Fresh artichokes look intimidating, like vegetable porcupines or armadillos. But don't let that spiny exterior scare you away from trimming your way to the sweet center. Almost the entire artichoke is edible — true story. You can use your teeth to scrape meat off the outer leaves of a well-steamed artichoke.
First, know how to pick them. Fresh artichokes should feel heavy and firm for their size. Gently pull back the outer leaves, and look inside. They should be a healthy green color, and the center leaves should be fairly compact. If the leaves look dry or discolored, they're probably not very fresh.
Your recipe may call for different sizes, so make sure you get the one you need. The folks at Ocean Mist Farms have a simple way to judge what size you need. Jumbo = softball, large = baseball, medium = tennis ball and baby artichokes = golf ball.
You can trim an artichoke of any size using this method.
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