The Prep Step You Can Skip When Frying Baby Artichokes

For many home cooks, the thought of preparing artichokes can be daunting. While there's plenty of advice about how to never hurt your fingers while peeling artichokes and how to painstakingly scrape out the fuzzy choke, the process can still feel like a culinary obstacle course. However, when it comes to baby artichokes, there's one prep step you can skip altogether — removing the central choke.

Unlike their larger counterparts, most baby artichokes do not have a central choke. This means that when frying or cooking the smaller versions, there's no need to fuss over removing this inedible portion. Instead, you can focus on enjoying their tender hearts and delicate flavor without any extra hassle.

But why don't baby artichokes have central chokes? The answer lies in their size and maturity. These varieties are harvested from the lower parts of the plant before the choke has had a chance to develop fully. As a result, these smaller artichokes boast tender, edible hearts without the fibrous center that plagues larger specimens.

Large artichokes must have the core removed

There are some helpful tips you need when cooking with larger artichokes like choosing the right variety and steaming them instead of boiling them. While the outer leaves and heart of the artichoke are edible and delicious, the central choke is not. Made up of fine, hair-like fibers, the choke can be tough, difficult to chew, and unpleasant to eat, detracting from the overall dish. Stick to the smaller, younger variety as often as possible — especially when frying them whole. 

Ultimately, when it comes to cooking with baby artichokes, embrace the convenience of skipping the choke removal step. Whether you're frying crispy baby artichokes with anchovy aioli or simply pan-frying, you can rest assured knowing that these petite gems are ready to be enjoyed without any extra fuss. With their tender hearts and delicate flavor, they are a delicious addition to any meal, making them a hassle-free option for busy cooks and adventurous foodies alike.