Artichokes can be a little intimidating, but all you really need to get the most out of them is a little determination (and patience). The majority of the edible flower gets peeled away, but what's left is your prize. Here's how to get to the heart of the matter:
① Snap away the tough, dark outer leaves to reveal the pale yellow leaves inside. You can also use a paring knife to go around the edge of the artichokes to remove the tough outer parts.
② Using a paring knife, trim a half inch off the top of the artichoke and another half to one inch off the stem.
③ Using a vegetable peeler, peel the fibrous outer layer off the stem to smooth out the base of the artichoke.
④ Slice the artichoke in half to reveal the choke itself.
⑤ Remove the choke using a small metal spoon to gently scrape away all of the fuzzy bits (aka the big chore, which isn't actually all that hard).
TT Tip: Make a cold lemon water bath to keep your nicely trimmed artichokes from browning: Add the juice of two lemons and the four halves to one quart of cold water. Store the artichokes in this water until they're ready to use. They may still darken a bit, but the discoloration will disappear after the artichokes have been cooked.