Chicory is often referred to as blue dandelion due to its similarity to dandelion. The plant has edible roots, leaves, and flowers. Though chicory is a close cousin of the dandelion, chicory’s flowers are more intense compared to dandelion blossoms. So, what does chicory taste like? Well, it has a bitter and spicy taste which tends to mellow when cooked.
Generally, chicory blooms during summer and continues flowering until early fall. The herb is very hardy and can be found thriving in places where flowers are least likely to occur including highway medians, gravel-filled areas and overgrown edges of fields where plants rarely make it.
Here are chicory recipes:
Chicory flowers and leaves salad
1 cup chicory leaves
1 cup chicory flowers
2-4 small beets
A medium-sized cucumber
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Process: boil, peel and chop the beets. Wash the chicory flowers and leaves as well as the cucumber, lettuce and sweet peppers as well as the watermelon radish. Chop them, toss in the beets and mix thoroughly. Enjoy your salad.
Chicory infusion, commonly known as chicory coffee has been around for years. It is an excellent drink that helps in reducing your caffeine intake and is also a highly refreshing beverage.
Basically, regular coffee consists of coffee beans, roasted, ground and brewed to make coffee. On average, a cup of coffee contains about 90 milligrams of caffeine though this can vary based on various factors. Consuming high amounts of caffeine is bad for your health as it comes with negative effects including anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, nausea, and insomnia.
On the other hand, chicory is a caffeine-free beverage which makes it an ideal coffee substitute for people intending to cut down on caffeine intake.
Up to date, no one knows exactly when people started using roasted chicory roots as a regular coffee substitute. While there are records indicating that wild chicory was being used as a coffee substitute in colonial America, it is only in France where the herb’s use was well documented during the Continental Blockade in 1808.
Though the use of chicory as a coffee substitute declined when the war ended, New Orleans did not slow down on their love for this plant. Today, you can rest assured that a café in this region will serve you a delicious chicory drink just as it did centuries ago.
To make the chicory infusion, wash the roots thoroughly and rinse well with clean water. Place in the sun to dry or pat dry with a kitchen towel. Using a sharp knife, cut the roots into cubes, lay them on a baking sheet and bake them in your oven at 350F until they turn golden brown.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. When sufficiently cooled down, put the chicory cubes into your coffee grinder and grind to the same coarseness as regular coffee. To make the brew, use the same process as you use to make coffee.
From the uses outlined above, chicory is a great culinary delight you should definitely try out.