Wash six artichokes. Cut off the stems of the artichokes with a sharp knife, leaving flat bottoms that will permit the artichokes to sit upright on a plate. Rub the bottoms with lemon juice. Break off the tough leaves around the base and trim the tips of the other leaves with scissors. Rub all cut portions with lemon juice. Drop the artichokes into a mixing bowl filled with two tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice for each four cups water.
Bring eight quarts of water to a boil in a stainless-steel kettle. Add about half a cup of salt and then add the drained artichokes. Cover with cheesecloth and simmer, uncovered, for about forty minutes, or until the leaves can easily be pulled off and the bottoms are tender. Turn the artichokes upside down and drain immediately.