Before you do anything, squeeze half a lemon into a bowl of water.
Using a sharp knife, slice off the top third of the artichoke.
This will be kind of hard, and it will feel like you're failing. You're not.
Peel off the thickest outer leaves around the base.
But not too many — stop when it looks like this.
You'll also want to snip off those thorny tips. They will poke you.
Next, slice or snap off the woodiest part of the stem (like you would an asparagus).
Now rub all of the cut areas with lemon juice.
Get up in here, too.
Now it's time to take out the choke.
If you're in a hurry, just slice the whole thing in half.
Once it's halved, scoop out the choke with the end of a spoon.
It will look like this.
Now you're ready to steam the artichokes, peel off the leaves, and dip them in melted butter or aioli.
But if you're planning to braise, fry, or stew your artichokes whole, don't stop yet.
Keep your trimmed artichokes in your bowl of lemon-water until you're ready to cook them.
One option you might want to consider: Fry 'em up.
Or sauté them.
Or throw them in this springy stew.
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