The most important thing to remember is that you need to harvest the artichoke bud before the leaves start opening. For harvesting, use a sharp knife and cut the stem at an angle around 3 inches below the artichoke. By cutting the stem at an angle, the rain water will run off and not just sit there. The first artichoke bud tends to be a little larger than the other ones and comes up in the middle. After you harvest the first one, you will get lateral or side shoots.
As for storage, I put my artichokes in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Of course, I prefer to eat them when no one is looking so I don’t have to store or share them!
If you live in an area with a mild or no winter, you can cut the plant back to ground level and mulch it so it comes back next year as a perennial. Even though I live in a cold winter area, I am going to try this next year. . .I will cut the plant back, mulch it and cover the spot with a hoop and plastic and see what happens.
Don’t forget to check out how to sow and grow artichokes.