Chicory is a perennial herbaceous plant. It belongs to the dandelion family of plants. This plant has a very pleasing flower with eye-catching bright blue color. The flower also comes in pink or white color sometimes. However, its occurrence is rare. Chicory has different varieties. Some types of them are also only cultivated to be used in salad. All parts of this plant, including its roots, leaves, and seeds, are used for different purposes.
It does not have caffeine in it. That’s why Chicory is usually used to substitute coffee by the people who avoid caffeine. Moreover, in some places, people also refer to it as the New Orleans coffee. Moreover, along with cooking and drinking, Chicory also has a medical influence. It is great for curing various diseases. Chicory works wonders on the liver, heart, constipation, and swelling, etc. It provides a natural and healthy way of treating patients. In ancient times, it was widely used by people. The plant of Chicory is mostly found in countries like the United States and Canada. You will find a large population of these plants there. Most of the world’s Chicory exports from these countries.
What does Chicory Look Like?
Chicory has different branches. It has scraggly looks. You will normally find it in gravel areas and open fields. The flowers of the Chicory plant are around 2 cm to 4 cm. The flowers have a wide appearance with light blue color. These flowers last from July to October. Moreover, the leaves of Chicory look like dandelions. These are spaced alternatively. The upper portion of the stem contains smaller leaves than the other.
Where does Chicory Come From?
Chicory comes from its plant, botanically known as the Cichorium Intybus. This plant grows about 90 cm to 180 cm. It is usually found in roadsides, parking lots, grassy areas, weedy fields, and open areas. The Chicory plant also contains two different rows of involucral bracts. These are called inner and outer rows. The inner rows are erect with comparatively longer sizes. While the outer rows have a higher tendency to spread and are comparatively shorter than the outer ones. The edible parts of this plant are roots, leaves, and flowers. However, most people prefer not to eat the flower.
How is Chicory Made?
Search for a suitable area and start planting the flower. While you flower Chicory, you will notice grooved, less hairy, and tough stems. These stems can grow around 4 ft. and 11 inches tall. Once the plants grow, flowers bloom, and leaves reach around 12 inches to 18 inches in height; the Chicory gets ready for harvesting. Then, you should gently start pulling the plant from the soil, including its roots. Once done, start chopping off its roots. However, make sure to keep leaves undamaged. Now the Chicory is ready for use.
What Does Chicory Taste Like?
Chicory has a bit different taste. The flavor of the ground roots of Chicory resembles ground coffee beans. It has a very intense taste. It is warm, earthy, nutty, and woody. Moreover, people also use its leaves. However, its leaves are very bitter. That’s why most people do not eat its leaves in raw form.
How is Chicory Used in Cooking?
People often use Chicory leaves for cooking, while its roots are often used for making coffee and teas, etc. As stated above, its leaves have a bitter taste. That’s why it is not a good idea to use its raw form and add it to the recipe at the end. Instead, you should cook Chicory leaves and reduce their bitterness and add more flavor to the dish.
What Types of Cuisines Use Chicory?
Chicory is used in a wide range of cuisines all over the world. For example, they are used to make bread, ice creams, salads, cookies, cakes, etc. Some good dishes include Chicory steak salad and king cake bread pudding.
What is a Chicory Substitute?
You can find a lot of substitutes for Chicory. Few well-known substitutes of Chicory are kale, watercress, and radicchio. If you are using it as a drink, then coffee makes the best substitute for its roots.
Where to Buy Chicory?
You can search around the market to find Chicory. However, the best way to buy high-quality Chicory is using online platforms. That’s why we are suggesting some best products for you. These products are listed below.
- Chicory Root Roasted Granules, 1 Pound, Chicory Coffee (Inulin, Prebiotic Dietary Fiber) Rich Flavor, Caffeine Free, Natural Tea, and Coffee Substitute, Keto, Kosher
- Anthony’s Organic Roasted Chicory Root Granules, 1 lb, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Caffeine Free, Keto Friendly
- Worldwide Botanicals French Chicory Root