Pickled Artichokes

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 28h 45m

Makes 2 pints

I haven't the slightest shred of hesitation in saying that these pickles are worth every bit of effort needed to make them. Without question, they are one of the best-tasting and most beautiful glass jars on the pantry shelf. The pale, creamy yellow leaves that surround each artichoke heart glisten in the oil-and-herb-vinegar pickling solution. Sometimes the faint hint of purple on the choke, the eventual flower bud, is evident, too. Since I use the artichokes from my garden, I can pick the tiniest buds, no larger than a big marble, and pickle them whole. Packed in jars, these whole buds make spots of dark green among the yellow. Seasoned with oregano, basil, bay leaves, garlic, and sometimes dried red chilies, the pickled artichokes have a rustic taste that recalls the simple antipasti of Italy's country trattorias.


  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 36 to 40 small artichokes
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 to 4 small dried red chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 cups olive oil


Combine the lemon juice and water in a non-reactive saucepan large enough to hold the trimmed artichokes eventually. Prepare the artichokes one at a time: Trim the stem end, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch of the stem intact. 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 newly 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 have more tough outer leaves and a more fully developed choke and may need to be trimmed down until only the tender heart remains. Immediately drop the trimmed artichoke into the saucepan filled with lemon water. Repeat this process until all the artichokes have been trimmed. It is no wonder that this is often a family endeavor in the Mediterranean countries—and at my house, too!

Bring the lemon water and artichokes to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon the size of the artichoke pieces. If mixed sizes are used, remove the small ones after 3 minutes.

Drain the artichoke pieces and pack them tightly into 2 clean, dry pint jars with sealable lid. Add 1 cup of the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to each jar. Cover with the lids and let stand overnight.

The next day, drain off the vinegar and discard. Pour 1 cup fresh vinegar into each jar and cover with the lids. Let the jars stand at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours.

Drain off the vinegar again and add 1 garlic clove, 2 bay leaves, and 1/4 teaspoon each of the basil and oregano and 1 or 2 chili peppers (if using) to each jar. Pour in olive oil to within 1/4 inch of the rims. Using a damp cloth, wipe the rims clean. Cover with the lids and process for 30 minutes in a hot-water bath. Remove the jars and let them cool for 12 hours or overnight. Check the lids for a complete seal. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place. The artichokes will keep for up to 1 year. Once opened, keep them refrigerated, but bring to room temperature before using. Store any jar lacking a good seal in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Serving size = 1 artichoke

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

RecID 1606

nutrition information per serving

27 calories; 1g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 77mg sodium; 4g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 1g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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