Freezing Artichokes at Home
Freezing Artichokes at home is the most popular and most effective way of preserving the delicate flavor of artichokes. Although the flavor is not lost when frozen, it is recommended that the artichokes should be used within 8 months or so to insure the best flavor. Two options are discussed in the hopes that you will be able to use one or both. One requires only freezer boxes and no specialized equipment, while the other uses vacuum sealing to store the artichokes. This method does require a kitchen sealer, available in many small appliance centers or online. These sealers are relatively inexpensive and are useful for a variety of home preserving projects.
- Suitable Freezer Containers
- Large Pot for Blanching Artichokes
- Large Slotted Spoon
- Prepare the artichokes by trimming the leaf tips by either cutting the top 1/3 of the artichoke or by using kitchen shears to cut the tips off of the leaves and cutting into quarters lengthwise, removing the tough stems and the chokes. As each one is prepared, place the pieces into the lemon water (1 lemon to 2 quarts of water) to prevent the freshly cut surfaces from turning dark.
- Blanch the quarters by either steaming them over boiling lemon water or boiling the quarters directly in lemon water for two to five minutes, depending on how large the Artichokes are.
- Remove with the slotted spoon to the colander to drain.
- Place the warm, not hot, artichoke quarters into the freezer containers, packing snugly, trying to keep the quarters closely together to remove as many air pockets as possible, but not crushing the pieces.
- Top with lemon water and seal the freezer container.
- Label and date the container and place in the freezer.
Be careful to not place too many containers to be frozen into the
freezer at one time, as that will raise the temperature in the freezer, jeopardizing the integrity of the contents.
Remove the container from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Use by steaming for five minutes, or until tender, over boiling water or boiling directly in water. Use as required in your specific recipe.
Vacuum Sealer Method:
- Vacuum Sealer
- Suitable Sealer Bag Material
- Large Cooking Pot for Blanching
- Large Slotted Spoon
- Permanent Marker
- Prepare the artichokes as outlined above.
- The quarters can be blanched by either steaming them over boiling lemon water or boiling the quarters or halves directly in lemon water for two to five minutes, depending on how large the Artichokes are. They can also be left raw after dipping the quarters in lemon or apple cider vinegar added to water to reduce discoloration of the leaves and heart.
- Remove with the slotted spoon to the colander to drain and cool slightly.
- Prepare the vacuum sealer bag by cutting off a section large enough to contain the artichoke sections and sealing one end to form the bottom of the bag. Remember to allow 1 1/2" to 2" for the seals.
- Label the bag with the contents and the date prepared.
- Place the quarters or halves into the bag, keeping them closely bunched together to avoid air pockets and seal the loose end in the sealer. Make sure that the seal is complete. If you release the sealer and air seeps back into the bag, the seal was not successful. Reseal by trimming off the bad seal and re-inserting the open end of the bag into the sealer.