Artichokes are interesting because they look kind of complicated at first glance. They probably don’t seem all that appetizing to you, but they’re actually quite tasty when you know what parts of them to eat.
Most people are going to eat the insides of the artichoke. Essentially, the artichoke heart is what people are after when they’re harvesting artichokes to use as food.
Does that mean that the rest of the artichoke is no good and you shouldn’t bother with it? Can you eat artichoke stems or would that be a terrible idea?
Keep reading to learn about whether or not artichoke stems are edible. This will give you a better overall understanding of artichokes so that you can enjoy them to the fullest.
Understanding What an Artichoke Is
Before moving forward, you might be wondering what an artichoke is. Not everyone knows where these come from even if they’ve eaten artichoke hearts in the past.
An artichoke is actually an immature flower that comes from a type of thistle plant. If you allow an artichoke to bloom as it normally would, then it’s going to be quite beautiful.
It winds up becoming a bright purple blossom that will be around six inches in length on average. Some people have compared these blossoms to sunflowers because of how big and bold they look.
They’re also well-known for attracting bees to the area. Butterflies are also quite interested in these blossoms.
Once they’ve bloomed, you’re not going to be able to eat the artichokes any longer. It isn’t any good for culinary purposes once it has bloomed, and that means that you should only allow them to bloom if you don’t want to eat them.
People Most Commonly Eat Artichoke Hearts
As you might already know, people do most commonly just eat the artichoke hearts. If you’re interested in eating artichokes, then there’s a good chance that this is what you’re looking for.
Most people don’t try to eat artichokes whole, but that can be done. You’ll learn about that next as well as how you can eat artichoke stems.
You should know that to eat artichokes the most common way, you’ll need to peel most of it away. Getting to the artichoke heart involves peeling away or trimming away the vast majority of the artichoke.
Eventually, you’ll be left with just an artichoke heart. People will usually steam artichoke hearts and serve them that way.
Since the heart is completely edible, this is the easiest way to eat artichokes. If you want to try to eat an artichoke whole, there will be work to be done first.
Eating Whole Artichokes
Eating whole artichokes is possible and you can even eat the stems so long as you trim things first. Not every part of the artichoke can be consumed and this means that you’ll need to trim and peel bits away.
You’re going to have to trim off the tips of the leaves so that you can prepare an artichoke to be eaten. Getting rid of the sharp outer portion of the leaves is necessary if you want to have a pleasant dining experience.
The only edible part of the leaves will be the meaty section toward the base of the leaves. It might be easier to just remove them entirely.
It’ll be necessary to remove the hairy choke inside of the artichoke as well. This is a choking hazard and that’s the reason why artichokes are named the way that they are.
The stem of the artichoke can be eaten so long as you peel it first. If you peel the stem, then it can wind up tasting really good, but not everyone bothers with this.
There are many people who find it more convenient to just remove the stem. Which route you want to take is up to you, but you now know that it’s possible to eat the stem once it has been peeled properly.
The best method for cooking a whole artichoke involves steaming it. You want to ensure that the artichoke stays moist and this is a good way to do that.
Other cooking methods can dry artichokes out and they don’t taste quite as good. It is possible to grill a whole artichoke if you cut it vertically, though.
You just have to be very careful not to overcook the artichoke. It won’t taste good at all when it’s overcooked and overly dry.
Is Eating an Artichoke Whole Worth Doing?
Whether or not eating an artichoke whole is worth doing will be hard to say one way or another. If you wind up really enjoying the taste of artichokes, then you might find it to be a worthwhile experience.
However, most people agree that artichoke hearts are the tastiest portion. You would likely have an easier time peeling and trimming away the rest of the artichoke to get to the heart.
If you’re just looking to enjoy artichokes, then this will be perfectly fine. Eating the rest of the artichoke is going to involve more work and you’re going to have to be careful to peel and cut away certain bits.
Some people even wind up feeling a bit confused by the process. If you do this regularly, then you’re going to understand what you’re doing and it’ll be second nature.
Those who are curious should try eating an artichoke both ways to see which way they prefer. You might wind up preferring just the artichoke hearts, but having the rest of the edible bits might be a worthwhile experience just to know how they taste.
Now you know that it is indeed possible to eat artichoke stems if you want to. You can’t eat them without peeling them first, though.
It can be a bit of a hassle to prepare an artichoke to get it ready to eat. This is why most people just peel the artichoke and trim it until only the artichoke heart is left.
Artichokes are tasty, but they don’t look like they would be at first. You have to do some work to be able to eat them no matter what.
If you’re looking to enjoy artichokes in a different way than usual, then you can try to steam a whole artichoke. Just remember to remove the bits that you need to remove or you won’t have a good time.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.