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Chicory - What is Chicory used for?

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Chicory

Chicory

©2009, Flickr user Robb North

Overview:

If you live in the US, you have more than likely seen this bright blue flowered, slightly scraggly looking herb. It grows in every part of the country, and has become so common that many of us don't even notice it along the roadside. Chicory deserves more respect than it is given however. One of the oldest known herbal writings from the first century even mentions it. Brought to the colonies and then naturalized throughout the country, chicory is an herb that offers a bright spot in the garden, a delicious root for roasting and making a warming beverage, a delicious green for our salads and fodder for livestock.

Latin Name:

Cichorium Intybus

Common Name:

Chicory(Belgian endive is the name given to a variety of chicory)

USDA Hardiness:

Zone 3-9

Exposure:

Full sun, average to poor soil, but can not tolerate heavy moisture

Harvest:

Leaves in early spring, flowers anytime they are fully opened, root is best in fall, but can be harvested anytime.

Uses:

The lovely thing about chicory is that you can harvest any part of the plant. The flowers are edible, for salads and freezing in ice cubes for a lovely addition to iced tea. The leaves are tasty in their smallest form-they get more bitter as they age. Use in salads and to add a bite to sandwiches. The root is really the most popular: Dig in fall, wash and slice for ease of grinding when dry. Grind as needed and steep as a hot beverage or add 1/3 chicory to 2/3 coffee. Delicious!
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