Steaming artichokes can lead to a tender final product with leaves that easily flake away from the artichoke when you pull on them. Steaming artichokes may sound complicated, especially if your home kitchen is not equipped with a steamer. The process is actually fairly simple; once you get them started, you can leave your artichokes alone until they are done. With only a couple of common kitchen tools, you can successfully steam artichokes even without a steamer.
Rinse the artichokes thoroughly, then pull off any small leaves on the stem and around the base of the artichoke. Discard these leaves. Lay the artichokes on a cutting board and cut off approximately 1/2 inch from the stem and 1 inch from the leafy end; discard the remnants, keeping only the main artichoke.
Pour about 1 inch of water into the large pot, then place your metal colander into the pot. The colander should not be low enough to actually sit in the water. If that occurs, pour some of the water out of the pot.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to keep the water at a steady, gentle simmer. Place the prepared artichokes into the metal colander in the pot, then cover the pot.
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Steam the artichokes for 20 to 25 minutes, then try to pull off one of the outer leaves from one of the artichokes. If it comes off easily, your artichokes are done. If not, replace the lid and continue steaming the artichokes. Test them every 5 minutes until they are done.
Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.