General Preparation of Artichokes:
Before you begin to work, squeeze a lemon into a bowl of water large enough to hold all the artichokes. Set this next to your work area. The acidulated water is to prevent the artichokes from oxidizing. They blacken very quickly. Slice a second lemon in half and have ready.
Cut the stem off evenly. The objective is to have an artichoke that will sit upright. Rub a lemon half over the cut.
Starting at the base, snap off the heavy dark green leaves. Snap, snap, snap until you see a cone of pale golden leaves under the heavy dark ones. These are the edible leaves. After snapping, there will still be small bits of the leaves at the base.
With a serrated knife, cut off the tops of the artichoke. (These may have prickly points.) Rub cut area with a lemon half.
With a paring knife trim the base of the artichoke. The intention here is to remove the residue of the leaves you snapped off. In the markets of Rome, experienced hands twirl the artichokes as they pare. Rub with lemon.
To remove the choke from artichoke:
Turn artichoke upside down and lightly push open the leaves. Once they are slightly opened, you can pull the leaves apart with your fingers. There, deep on the inside is the choke. Scrape away all the strands of the choke. We have been successful using a grapefruit spoon or a grapefruit knife. If you are using a recipe that calls for sliced artichokes, now is the time to slice. It is easier to remove the choke when the artichoke is not whole.
Plop the artichoke in the acidulated water while you proceed to clean the others. Keep them in their lemon bath until you are ready to cook.