Reply To: Foraging 25: Plant Profiles

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Hyunsuh Kim

Common chicory (Cichorium intybus), with a cute nickname ‘blue sailors’, is a versatile plant— its leaves are a nutty and slightly bitter addition to salads, its roots are roasted and grounded as coffee substitute and flavor agent for some beer brands. The root can be eaten like parsnips, and leaves like spinach. It is commonly used in Italian and Indian cuisines. In Ligurian cuisine, wild chicory leaves are an ingredient of preboggion and in Greek cuisine of horta; in the Apulian region, wild chicory leaves are combined with fava bean puree in the traditional local dish fave e cicorie selvatiche.In Albania, the leaves are used as a spinach substitute, mainly served simmered and marinated in olive oil, or as ingredient for fillings of byrek. Inulin, an extract from chicory root, has also been used as a sweetener and source of dietary fiber.

Stem: tough, grooved, hairy. Can grow to 1.5 metres tall.
Leaves: stalked, lanceolate and unlobed
Flower: Usually lavender or light blue, rarely white or pink. Flowers from July until October.