Artichokes can be intimidating to cook due to their large size and prickly leaves. While some of its parts are considered delicacies, others are completely inedible.
In fact, most people have no idea how to eat an artichoke. This has often led people to believe that microwaving them is not possible.
So, what should one do? Leave it alone or chuck it into a pot with some water and boil it for hours?
Well, neither! It turns out you can microwave an artichoke after all.
Here’s how to cook an artichoke in the microwave
Rinse your artichoke under cold water and put it into a microwave-safe bowl. Add about two tablespoons of water to cover your artichoke halfway. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 10 minutes on high power. Let it sit for 4 minutes, then remove from microwave. Dip leaves into melted butter or sauce and serve chilly.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss how to steam artichokes in the microwave and share a few tips to help you get it right. We’ll also address some common questions about microwaving artichokes.
But first, let’s define artichokes and why they’re so popular.
So, What Exactly is an Artichoke?
First glance at an artichoke, and you’re left with more questions than answers. What is it? Is it a vegetable or a fruit? And what’s with all those thorns?
The answers are relatively simple. Artichokes are a vegetable and a part of the thistle flower that resembles an edible flower bud. And the good news is that they’re actually edible. Yes, even those pesky thorns. In fact, most parts of an artichoke are edible (the hairy choke is not).
They are native to Mediterranean climates, but they’re now grown in various parts, including North America and South Africa. Although you can eat them raw, they’re more commonly cooked by steaming, boiling, braising, sautéing, and microwaving. They have a taste often described as bittersweet or slightly nutty. Mussels are also interesting to microwave.
Artichokes are also a good source of fiber and antioxidants and contain vitamins C and K. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, they’re often recommended for those with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
The best time to buy them is between March and May when they are in season. However, if you can’t find them fresh or frozen, canned ones will do just fine.
Can You Microwave Artichokes?
The answer is yes; you can microwave artichokes. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to cook them. However, like all other cooking methods, you must be careful not to overcook, or they will become mushy and unpalatable.
The key to enjoying one of these prickly treats lies in knowing how to prepare them properly. Steaming is by far your best option, as it allows you to retain their flavor and texture while making them easier to digest.
Now, you may be wondering how microwaving fits into all of that.
You see, steaming does not have to take place over a pot of boiling water or require the use of any special equipment. In fact, it can happen right inside your microwave.
For a long time, microwaves have been viewed only as a means of reheating leftovers. Little known is their ability to steam food, making them perfect for cooking artichokes. They are also quick and easy to use, making them ideal for busy people who don’t want to spend hours cooking their food.
They do, however, have one drawback: they cook food unevenly. This is especially problematic when steaming larger foods like artichokes because you risk overcooking some parts while leaving others undercooked.
Steam your artichoke on high power for short periods to ensure even cooking. It may take a few tries to get it right, but once you do, it will be well worth it.
How Long To Cook an Artichoke in Microwave
It will take approximately 10 minutes to cook a medium artichoke in your microwave. A large one may take as long as 12 minutes. Smaller artichokes may require less time.
However, this depends on your microwave wattage, the size of your steaming bowl, and whether your artichoke is fresh or frozen.
For instance, a 1000-watt microwave will take less time than a 700-watt one. The same applies to other variables. A small bowl will heat up faster than a large one because more of its surface area is exposed to microwaves. When using a frozen artichoke, allow extra time for it to thaw before cooking.
Nevertheless, the best way to determine how long to steam an artichoke in your microwave is by checking for doneness. You want your leaves tender and easy to pull off and the stem soft enough to pierce with a fork. If not, steam in 1-minute increment until you get it right.
Tips for Cooking Artichoke in the Microwave
Once you get your hands on a fresh or frozen artichoke, you’ll need to figure out how best to cook it. Here are some tips for cooking artichokes in a microwave.
- Select a microwave-safe dish that will fit your artichoke comfortably, with plenty of room for steam to build up and cook it evenly. Avoid using glass dishes as they may crack under pressure; instead, use a ceramic bowl.
- If you’re using fresh artichokes, select ones that have tightly closed leaves and feel heavy for their size. Avoid dry or browning leaves as they will be tough and fibrous. A fresh artichoke should be green and have at least one inch of stem segment.
- Avoid microwaving frozen artichokes as they will likely result in uneven cooking and a rubbery texture. Instead, thaw them in water for at least 30 minutes or until they’re soft enough to cut easily with a knife.
- Trim off any bruised, dark or discolored leaves. Remove any tough outer layers of skin from each leaf with a paring knife. Make sure to rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt and debris accumulated on your artichoke.
- Do not cut the green part of your artichoke stem off, as it is edible and adds flavor to your dish. Instead, if the stem has a brown woody section, cut that off with a paring knife before cooking.
