Anyone who owns a pressure cooker knows what an absolute lifesaver they can be, in the kitchen. The super-heated water leads to some super-fast cooking and delicious meals faster than you can say “cooked artichokes”. This kitchen essential makes for some amazingly fast food and, even better, because the cooker acts in the same way a steamer does, you know you can create some fantastically healthy food without the fuss.
Pressure cookers can work their magic with just about anything- but where they really shine is when you’re trying to quickly cut tough, fibrous and sinewy food types. Whether that’s a braising steak or a hearty vegetable like the humble artichoke, you can be sure you’re pressure cooker will make short work of a tough task.
To those unfamiliar with this veg, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this thorny-looking ball would give you nothing but stomach upsets if you tried to eat it. Of course, you’d be wrong- but we’ll let that slide (this time). A variety of the prickly thistle, the artichoke is said to have been created by Zeus when the powerful Greek god was rejected- and, subsequently, turned into the plant.
Well, we all know he was a bit of a sore loser.
But artichokes are much more than the offspring of unrequited love. According to the USDA, they are one of the highest on their list of anti-oxidant rich foods, coming in at number 7. They’re also a fantastic source of folate, vitamins C and K, and dietary fiber, all of which make for a hearty, nutritional snack, starter or side dish to your main meal.
They also easily soak up any flavoring you’d like to add, meaning that artichokes are brilliant for chopping and changing, depending on what type of food you’re intending to serve up.
How To Prepare Your Artichoke For Cooking
The method for preparing your artichoke for your pressure cooker is much the same as most other methods. That is, you’ll need to remove the stem of the veg itself, which is a little too tough to enjoy- it also helps to keep the vegetable sit solidly in your pressure cooker, avoiding the ol’ roll-around and keeping your heat evenly spread across your food. If you’re the kind of person who likes the stem, then pop it to one side for later.
Next, you should cut about one-third off the top of your artichoke. This will allow your new favorite meal to open up and really absorb the steaming water, helping it to cook faster, as well as taking in any delicious flavorings you might want to add.
Don’t forget to discard the sharper, outer edges of the leaves since there aren’t particularly pleasant to eat and can ruin the whole experience for you. And- last but by no means least- scrape out the fuzzy part at the top of the artichoke heart which, again, isn’t hugely palatable (top tip: a melon baller is great for this part!).
Good To Know
It’s important to adjust your cooking times for the tenderness that you prefer in your veg- but also because artichokes themselves can come in a variety of sizes. While there’s no “one size fits all” timing guide for you, you can use this rough estimate:
- Small artichokes should only need 5 minutes, once the water has hit a boiling point
- Medium artichokes will need to be cooked for 10 minutes
- Large artichokes should need around 15 minutes of cooking time
It’s also a really good idea to use some lemon juice around the outside of your artichoke, which can help stop the oxidization which can happen during the steaming process. Just rub it around the top and sides, which should create enough of a barrier to stop this happening.
How To Pressure Cook Your Artichoke
First and foremost, your cooker is no good without a little water, so add about a cup to your pressure cooker. If you saved your stem earlier, now is the time to pop this in the pot, too- your stems will be cooked via the old-fashioned boiling method and don’t need to be steamed (top tip: if your artichoke is a little older, you might want to peel your stems, as they can toughen with age).
Next, you’ll need to stick your steamer basket inside- then pop your artichokes on top of this, facing upwards. Now is the best time to add some flavorings, if you have any preferred types. Garlic, lemon, and butter all seem to be favorites among readers, so feel free to mix-and-match to your own taste and even add a touch of salt, if you’re so inclined!
Once everything is added, close up your cooker and set the pot to the pressure-cooking position. Once the time is up, remove your cooker and release the steam- being careful to keep yourself safe from any burns that can occur at this point. Let the steam run itself out and then open up your pot, removing the artichokes carefully.
The best method for checking how well-cooked your vegetables are is by performing a simple taste-test. If you can easily remove one of the outer leaves of the artichoke and it freely gives you a sample of the delicious meat it holds, then your artichoke should be considered cooked. Of course, if you prefer your ‘chokes a little looser, then feel free to keep your pot running for a few minutes more, being careful not to overdo your cooking, as the result can be a heap of leaves if you’re not careful!
Serve your artichokes warm, with a dipping sauce of your preference. Popular choices include various types of mustard, olive oil, and parsley, black pepper and salt, garlic butter, cream cheese or sour cream. That’s quite the variety! Whatever your preference, we hope you enjoy your pressure cooked-artichokes and hope this guide has been helpful.