Globe Artichokes Preserved in Oil

Kate Punshon - Sunday, December 29, 2013

Capture the delicate flavour of a Mediterranean summer by preserving your own artichokes. Artichokes where known in Italy by the 15th century and the Italians perfected growing, harvesting, cooking, eating and preserving them. As a botanical and culinary curiosity, it is the unformed flower head that is eaten: not the leaves or root. Preserving artichokes is especially common in Southern Italy where the spring and summer harvest is preserved in oil and used in pasta, pizza or anti pasta platters during the winter months. Preserve your next abundant artichoke harvest with this Italian inspired recipe and discover the joy of mastering the art of preparing artichoke hearts and sharing your home preserve with friends and family.

Preparation time:  60 minutes
Cooking time:        5 minutes

Ingredient list

2 kg small globe artichokes
I litre water
500 mls white wine vinegar (plus additional vinegar for the acidulated water)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
6 garlic cloves


Some are daunted by the preparation process to unearth the artichoke heart and removing the choke hair that surrounds it. If left to flower the choke develops into a magnificent flower head full with iridescent purple filaments. The technique is simple and easily learnt. I suggest preparing the vinegar solution in advance and then preparing the artichoke hearts and this preserve is basically a three step process.

Make acidulated water
  1. Mix 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to 500 mls water.
  2. Place in a stainless steel bowl.
  3. As each artichoke heart is prepared, drop it immediately into the acidulated water to prevent discolouration.
Make vinegar solution
  1.  Place vinegar, water, bay leaves, garlic cloves and salt in a medium large saucepan.
Prepare artichoke hearts
  1. Working quickly as possible, prepare one artichoke at a time and once it has been prepared, place it immediately in the acidulated water.
  2. Remove the tough outside leaves from the artichoke until the pale green inner leaves are exposed and feel tender to touch.
  3. Remove the stem and the end of the leaves, exposing the soft heart. The hairy choke forms an outside ring around the heart.
  4. To remove the choke, insert a sharp ended teaspoon into the centre of the trimmed artichoke. Using a medium pressure, push the teaspoon against the choke and using a circular motion, scrape the spoon around the choke to remove the furry hairs. Repeat the motion again if necessary to remove all the choke hairs. If you find this technique difficult, cut the artichoke in half and remove the choke with teaspoon.
  5. Trim the base and place prepared artichoke heart immediately into the vinegar solution.


  1. Prepare the acidulated water (as outlined above).
  2. Prepare artichoke hearts as outlined above. Place each heart as it is prepared immediately into the acidulated to prevent discolouration. When all the hearts have been prepared, bring the vinegar solution to the boil.
  3. Place all the artichokes hearts in the solution and simmer for 2 – 5 minutes until the hearts are just cooked.
  4. To test if cooked.  A small vegetable knife should easily penetrate the thickest part of the artichoke. Depending upon the size, some artichokes will cook more quickly than others.
  5. Test each heart, remove individually when cooked and allow to drain and cool.
  6.  Place cooled prepared hearts into a sealable sterilised jar.
  7. Cover with good olive oil and leave for approximately 2 months before eating.
  8. Store in a cool, low light area or pantry.

Recipe Notes

  1. For additional flavour add a few peppercorns, cloves, bays leaves, oregano, red chilli cut into small pieces or cooked garlic in the jar with the artichokes and oil. If you add chilli seeds, it will be hotter. Do not store with uncooked garlic in the oil as this can cause botulism.
  2. Once globe artichokes are cut, they begin to discolour immediately. So it is important to work quickly and drop into acidulated water, once the hearts have been prepared. Some Italian recipes use a handful or plain flour in water as an alternative to the acidulated water, to prevent discolouration.
  3. These preserved artichokes will last for up to 2 years if unopened. After opening, refrigerate and use within 6 months.

Anonymous commented on 18-Oct-2014 11:47 PM
Thanks for this! My artichokes are all producing at once so I'm planning to try out your recipe tomorrow.
Kate commented on 27-Oct-2014 09:00 PM
I know what you mean, I have about 20 heads that need to be picked. For preserving, I like to pick mine when they are still small and tender. They are great to use over the summer then in salads. Happy preserving and let me know how you went.
Shelley commented on 21-Nov-2014 04:37 PM
I'm nearly through making and I see I'm out of olive oil! Could I use rice bran oil (which I substitutefor olive oil in feta recipes)?!
Kate commented on 23-Nov-2014 09:56 PM
Hi Shelley

Yes you can substitute rice bran oil for olive oil. The final flavour of the preserved artichokes will not have the same rich mediterranean flavour. The purpose of preserving in oil is remove oxygen which leads to spoilage, however during the process there will be an exchange of flavours between the oil and artichokes. The oil will take on the flavour of the artichokes and visa-versa the artichokes will take on the flavour of the oil.

After you have used the artichokes, keep the oil and use in salads or to cook with were you want a subtle taste of artichokes.
Sharon commented on 27-Nov-2014 04:30 PM
Thanks so much - these are so delicious, Kate and so easy.Cooked up a lot to preserve and also we had a couple as an entree for our dinner tonight. Enjoyed. Cheers
Kate commented on 10-Dec-2014 09:14 PM
HI Sharon
You will be able to use your home preserved artichokes over summer in mediterranean inspired salads, on pizza and in anti pasta platters. I've planted gerkins this summer & I'm looking forward to pickling them when they are small in the french cornichon style. This is still about a month away depending on the weather. Preserving an abundant harvest provides for tomorrow. Happy gardening and preserving!
Margot commented on 05-Dec-2015 02:49 PM
I often preserve artichokes but would love to know how to preserve roasted artichokes does anyone know Margot
Anonymous commented on 15-Dec-2015 09:24 PM
Hi Margot, I haven't preserved roasted artichokes, but after roasting and allowing them to cool, I would cover them with a good quality olive oil. I'd suggest roasting them slowly so they don't become too dried out and bitter. My artichoke season has finished now, so I'll have to wait until next year to try it. But please let me know how they turn out. Experimenting with food is such fun and you never know what you are going to end up with. But that in itself is part of the adventure

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