Chicory – Aromatic Vegetable for Salads and Casseroles

Chicory contains many important vitamins and minerals. The vegetables taste well fried, in a salad or in a casserole. How do you properly prepare the delicate leaves? What is important when buying?

Chicory leads a shadowy existence in the truest sense of the word: it grows in the dark, does not tolerate sunlight, and is rather unpopular with consumers in Germany. On average, they only eat 300 grams per head per year. The winter vegetable is not only healthy but it can also be prepared in many different ways because chicory tastes great both raw and cooked.

Prepare chicory

Before preparing the chicory, you should usually remove the stalk, as it often tastes very bitter. It is best to halve the vegetables and cut out the stalk in a wedge shape. However, very mild varieties are now also available for which this step can be omitted, including red chicory, for example, which has few bitter substances.

Wash the leaves and chop them into small pieces for a salad. It is best to leave them whole for cooking in the oven or in the pan. Red chicory has also been available for some time. This is a breed in which chicory was crossed with radicchio. The still rare variety is said to have a fine taste and significantly less bitter substances.

Buy chicory and store it properly

When buying, make sure that the vegetables do not have wilted outer leaves or brown spots. Always store chicory in the dark, because it changes color in the light and quickly becomes very bitter. Wrapped in a damp kitchen towel, chicory stays fresh for a week in the fridge.

Chicory: delicious as a salad, fried or gratinated

The slightly tart, nutty taste makes the vegetable a great ingredient in salads. It tastes particularly delicious with fruit, such as pears, apples, oranges, and nuts, and a honey-mustard dressing. If you like, you can add a strong cheese to the salad, such as blue mold, sheep’s or goat’s cream cheese.

Chicory also tastes great when cooked – it sometimes loses its bitter taste. For example, you can simply fry it in a pan with a little oil and then steam it with a little water or broth. Add a pinch of sugar if you like. The vegetables taste particularly delicious as a casserole, wrapped in cooked ham, poured over with béchamel sauce, and baked with cheese.

Chicory is very healthy

Incidentally, precisely because of its bitter substances, chicory is also very healthy, because it is good for digestion, metabolism, and circulation. It is rich in potassium, folic acid, and zinc, and also provides vitamins A, B, and C. In addition, 100 grams of chicory have only 16 kilocalories, but a lot of inulin. The roughage is good for the intestinal flora, keeps you full for a long time, and only allows the blood sugar level to rise very slowly.

Seasonal Vegetables: Leaf sprouts grow from turnips

Chicory is in season from October to May. Botanically, it is a cultivated form of chicory, also known as chicory. The beets (chicory roots) are harvested, prepared, and placed in crates or buckets in cold storage. The chicory sprouts will now sprout from the chicory roots in the dark. After about 24 days they are fully grown. Then they are carefully harvested, cleaned, and packed in light-protection paper.

Chicory roots used to be a coffee substitute

Ground chicory roots were once used as a coffee substitute. Even today, the powder is still contained in grain coffee. In folk medicine, an infusion of grated chicory turnips was a popular stomach remedy. The bitter substances helped with the loss of appetite and indigestion.

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