Pickled artichokes

Yield: 2 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 cups Fresh lemon juice
4 cups Water
36 To 40 medium artichokes
3 Lemons, halved
4 cups Distilled white vinegar
½ teaspoon Salt
2 Garlic cloves
4 Bay leaves
½ teaspoon Dried basil
1 teaspoon Dried oregano
2 To 4 small dried red chile peppers (optional)
2 cups Olive oil

These pickles are worth every bit of the time it takes to prepare them. They're one of the best tasting and most beautiful preserves on my pantry shelf. The pale, creamy yellow leaves around the artichoke heart glisten in the oil-herb vinegar brine, and sometimes a faint hint of purple on the chokes is evident, too. Their rustic taste recalls the simple antipasti of Italy's country trattorias.

Combine the lemon juice and water in a saucepan large enough to eventually hold all the trimmed artichokes.

Prepare the artichokes, one at a time. Cut off and discard card the stem, then halve the artichoke from tip to stem end. Immediately rub the cut surface with a lemon half to prevent discoloring. Scoop out the furry choke, then gently rub the exposed surface with lemon. Cut off the outer layers of leaves, so the only leaves remaining are the tender, pale yellow ones. Older or larger artichokes will have more tough outer leaves so more will have be removed than on younger or smaller artichokes. Immediately drop trimmed artichoke into the lemon water.

Repeat process until all artichokes have been trimmed.

Cook the artichokes in the lemon water for 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon size of artichoke hearts. If mixed sizes are used, remove the small ones after 3 minutes. Drain artichoke hearts and pack them tightly into 2 clean, dry, pint canning jars with sealable lids. Add cup of vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of salt to each jar. Cover with the lids and let stand overnight.

The next day, drain off and discard the vinegar. Add 1 cup of vinegar to each jar. Let jars stand 4 to 6 hours. Drain off and discard vinegar. Add 1 garlic clove, 2 bay leaves, ¼ teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon oregano and 1 or 2 dried chiles (if desired) to each jar. Fill to within ½ inch of the rims with olive oil. Cover with the lids.

At this point, the artichokes will keep up to 1 month stored in the refrigerator. alternately, they may be processed for 30 minutes in a canning kettle using the hot water process. The sealed, canned artichoke hearts keep up to 1 year.

Makes 2 pints.

PER ARTICHOKE HALF: 35 calories, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 47 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21/93.

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; May 11 1993.

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