Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shopping for Artichokes

When shopping for artichokes, there are some basic tips to remember to ensure their freshness and quality. As a consumer, you must be willing to invest a few extra minutes to better assist you in your selection process. Also be familiar with size categories. Here are some correlations to help judge sizes:

  • Jumbo = Softball

  • Large = Baseball

  • Medium = Tennis Ball

  • Baby = Golf Ball

Pick up the Artichokes and feel the weight. You’re searching for those that feel the heaviest and firmest. Now examine the exterior. You’re looking for Globes that have a healthy green color, compact center leaves and an overall look of freshness (not dehydrated). During the winter months (December to February), if you see Artichokes with a blotchy colored or white-blistered exterior appearance, be sure to try one. The appearance of these Artichokes is the result of exposure to colder temperatures and frost. Connoisseurs believe these “Frost-Kissed” Artichokes are more tender and have a flavorful, nutty zest. (reference:

Keep in mind that fresh artichokes should squeak when gently squeezed. If they do not squeak, they most likely are not fresh. Here are some videos on selecting artichokes. Check in tomorrow and we will give tips on preparing and cooking artichokes.

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