One of the more common ways to prepare whole artichokes is to first cut off the stem, remove the outermost leaves and trim the sharp barbs off the ends of the remaining leaves with scissors; open the flower and spread the leaves out. Cook them in boiling water; you can add a little bit of lemon juice, salt or herbs, if desired. Simmer, covered for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on size) or until leaves pull out easily. Whole artichokes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and folate, yet many people prefer to eat just the heart. Once the heart is separated from the rest of the artichoke, you can prepare them in many ways and they add a wonderful flavor and texture to many dishes. Try adding artichoke hearts to a pizza. Separate the heart from the rest of the artichoke, slice into quarters or eighths, depending on size, then place around a pizza crust along with other vegetables, then bake and enjoy! Remember, you can also find artichokes in jars and cans.
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