Get past the spiky tips, and you'll find that artichokes are downright delicious. Originally from the Mediterranean region, most of the artichokes we enjoy are now grown in California. Among the varieties are 'Big Heart,' 'Green Globe,' 'Imperial Star,' and baby 'Green Globes.'
In Season: The globe artichoke is considered the true artichoke. Fresh globe artichokes are available year-round, with the peak season from March through May.
What to Look For: Look for firm, heavy, medium-size artichokes. To test for freshness, squeeze the artichoke and listen for a squeaky sound. Avoid those that look dry, have split leaves, or heavy browning. Baby artichokes are too immature to have developed their prickly defenses and will contain little, if any, fibrous fuzz.
How to Store: Fresh artichokes can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to five days; wash just before cooking.