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How Long To Steam Artichokes, According to Julia Child

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How Long To Steam Artichokes, According to Julia Child

Come spring artichokes flood the market. This vibrant green vegetable is a delight to eat but preparing it at home can be a bit tricky for beginners. Which brings us to today's topic: do you know how long to steam artichokes?

Before steaming an artichoke the veggie must be prepped: the top should be cut off (and the stem, if you prefer), the leaves should be trimmed and the artichokes should rest in a bath of lemon water to prevent oxidizing while you finish with the rest of the bunch.

How long to steam artichokes will depend on the size of the vegetable but most recipes call for cooking them anywhere from 25 minutes to 40 minutes. The artichokes will be tender when they can be pierced with a knife.

The Trick To Steaming Artichokes

The thing about artichokes is that they discolor when exposed to air. That's why it is essential to keep them immersed in water with lemon during prep. They also have to be steamed in a pot of water and lemon juice.

How Julia Child Steamed Artichokes

Julia Child had a trick up her sleeve to prevent discoloration of artichokes

In her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking the famous American chef and author recommends steaming artichokes in a pot of boiling water infused with a bit of lemon juice and flour. This solution is called a blanc (the French word for white).

"Flour and lemon blanch the food and keep its whiteness," she wrote.

To prepare the blanc you must blend 1/4 cup of flour with a bit of water to make a paste. Then beat in a quart of water. Add 2 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.

Add the artichokes to the pot, bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Steam the artichokes for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Select the Right Pot to Steam Artichokes

Child has one final tip for steaming artichokes: "Never cook artichoke bottoms in anything but enamel, pyrex, stainless steel or earthenware. Aluminum or iron pans will give them a grayish color."

Note: For a gluten-free way to steam artichokes simply omit the flour. Just steam with water, lemon juice and salt. Ensure the artichokes are fully submerged in the water when cooking.

Still hungry?

Now that you know how long to steam artichokes, check out these tasty recipes for spring's hottest vegetable. Plus, tips on how to eat artichokes.

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