Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cheerful Chickory

Never eat any plant you have not have had expertly identified. Please seek out a local expert before foraging any wild plants! Never forage in areas that may have been poisoned or sprayed. 

Earlier I posted an article on Using Delicious Dandelions and am going to continue with an article on using chicory. Like Dandelions, chicory is a food plant that is now considered a "weed" in the USA. Before it flowers it looks and tastes much Like a dandelion. It has saw tooth leaves and tastes much like endive or escarole. What most people are more likely familiar with is the use of roasted roots as a coffee amendment or substitute. In Cajun and French Cookery Chicory Coffee is perfect for dipping pastries! The beautiful blue blossoms are great in salads and teas.

Fresh Uses:

1) Fresh Chicory leaves chopped in salads like Endive.
2) Use Fresh chicory blossoms  in salads.
3) Steep chopped leaves and/or blossoms in hot water for an herbal tea.
Cooked Uses:

1) Make fried greens with onions and garlic. Simply substitute it for spinach or collards in any fried greens recipe.
2) Add to soups and stews that call for greens like escarole.

Dried Root:

Wash and dry the roots.

You can dry the root in a 200 Degree F oven and then grind. Use in any coffee maker with coffee for a more healthy coffee beverage, or use alone as pure chicory coffee.

The health benefits of  Chicory are many. Its supports digestion and gall bladder function.. Some herbal sites say it also helps detoxify your liver from all the pollutants were are exposed to daily. It may also have an anti-bacterial effect on "stomach bugs," but this is just recently researched. So don't dig that chicory up. Eat it!