Just like any other vegetable, artichoke will have a great taste when cooked immediately you bring it home from the grocery store. But what if you have plenty and need to save some for later use? Below are methods that will help you know how best you can store artichoke and keep it fresh for long.
Artichoke keeps fresh better chilled. Wrap artichoke in a plastic bag and put it in the crisper drawer or better still stand it in a bowl of water and put in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. You can also blanch and freeze them for long term storage.
Best ways to store artichoke
- Wash artichoke only when you are ready to use it. Exposing it to excess moisture will lead to mold growth.
- Use a stainless steel knife and pot when preparing artichoke for freezing to prevent browning.
- Freeze artichoke at its peak to get the greatest flavor when thawed in the future and to stay fresh a little longer.
- Once you cut artichoke, ensure to apply lemon juice on the cut surface to prevent browning.
Artichoke needs to be refrigerated immediately if you don’t intend to cook it any sooner to retain its quality for long. Below are two easy ways that you can use to safely store artichoke in the fridge:
Refrigerating artichoke wrapped in a plastic bag
- Cut the stem about half an inch.
- Sprinkle water on the stem to keep it hydrated. Preferably, you can use a spray bottle just to ensure you don’t soak it wet.
- Wrap it in a plastic bag. This helps to trap in moisture keeping it hydrated all through.
- Put it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
If properly stored, artichoke can remain fresh in the fridge for up to 7 days
Refrigerating artichoke in a bowl of water
- Put 1 inch of water in a bowl.
- Cut off half an inch of the stalk end. The freshly exposed end enables the stalk to absorb water easily keeping the whole artichoke fresh for long.
- Stand the artichokes in the bowl containing water.
- Put the bowl in the refrigerator.
Freezing prolongs the shelflife of the artichoke by slowing down the enzymatic action that causes food spoilage over time. However, you need to blanch It first to retain its flavor and color before freezing. Properly frozen artichoke will retain its quality for up to 6-8 months.
Here,s how to go about it:
- Trim off all the green leaves so that you remain with the meaty core( heart ).
- Rinse the hearts under running water to remove any dirt.
- Trim off the top green part and the stalk.
- Soak them in lemon water to prevent it from turning brown.
- Put water in a pot, add lemon juice and bring to boil.
- Drain and put them in the boiling water. Blanching time will depend on the size of your hearts. Blanch small hearts for 5 minutes and large ones for 10 minutes.
- Put the hearts in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. It’s advisable to let them sit in the cold water for the same time they stayed in the boiling water.
- Dry them completely by placing them face down on a towel.
- Remove the choke. Although many people remove it before blanching, I find it much easier to remove it at this point. Just get a spoon and scoop off the choke.
- Flash freeze. Spread them on a baking tray in a single layer making sure they don’t touch each other and put them in the freezer until completely frozen.
- Potion them in freezer bags.
- Seal ensuring to remove all air inside to prevent freezer burns.
- Label each bag clearly to avoid over storage.
- Put them in the freezer.
How to choose a fresh artichoke
when shopping for artichoke from the grocery store, you want to pick one that stands out in terms of freshness. The fresher it is the tastier it is and the longer its shelflife if you intent to store for a couple of days.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for artichoke:
- That which feels heavy for its size.
- Tightly packed green leaves.
- When squeezed gently, the leaves squeak due to crispness.
- Some artichokes may have leaves with a purple undertone. Be keen not to pick those with brown tips.
- A freshly cut stem is a sign of freshness
How to know when artichoke is going bad
Once you store artichoke either in the fridge or the freezer, don’t just forget it there until its time to use it. It’s advisable to check it once in a while for spoilage to minimize food wastage and prevent food poisoning.
Here’s how a spoiling artichoke will look like:
- Split leaf tips
- Feels spongy when squeezed. It doesn’t give a squeaking noise due to dehydration.
- Browning leaf edges
- It will have an off smell