How To: Trim Baby Artichokes 1. Peel the outside layer off the stem with a paring knife, working from the end of the stem toward the bulb. 2. Snap off the tough outer leaves of the artichoke until only pale yellow-green leaves remain. 3. Cut 1 inch off the top of the leaves. Halve the artichokes lengthwise and soak in lemon water until ready to cook.