How can you tell when an artichoke is ripe?

Online Answer
A ripe artichoke will be a dusty green color. You might notice a few slight brown splotches on the leaves, but that's normal. However, you should avoid artichokes that have a purple hue, deep bruising, or brown soft spots. This usually means the artichoke is rotten and should be avoided.
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Globe artichokes become more prolific each year until, after several years, they run out of steam and the plants need to be replaced..
Preparing artichokes is quite easy though I have found that many home cooks, even accomplished ones, often overcook them, so that both the delicious tips of the leaves and the hearts are mushy. They shouldn't be. ... Some artichokes are tender after being boiled or steamed for 15 minutes.
Steaming In a large pot, heat about ½" of water. (You can add some lemon slices in the water for flavor, if you like.) Add your artichokes stem side down, and cook until tender, around 25 minutes. The leaves should release easily from the center.
Drain them upside down so water runs out. To cook in microwave, wrap each one individually in microwavable plastic wrap and set them in a round plate. Microwave for 10 minutes or until a center leaf can be pulled out easily..