Artichokes are delicious vegetables and many people enjoy them, but it can be difficult to tell when they have gone off. That may lead to you buying artichokes that have already started to go bad, which can lead to disappointment and wastage.
You can usually tell if an artichoke will be brown inside by looking at the state of the outer leaves. In general, if the outside leaves are fresh, firm, and green, it will be okay inside. A small amount of browning inside the vegetable can be safely ignored, and it can still be eaten.
It’s important to know how to tell when an artichoke has gone past its best, so in this article, we’re going to explore the top signs that an artichoke has gone bad, and how you can tell if it’s still okay to eat.
How Do You Know If An Artichoke Is Fresh?
You can tell if an artichoke is still fresh by looking at the outer leaves. This isn’t guaranteed to tell you everything, but it should give a fairly clear idea of how fresh the vegetable is. If the artichoke’s leaves are firm and plump, the artichoke will generally be green and fresh inside. If the leaves have begun to shrivel up or turn yellow, the vegetable will be turning bad.
When choosing your artichokes from the supermarket, you should look out for artichokes that:
- Have a pleasant, fresh smell
- Have leaves that are firmly attached to the vegetable and don’t come loose when you touch them
- Have a fresh appearance with no shriveling or shrinkage
- Have leaves that are whole and not splitting at the tops
- Are bright green in appearance
- Do not have a hole at the top where the leaves join
- Are heavy, because this indicates that they are full of moisture
If your artichoke does not have any of these signs but instead is shriveled, light, and browning, there is a high chance that the fruit has gone bad and will need to be thrown away. Don’t buy artichokes that don’t meet at least some of the above criteria.
What Should I Do If My Artichoke Has Gone Brown Inside?
If you start to cook and eat an artichoke and you discover that the inside has gone brown, you should pause and inspect it more closely. If the browning is minor and mostly located in one spot, you may want to simply pull those leaves off and discard them, and eat the rest. A few tiny brown flecks can just be ignored, and the leaf can be eaten.
However, if large parts of the artichoke have started to turn brown, you will probably find that it doesn’t taste very good or have a good texture anymore. If this happens, you should stop and smell the vegetable carefully.
If the vegetable smells sour, or if it has otherwise turned slimy or unpleasant inside, it needs to be discarded, rather than eaten. These are sure signs that bacteria have started to develop inside the tissues, and these could make you sick if you consume them. You should therefore get rid of the artichoke.
It can be hard to tell in advance whether an artichoke will be brown inside because you don’t generally cut these vegetables up before cooking them. However, if you cook an artichoke and find it has gone brown, it’s often best to throw it away.
How Do You Keep An Artichoke Fresh?
The best way to keep an artichoke from going brown inside once you have bought it is to store it correctly. You should leave it unwashed, and place it in the fridge in an airtight container. It should keep for up to a week like this. However, the sooner you cook it, the better it will taste, so try to use it while it is as fresh as possible.
If you don’t use an artichoke up quickly, you will find that it shrivels up and loses its flavor. Even if it hasn’t gone brown inside, it may not taste very nice anymore, although it should still be safe to eat.
Don’t store artichokes on your counter or in a cupboard, as they will very quickly go dry and start to turn bad.
How Do You Know If An Artichoke Is Safe To Eat?
If you aren’t sure about an artichoke, the best way to test whether it is okay is to cook it and then smell it. If the vegetable smells sour or musty, you need to throw it away, rather than eat it.
If you still aren’t sure, pull off a leaf and test the texture. It should be firm and damp, but not slimy. Sliminess indicates that the cells inside the leaves have started to break down. You should therefore discard the artichoke.
You should also make sure that you are not eating any brown areas that have white or blue patches growing on them, as this is mold and indicates that the artichoke is not safe to eat. Get rid of any artichokes that show signs of turning moldy.
What Causes An Artichoke To Turn Brown?
A few different things can cause artichokes to turn brown, but the most common explanation is that the vegetable has been bruised during transit. This happens frequently, although artichokes are relatively tough, and a little bruising shouldn’t be a problem.
Sometimes, brownness indicates that the artichoke has gone off, and shouldn’t be eaten. However, this is usually accompanied by a bad smell and other signs of decay, so on its own, browning isn’t usually too much of an issue. The brown spots may not taste good, however, so you might prefer not to eat them.
If your artichoke has gone a little brown inside, you should still be safe to eat it in most cases. However, you should check that the artichoke still smells okay, and take note of any sliminess or signs of mold forming. If you are unsure about an artichoke, it is generally better not to consume it.