Home-canned artichoke hearts are a fun way to enjoy your artichoke harvest all year round.
Most evenings in the spring and summer, I’m in the garden and Matt’s shooting his bow. The radio plays classic rock in the background, and there are usually some cold ones on ice in the truck bed. Buttercup alternates dropping her ball off to us, hoping someone will give in, take a break, and play a little fetch.
Thwamp. His arrow hits the bullseye with undeniable precision and force. A perfect antonym for how I’m feeling about the garden at this very moment. Its magnitude has begun to overwhelm me. I’ve certainly given up on precision, and if anything has brute force, it’s the constant cucumber beetles, persistent suckers, and relentless weeds—not me. I sit on the truck bed just staring at it. I know what needs to be done, but I can’t find the motivation to start. I’ve been talking about cutting the rest of the artichokes and canning them for over a week now. I was so excited to try this recipe for home-canned artichoke hearts, but now it feels futile.
He must have been able to tell. He hung up his bow, grabbed the harvesting knife, and asked if we should cut the remaining artichokes. I follow, half-heartedly, half-bushel basket in hand, and we finish cutting the last one as the sun goes down. It’s just the momentum I need. I process and preserve every last one that night. And although it wasn’t easy, or fast, I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment in these 3 little jars. They represent an entire season of hard work.
Although it wasn’t always perfect, these artichokes were grown, harvested, and preserved with love. I can’t help but wonder if that’s what the author of this recipe meant when she said they were unlike any store-bought kind. I know I’ll never look at a jar of store-bought marinated artichokes the same, and I’m certain I’ll extra appreciate these home-canned artichoke hearts during the winter months. And that’s exactly why I do it. It’s about appreciating the work that goes into growing food; preparing food. Appreciating a helping hand when you need it most.
And it’s precisely why I garden. I often say it’s because of the superior taste and wide variety, and while that’s entirely true, it’s not the whole story. It’s also about the experience, both powerful and humbling. It’s a chaotic mess, but a beautiful one. And that’s exactly why I love it.
Home-Canned Artichoke Hearts
- 4 lemons
- 9 medium or 15 baby artichokes I used 9 medium
- 1/4 cup plus 3 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup mild olive oil or more as needed
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic root ends trimmed
- Three 1-inch strips lemon zest
- Halve and juice the lemons; reserve juice for marinade. Place the spent lemon halves in a 5-quart nonreactive (not aluminum or copper) pot; fill it with cold water.
- To trim the artichokes, pull the leaves from each one, snapping them where they naturally break. Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to peel the choke, then make a clean cut across the end of the stem, retaining the tender portion. Use a grapefruit spoon, melon baller or side of a teaspoon to scrape away the fuzzy choke, revealing the meaty part of it, then quarter the entire choke. As each choke is trimmed, drop it into the pot.
- Add 1/4 cup of salt. Bring the pot filled with artichokes and spent lemon halves to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so the water is barely bubbling. Cook, uncovered, until fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the marinade: Combine the reserved lemon juice, vinegars, oil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic cloves in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the artichokes to the sanitized jars. Tuck them in as tightly as possible without breaking or bruising.
- Whisk the marinade well and divide among the jars. If there is not enough marinade to cover, add oil as needed to leave 1/2 inch headspace at the top of each jar. Make sure 1 garlic clove, 1 strip of lemon zest and 1 teaspoon salt goes into each jar.
- Run a chopstick or flat plastic knife along the inside of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Clean the rim of each jar with distilled white vinegar to cut residual oils, place the warmed lids on and finger-tighten the rings. Process in the boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars rest in the pot for 10 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the jars to a clean, folded dish towel to cool over several hours.
- Store the water-bath-canned jars in a cool space to cure for 1 month.