Did you know?
All parts of chicory contain inulin, a soluble fibre that promotes gut health and can even help with weight loss.
Chicory is a good source of vitamin A, C and E, as well as calcium and iron.
How to grow
Sow seeds directly into the soil in a sunny part of the garden. Ensure they are watered well during dry spells to prevent bolting and let them develop until autumn. In November, dig up the plants and keep those with the thickest roots. Trim the green leaves back to approximately 2cm, these are edible but usually extremely bitter to taste. Replant around five plants in a 25cm pot of compost with the top of the plants exposed. Cover with a dark pot or old black plastic bag, to keep light out as this is what ‘forces’ the new white growth. Store any remaining roots horizontally in a bucket of sand in a cool shed. Every couple of weeks, pot up a few more to provide successional harvests. Check after a few weeks and you should see the white leaf buds – known as ‘chicons’ – growing from your potted up roots that you can cut off to eat.
Cut the heads off the roots whole and discard the outer, most bitter leaves.
How to store
Wrap in plastic to prevent drying. The chicons can keep for up to a week in a fridge.
For best flavour:
‘Totem’ delicious and compact ‘Witloof Zoom’ for strong taste