Artichokes can seem pretty intimidating -- they're big, green, bulbous and prickly. If this keeps you from buying them fresh at the market, it shouldn't. We're here to show you the different ways to clean, trim and prepare artichokes for cooking -- and then we'll show you how to eat them.

The first step is learning how to clean the artichokes, which is probably the most involved part. All you have to do is remove the lower leaves, trim the spiky leaf tips with scissors, trim the stem with a knife, and you're ready to cook (see here for a detailed step-by-step guide with photos). After that, it's just about cooking them. Steaming and boiling/braising are the most typical methods -- see how it's done below. Artichokes can also be stuffed and baked, pan-fried or grilled.

Just in case you're wondering, artichokes are actually flowers in the thistle family. They've been grown in the Mediterranean region for centuries. But in the United States they've only been around since the 1800s. So, we Americans are way behind -- it's about time we catch up and eat some more artichokes.

Watch the videos below to see how to clean and prepare artichokes for steaming, how to trim them down to the heart, how to braise them, and most importantly how to eat them.

WATCH: How To Prepare Artichokes For Steaming
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