To prepare fresh artichokes for cooking, first fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of 1 lemon (this prevents them from discoloring). Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the tough outer leaves until you reach the pale green inner leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut off the stem and trim off the thorny leaf tops. If using small artichokes, gently spread the leaves and, with a paring knife or small spoon, cut or scoop out the fuzzy choke. If using medium-size artichokes, quarter them lengthwise and cut out the chokes. Drop the artichokes into the bowl of lemon water while you trim the remaining ones.
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