Before doing any trimming, first wash the artichoke thoroughly. Hold the artichoke under cold running water. Rinse in between the leaves without pulling on them. Turn the artichoke upside down (stem side up) and give a good shake. Dry the artichoke with a clean towel.
Using a large knife, cut off the top 1 1/2″ to 2″ of the artichoke. This is where the leaves are most tightly bunched.
At this point, the artichoke can be used for stuffing. Cut off the stem flush with the base. Cook the artichoke in boiling water for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove and scoop out the purple leaves and “hairs” that cover the artichoke heart. Note: Artichokes discolor rapidly when exposed to air. If you are not using the artichokes right away, place the uncooked artichokes in some water with lemon juice.
If you only want to use the artichoke hearts, remove all the leaves. Starting with the outermost leaves first, grasp a leaf by the top and pull downward. The leaf should snap right off. Continue until all the leaves have been removed.
This is the part you’ve worked for, but there is still a little more to do.
Use a vegetable peeler to trim the woody outer most layer of the stem. Cut off a 1/2″ from the bottom of stem.
A grapefruit spoon works well for this task. The artichoke is now ready to be sliced and cooked according to the recipe. If you are not using the artichoke right away, place them in some water with lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.