a member of the sunflower family and the name Jerusalem is though to be derived from girasole (Italian for sunflower) The edible tubers of the plant are knobbly and segmented and can be up to 10cm long. They have a slightly nutty flavour which is especially strong when served raw. Available all year.

Uses:
They can be baked, boiled or steamed (a teaspoon of lemon juice in the cooking water, prevents them from browning) or sliced and deep-fried like chips. They can also be served in sauces or made into soups. Grated raw artichokes can be added to salads.

To store:
Keep in a cool, dark place for up to 1 week.

To prepare:
Try and avoid really misshapen artichokes - they are difficult to peel. Peel them and place in water with a little lemon juice added to avoid discolouration.

To cook:
Bake, boil or steam until just tender (the cooking time will depend on the size of the pieces).

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