How to remove choke from artichoke?
How do you remove the choke from an artichoke? I find this a very difficult task plus I sometimes don't get all the choke out. I have been using a serrated grapefruit spoon plus a knife but I keep hoping there is an easier way. Suggestions? Tools you use?
I use a teaspoon and scrape, scrape, scrape. If it's a larger artichoke, I'll spread the leaves enough to get my fingers in, and pinch off the choke and just a few of the delicate inner leaves as close to the heart as I can get, then use a spoon to clean it up.
@Gail, I've never been served an artichoke with the choke intact, in a restaurant, or in someone's home.
Because the choke portion is somewhat flared (bell shaped) where it meets the lower portion of the leaves it can often be very difficult to dig out the choke. It's easier if you prepare the artichoke by trimming the leaves, trimming the stem, etc. and then cut it in half vertically to expose the choke in profile. However, if you want to leave the trimmed artichoke whole (as you might if you are stuffing it) try to select very young artichokes. Select a long handled spoon with a small spoon end (preferably stainless steel) and sharpen the leading edge as you might sharpen a knife. Bend it slightly so that the tip of the spoon can reach beyond the face of the handle and into the sides of the bell shaped cavity. You could modify a serrated grapefruit spoon to a similar angle and achieve the same goal. I suspect that you could par boil the artichoke to soften and leaf structure so that the leaves could be pulled further apart without breaking off and work with the choke from that perspective but I've never tried that and, IMO, it defeats the purpose of cooking the artichoke with a stuffing.
The last few times I've prepared artichokes, I haven't bothered removing the choke. I ate it, along with the heart. These were small artichokes, tho - perhaps a tad larger than a baseball - so it's possible that this approach with a larger artichoke could be problematic.