Marinated Baby Artichoke Hearts

photo

Time once again to bring out the canning jars and capture the flavours of summer!

As usual tomatoes are right on top of the list but this year while purchasing my bushels of tomatoes at a local outdoor market I inquired if the vendor might have some baby artichokes. Knowing full well that marinating artichokes is yet another one of those labours of love requiring time and patience I almost wished I had not asked.

Out came a half bushel box of baby artichokes to which I exclaimed “they’re beautiful!” The young woman looked at me a little bewildered most likely wondering just where I saw beauty in these tough looking rows of pointy petals.  What she couldn’t see was that they were actually diamonds in the rough just waiting to expose their inner beauty!  It was love at first sight for me, no question if I was going to take them home or not!

Of course one can buy already prepared marinated artichoke hearts in many grocery stores but after tasting homemade there’s no going back. Store bought artichokes seem to lack that firm bite and zing from the vinegar that are totally enjoyable in this recipe.

Although I’ve always followed the unwritten recipe I watched my mother make , this year I explored other possibilities.  Ultimately I came back to my mother’s tried and true recipe which has been passed down and enjoyed through generations.

When all was said and done, a half bushel of baby artichokes only filled sixteen 500 milliliter jars but these little gems are worth all the time and effort put into making them… it’s going to be a tasty winter!

Marinated Baby Artichoke Hearts

a1

Baby artichokes are the best size to marinade. Larger ones are better cut in halves or quarters before cooking.

a2

Peel off all tough outer leaves until reaching the tender cream coloured leaves.

a3

Cut off the tip, exposing the center of the artichoke.  Larger artichokes may have a purple coloured choke in the center which must be removed before cooking.

a4

Cut off the stem ends.

a5

While preparing the remaining artichokes, add those already cleaned into a bowl of cold water with lemon juice to prevent oxidization.

a6

Fill a pot with one part white vinegar and two parts water, size of pot depending on how many artichokes and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil then add artichokes.  Simmer until bottom of artichoke is fork tender.

a7

Drain well then add enough olive oil to coat the artichokes, minced garlic, pepper flakes and chopped fresh Italian parsley. Mix well.

a8

Place the artichokes snugly in the jars, add 2 to 3 peppercorns on top.

DSC00282

Slowly add olive oil over the artichokes until completely covered.

yesjar

Tightly screw on cap and store in a cool place.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The first addition of oil coats each artichoke and aids in dispersing the other ingredients.
  • When adding oil to the jars, add it slowly and don’t cap immediately as more oil may be needed to cover artichokes completely as it settles.
  • Mixing a little vegetable or corn oil with the olive oil prevents the olive oil from coagulating if jars are placed in colder temperatures.
  • It depends on the size of artichokes how long to cook until reaching the fork tender stage. The ones I prepared took 12 minutes. Whatever you do don’t overcook them.
  • The peppercorns are optional, my mother always put them in and I don’t ask any questions!
  • Marinated artichokes are delicious added to salads, antipasto platters or to brighten up a boring deli sandwich.
  • When the jar is all done don’t despair! The remaining marinade is a good base for a delicious salad dressing, just add a little lemon juice and shake it up.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to enjoy these Marinated Artichokes.  I let them rest in a cool place for 4 to 6 weeks before using. Make sure they’re out of sight or you may not be able to wait that long.
  • Refrigerate after opening but unopened jars will remain fresh for at least a year.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s