- After steaming, do not remove the artichoke from the microwave. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving to cook any remaining areas of your artichoke.
How to Cook Artichoke in the Microwave?
As previously stated, steaming an artichoke preserves its flavor and texture. You can, however, use your microwave if you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to a pot with a steamer basket. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:
Step 1: Prepare the Artichoke
Start by rinsing your artichoke under cold water to remove any dust or dirt that may be present on its leaves. Next, trim off any stem pieces and snip any sharp tips from the leaves.
Step 2: Place Your Artichoke in a Microwavable Bowl
Place your trimmed artichoke into a microwave-safe bowl and add about 1/2 cup of water. The water should cover about half of your artichoke. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a microwavable lid.
Step 3: Microwave Your Artichoke for 8-10 Minutes
Place your bowl of artichoke and water into your microwave and cook on high for 8-10 minutes. The steam will cook your artichoke from the inside out, making it tender and tasty.
Step 4: Let Your Artichoke Sit In Your Microwave for an Additional 3-4 Minutes
Do not remove your artichoke from the microwave immediately. After microwaving, let it sit in there for another 3-4 minutes. This will ensure that your artichoke is thoroughly cooked and tender.
Step 5: Check for Doneness
Check the progress of your artichoke by pulling on one of its leaves. It’s ready if it easily pulls out. Alternatively, you can use a knife to pierce through the stem. If you feel no resistance, it’s fully cooked.
If there is still some resistance, return it to the microwave and cook in 1-minute increments until thoroughly tender.
Step 6: Dip Your Artichoke in Your Favorite Sauce or Butter
Once your artichoke cooks, remove it from your microwave. You can serve it hot or chilled. It is entirely up to you! To eat, pull off leaves with a fork and knife (or your hands) and dip them into your favorite sauce.
How to Reheat an Artichoke in the Microwave
Even if you don’t plan on eating your artichoke right away, you should try to cook it. A cooked artichoke will last up to seven days in the refrigerator and is healthier than one left out at room temperature.
If you have a microwave, reheating an artichoke is easy. Just follow these simple steps.
- Place your leftover artichoke in a microwave-safe bowl and add about two tablespoons of water to it.
- Cover it with plastic wrap or a microwavable lid and nuke it on high in 20-second bursts until your artichoke is warm.
- Remove it from the microwave and serve with your favorite dipping sauce, such as melted butter or mayonnaise.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What benefits does artichoke have?
Nutritionists say artichokes are a good source of nutrients like folate, potassium, and magnesium.
Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels, while magnesium is essential for bone health. Folate reduces your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.
They also contain antioxidants that help protect against cell damage. Plus, they’re low in calories and fat-free.
2. Can I eat artichoke raw?
Although artichokes are popularly served cooked, you can also eat them raw.
Because high heat can destroy specific vitamins and minerals, this could be a better option for preserving those nutrients.
However, eating them raw eliminates the delicious buttery flavor associated with cooked artichokes.
3. What part of artichoke do you eat?
Artichoke’s edible parts include the base of the petals (or leaves), the heart (the artichoke heart), and the center of the stem.
The heart of each artichoke is where you’ll find most of its flavor. Although you can eat them raw, cooking them for a more tender and flavorful experience is preferable.
4. What part of the artichoke is poisonous?
Although most of parts artichokes are edible, some are poisonous. Avoid eating the fuzzy choke within and the spiky fibrous outer part of the leaves.
Simply trim off these areas before cooking or use a knife to cut them away after cooking.
5. Are artichokes inflammatory?
No, artichokes do not cause inflammation. In fact, they’re high in antioxidants, which help in digestion and reduce inflammation in the body. By fighting free radicals in your gut, they reduce symptoms like heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Free radicals contribute to oxidative stress, linked to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
6. Can you cook a whole artichoke in the microwave?
Yes, you can cook a whole artichoke in your microwave. However, you’ll have to trim the fuzzy choke and snip off some of the core leaves later. These leaves are tough to chew, and the hairy choke is poisonous.
7. What do you dip steamed artichokes in?
If you’re looking for a good dip for your steamed artichoke, we recommend balsamic mayo, melted herb butter, or garlic-infused olive oil.
All of these taste great with artichokes and are also low in calories, making them ideal accompaniments. However, simply dip in salt and pepper if you prefer to keep things simple.
It’s easy to cook your artichoke in a microwave. The secret lies in how you prepare it beforehand. Steaming is one of the best ways to cook any vegetable because it retains all of its nutrients and flavor.
While there are several methods for steaming vegetables, microwaving is one of the easiest and most convenient. In fact, you don’t even need a unique steamer basket or rack; a microwave-safe plate will do just fine.
After blanching or steaming your artichoke, a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil will add some extra flavor. You can then serve your delicacy hot or cold as part of a salad or side dish.
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