Artichokes can be prepared in a variety of ways, from baked to braised, fried, and stuffed. But this fickle food can have a short shelf-life. Here’s how to store artichokes so they stay fresh for longer.
While many consider the artichoke a vegetable, it’s actually a thistle plant that belongs to the genus Cynara. And if you’re new to artichokes, it can seem confusing how to both store and cook with them.
But storing them properly can extend the shelf life of artichokes and preserve their taste and texture.
In this article, I’ll cover:
- what an artichoke is
- how to store artichokes in the fridge
- how to store artichokes in the freezer
- artichoke storage best practices
What is an artichoke?
Artichokes are hard to mistake. With their bulb-like shape and shell of outer leaves (called bracts), they really stand out among other produce at the grocery store. Under those leaves, you’ll find the base and heart — components that make up the edible part of artichokes.
While the most common type is the French or Green Globe artichoke, they actually come in several other varieties, including the King artichoke which is a bright purple, the Chianti artichoke which is slightly sweet, and the Big Heart artichoke which, as the name suggests, has a large edible heart.
Artichoke hearts can be added to a host of dishes, from pizza to salads. Or you can simply enjoy them on their own, marinated in olive oil or stuffed with herbs and baked.
Native to the Mediterranean, artichokes are now grown in regions around the world. Some of the largest producers include California, France, Spain, and Italy.
What do artichokes taste like?
Green globe artichokes are known for their earthy, nutty flavor and firm, meaty texture. They also have a slight bitterness to them. Depending on how they’re prepared, their consistency can be crunchy (fried or raw artichokes in salads), firm (marinated in olive oil), or soft (baked or braised).
What to look for when choosing artichokes
When selecting green artichokes, there are a few things to look for to help ensure quality:
- Choose ones with bright green leaves that are tightly packed.
- Squeeze the artichoke. If you hear a squeaking sound, that’s an indication that the leaves are tightly compact and the artichoke is fresh.
- Skip any with loose leaves that are falling off or ones that appear to be browning or yellow.
- Avoid artichokes that feel soft or squishy.
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Ways to store artichokes
It’s best to store uncooked artichokes in the fridge or the freezer, rather than at room temperature. Here are step-by-step instructions for each method.
Storing artichokes in the fridge
Step 1: Clean. Wash the artichokes thoroughly under cool water.
Step 2: Trim. With a sharp knife, cut off the artichoke stem, leaving about an inch. Then add a bit of water to the ends to keep them from drying out. Remove any browning or drying artichoke leaves.
Step 3: Bag. Perforate a plastic bag with a knife or scissors then place the artichoke inside. This will allow air circulation so the artichoke doesn’t become too humid or moist.
Step 4: Seal and store. Seal the bag and place it in your fridge’s crisper drawer. Remove as much air from the bag as possible.
Step 5: Check. Be sure to inspect the artichokes frequently for spoilage. This can include off odors, browning, or an overly soft or slimy texture.
How long do artichokes last in the fridge?
Fresh uncooked artichokes that are properly refrigerated can stay good for up to one week. However, as with most produce, the sooner you consume them, the fresher and more flavorful they will be.
How to freeze artichokes
If you need to store artichokes long term, a good option is the freezer. But in order to prevent them from turning brown and spoiling, artichokes need to be cooked before freezing them. Here’s how:
Step 1: Trim. Cut off the stem and top third.
Step 2: Peel. Remove any hard outer leaves with scissors.
Step 3: Cook. Add lemon juice to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. The lemon juice will limit browning. Boil the artichokes for 7-8 minutes.
Step 4: Ice bath. Once cooked, remove from the hot water and plunge into an ice bath for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process.
Step 5: Pat dry. Make sure to dry them thoroughly with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
Step 6: Halve. Cut the artichokes in half and remove the furry “choke” center with a spoon.
Step 7: Bag. Place artichokes in a freezer safe plastic bag. This will help prevent freezer burn. You can also use a plastic airtight container to store them.
Add a date label to the bag and freeze. Artichokes can keep for 6-8 months in the freezer.
How to store cooked artichokes
If you have leftover, cooked artichokes, the best way to keep them fresh is to store them in the fridge. Let them cool completely first, then place them in an airtight container and refrigerate. Cooked artichokes can stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Artichoke storage best practices
Proper storage can help ensure your artichokes stay fresher for longer. For the best results, follow some common best practices:
- Don’t keep them at room temperature or in warm kitchen environments. That will cause them to spoil more quickly.
- Keep them out of direct sunlight.
- Make sure you store them in a ventilated container or bag in the fridge. This will prevent excessive moisture build-up. Too much moisture can soften the artichokes and also lead to possible mold growth.
- Remove any browning or wilting leaves before storage.
Once you cut into an artichoke, it will start to oxidize and brown. You can help prevent this with some lemon juice. It contains citric acid, a natural antioxidant that can keep foods from browning. Simply fill a bowl with cold water, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, then soak the artichokes for 1-2 minutes.
Yes. One of the most effective ways to revive a wilted artichoke is to soak it in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. This will rehydrate it and make it more crispy. This method works best for artichokes that are slightly wilted. More severely wilted artichokes or ones that show more advanced signs of spoilage should be discarded.
While both are part of the aster plant family, they are prepared differently and have differing flavors. Edible parts of artichokes include the heart and
the base. They usually taste earthy and nutty and have a firm texture when cooked. The edible portion of Jerusalem artichokes is found in the root. It tastes somewhat sweet and has a starchy, creamy texture similar to a potato.