The artichoke is actually the bud of a thistle—a flower. The leaves cover a fuzzy center called the “choke”, which sits on top of a meaty core, called the “heart”.
The heart is completely edible (and amazingly delicious). The fuzzy choke is too fibrous to eat. All but the innermost leaves are tough and you have to scrape them with your teeth to eat the tender parts.
The simplest way to cook artichokes is by steaming them whole, after clipping the edges of each leaf with kitchen scissors. Steam for about 30 minutes with some lemon juice in the water. To eat, pull off the leaves, one by one, dip them into a sauce of your choosing, and then scrape the soft flesh (or “meat”) from the inside of each leaf with your teeth. Once you’ve removed all the leaves, you’ll arrive at the heart of the bud. Scrape off the hairy choke in the centre to reveal a hidden taste treasure, the completely edible heart — your reward for the work of foraging through the leaves!
Or you can remove all the leaves and the choke and just steam the heart with a little lemon. The lemon stops them from going brown.
There are lots of recipes including olive oil, soups and salads online! But this will get you started :)
Creamy tasting yet fat-fee, artichokes are a super source of fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and potassium, also known for their antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which support the health of your eyes. Considered a liver-cleanser, this diuretic veggie is known to aid digestion, strengthen gall bladder (and liver) function, and reduce overall cholesterol levels.