Artichokes should be heavy for their size, compact, and firm with soft green color. Shape and color will vary, depending on variety and season. During spring, artichokes will be globe-shaped; during summer and fall, artichokes will be more conical with slightly flared petals. During winter, artichokes may exhibit a white blistered or bronze appearance due to exposure to frost. This cosmetic defect does not affect quality, and in fact, enhances the nutty flavor of the artichoke.
Avoid artichokes that appear wilted, moldy, significantly discolored, or woody.