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Chicory

 
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I recently discovered this plant and am so excited about it! I heard its best to harvest the roots before it flowers.... Is this true? If so.... How do you identify it without the cute little flowers? It looks just like a dandelion to me.
 
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Yeah, looks like dandelion to me. I have to say, i was just staring at a bunch of plants this afternoon, thinking "Hey, these look just like dandelions but i know they're not"... So are there any other dandelion-lookalikes?
 
pollinator
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laura Iverson wrote: How do you identify it without the cute little flowers?



You remember where it was from last season. If you don't dig up the root, being a perennial it will come back. I have several different varieties that I have naturalized in my back yard, and if I cut it back at ground level (or the rabbits in the neighborhood nibble it to the ground), it will pop back in time.


It looks just like a dandelion to me.



Look a little closer. Or taste a leaf. Once you have gotten used to the texture of the leaf and how the bitter aftertaste develops, those are pretty distinctive signs you are nibbling on chicory. A little bit goes a long way for me. Most of the chicory I have, I let grow as forage. All critters seem to like the taste of chicory.
 
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Mr. John Elliott, I would like to buy chicory roots so I can plant belgian endivesfor my family.
 
master pollinator
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If you click on John's name, you will find a spot where you can send him a private message. I have stumbled across things in old threads of my own, to find that people have left me a message. But, unless I go there for some reason, I don't see it. One was 4 years old.
 
gardener
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You can buy chicory seeds to plant in your garden. It is related to dandelion but a different plant.

John S
PDX OR
 
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The plant has bright purple flowers and commonly grows in disturbed areas all over the US. The seeds can be harvested from the flower heads in Mid-late Fall where I live in Southwest Ohio. Below are some images from Wikipedia of the flowers. You can't really miss them when they bloom.
819A0812-F4A2-49E9-A8DC-89CC2A7CC826.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 819A0812-F4A2-49E9-A8DC-89CC2A7CC826.jpeg]
Cichorium imtybus
7ECB2A83-7483-4DDE-9641-5811876AECCB.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 7ECB2A83-7483-4DDE-9641-5811876AECCB.jpeg]
Chickory flower
 
John Suavecito
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I see them in lawns and disturbed areas.  Hard to notice out of the blooming period, though.
John S
PDX OR
 
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I planted some,  because my son loves the flowers,  and he was interested enough to research them.
I'm not sure how one could eat the greens, I found one unchewed bite bitter enough to give me an instant headache!
Apparently you can grow them in the dark(blanching?) and then they taste great, but I can't imagine going to the effort.
The pet bunnies like it just fine as is.
 
pollinator
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On a previous homestead I bought chicory seed and planted it in a 9 acre pasture. It has a good protein profile. My sheep loved it.

Chicory doesn’t grow on our current homestead, so on my very long ToDo list is to plant chicory. It is an excellent forage plant!
 
pollinator
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This is a good time to check sporting goods places, it is sold for deer hunters, and once the deer season is over, the seeds generally get discounted. Otherwise it can be really expensive to plant much of it.

On my place, chicory is the main "driller" doing well. And I did have to plant it. I haven't found it palatable or worth growing for my consumption. It is very popular with deer and other wild animals as mentioned.
 
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It is the root which is useful food.

The leaves are very bitter. This is the plant from which many salad greens were domesticated---endive, escarole, radicchio, etc., some of them called in French chicorée. All of those greens are bitter.
 
pollinator
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Until very recently I knew this plant as "cornflower," it was ever-present on the side of the road where I grew up (NE USA). Now I learned that cornflower is a totally different thing (still a blue flower, though
).
 
Ryan M Miller
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William Bronson wrote:I planted some,  because my son loves the flowers,  and he was interested enough to research them.
I'm not sure how one could eat the greens, I found one unchewed bite bitter enough to give me an instant headache!
Apparently you can grow them in the dark(blanching?) and then they taste great, but I can't imagine going to the effort.
The pet bunnies like it just fine as is.



After the plants have grown a year, dig up the roots in late fall before the ground completely freezes. Cut off any remaining leaves one inch from the taproot. Bury the roots packed together in damp sand with the plant heads facing up in a dark place. The basement or an unused closet will work. Here are some links better explaining the process. I've never tried the process myself, but I plan to do it this year. The young, tender greens can also be eaten in early spring before the plant begins to bolt to seed:

https://www.growveg.com/guides/how-to-force-chicory-for-perfect-chicons/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpHnbWFmvQo

 
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We eat the greens every spring...just a few, in a salad or nibbled in the garden while they are young.
It's good for digestion to eat a bit of something bitter before a meal.

Maybe an acquired taste?

Best eaten raw and very young small leaves although I eat a little almost year round.  



 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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