Chicory Greens: A Delicious and Nutritious Addition to Your Diet
If you’re looking for a new way to add a boost of nutrients, color, and flavor to your meals, chicory greens may be just the ticket. This leafy green plant is a common ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, but it can also be enjoyed as a side dish or a salad by itself.
So, what exactly is chicory? It’s a bushy, leafy green that grows up to three feet tall, and its broad, slightly serrated leaves are a deep green color. Most varieties of chicory are perennial plants, meaning they come back year after year. Another fun fact: chicory was first cultivated as a medicinal herb. Its roots have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including jaundice and digestive issues.
When it comes to nutrition, chicory greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including:
• Vitamin C: Chicory greens are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing about 20% of your daily value in a single serving. This vitamin helps keep your immune system strong and combats free radicals, making it an important antioxidant to include in your diet.
• Vitamin K: This vitamin helps your body form healthy blood clots, which are vital for your overall health and wellbeing. Just one cup of chicory greens contains over 80% of your daily value of vitamin K.
• Iron: Chicory greens are also a great source of iron, with one cup giving you 8% of your daily needs. Iron plays an important role in energy production and is also essential for carrying oxygen throughout your body.
• Calcium: Lastly, chicory provides a good amount of calcium. This mineral is essential for healthy bones and teeth, and one cup of chicory greens contains 10% of your daily needs.
As you can see, there’s plenty of awesome stuff in these delicious greens. But how do you eat them? One of the simplest ways is to use chicory greens as a salad base. For example, you could make a quick and tasty dish by combining some cooked meats or seafood, some tomatoes, and some cucumbers. Dress it with a simple vinaigrette, and voila! The crunch of the chicory and the freshness of all the ingredients will be sure to tantalize your taste buds. If you’re up for something a bit bolder, why not try pairing chicory greens with a rich, garlicky sauce? Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try sautéing the greens with olive oil and adding some chili flakes or freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
As much as these delicious greens help you get the nutrition you need, they’re also great for the environment. Chicory is an easy-to-grow plant that’s naturally resistant to pests and disease, and since it doesn’t require any special treatment, it’s a wonderful way to minimize your carbon footprint and help the planet. What’s more, it doesn’t require a lot of water to grow and can be cultivated without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
So if you’ve been looking for a way to add some nutrition-rich greens and delicious flavors to your meals, look no further than chicory greens. Whether you’re using them in salads, as a side dish, or as an ingredient in a flavorful dish, these scrumptious greens will be sure to give you plenty of nutrients and satisfaction. Try them today and enjoy the flavor and benefits of these delightful greens!
Chicory greens are a nutritious, crunchy addition to any meal, from salads and slaws to wraps and sandwiches. But, have you ever stopped to wonder how these flavorful greens make their way from the farm to your dinner plate? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the journey of chicory greens and explore the science behind the growth and harvest of this crunchy powerhouse.
What is Chicory?
Chicory is a low-growing perennial herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to various parts of Europe and Asia and is cultivated in fields or gardens all over the world. Commonly referred to as “endive,” chicory has a mild and slightly bitter flavor that becomes more pronounced as it matures.
Chicory plants produce a cluster of tall, blue flowers in the summer and early fall, but the part of the plant that we actually eat is the leaves. The leaves grow in a rosette around the plant’s stem and can be green or reddish in color, depending on the variety.
Chicory leaves are full of essential vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A and vitamin K, which help to maintain healthy vision and aid in blood clotting, respectively. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and various antioxidants, which are beneficial for reducing inflammation and protecting cell health.
Growing and Harvesting Chicory Greens
Chicory greens are generally started from several types of seeds, including chicory root, French dandelion, and broad-leafed endive. The seeds are best sown in rich soil during mid-spring or early summer. Before they can be grown, however, the seeds must first go through a process known as stratification. This means that they must be exposed to cold temperatures prior to being planted. This helps to break down the seed’s hard outer coating and allows it to easily absorb water.
Once planted, chicory greens need very little care throughout the growing season. As the days get longer, the plants will form a rosette-like shape and will be ready for harvest when the leaves turn a deep green color and are just beginning to bolt (or flower).
Chicory greens can be harvested by hand by simply cutting each leaf off the stem with a pair of garden scissors. Alternatively, the entire plant can be pulled out of the soil with the help of a spade or hoe. When harvesting chicory greens, it is important to do so when the leaves are still young, as this will ensure that the flavor is milder and more palatable.
Harvesting Chicory Greens at the Right Time
The timing of chicory green harvest is critical in order to ensure the best quality and flavor. Because chicory greens are a cool weather crop, they should be planted in early spring or late summer and harvested before the summer months arrive. Chicory greens are generally harvested between late May and mid-July, depending on the variety and the region’s climate.
It is important to note that chicory greens should not be harvested when the plant is flowering. As chicory matures and starts to bolt, the leaves will become tougher and more bitter. Therefore, it is best to harvest when the leaves are still young and tender. To maximize the flavor of chicory greens, it is recommended to harvest them early in the morning after the dew has dried.
Processing Chicory Greens
Once chicory greens have been harvested, they must be processed in order to be made ready for consumption. This involves washing and trimming the leaves, both of which help to remove harmful bacteria and dirt. All leaves should be individually pulled off the stem and any damaged or discolored ones should be discarded.
After washing and trimming the leaves, they must be dried in order to extend their shelf life. Chicory greens can be air-dried or dehydrated using a dehydrator machine. Air-drying is the most popular method as it helps to maintain the flavor and nutrient content of the leaves. Once dried, the leaves can be stored in an airtight container until they are ready to be used.
Traveling from Farm to Table
At this point, chicory greens are ready to make the journey from farm to table. Depending on where you live, chicory greens may be available at local farmers markets, grocery stores, or specialty shops. Many chefs and restaurateurs also offer them on their menus.
For those who grow their own chicory greens, the journey to the dinner plate can be a bit more laborious. Freshly picked chicory greens must be carefully wrapped for protection and stored at a temperature that is just below freezing. If properly stored, chicory greens can last for up to a week before they must be consumed or processed for longer storage.
The Final Product: Delicious and Nutritious
Chicory greens are a crunchy and delicious addition to any meal. When served fresh, they can be added to salads, sandwiches, and wraps to add crunch or used as a base for soups and stews. In the kitchen, chicory greens can be steamed, blanched, or sautéed to reduce their bitter flavor. They can also be cooked in casseroles or tossed with pasta for a more flavorful dish.
Garden-to-table dining isn’t just a trend – it’s incredibly nutritious too! Along with being low in calories, chicory greens are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also sodium and cholesterol-free and can help to lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. Whether you grow them in your garden or pick them up at the store, you can be sure that adding chicory greens to your plate will up the nutrition and flavor.
|Vitamin A||0.286 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.00226 grams|
|Vitamin K||0.2976 mg|
|Vitamin C||0.024 grams|
|Vitamin B1||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.5 mg|
|Vitamin B4||0.0128 grams|
|Vitamin B5||0.00116 grams|
|Vitamin B6||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin B9||0.11 mg|
Daily Value 1.3 g
Daily Value 0.018 g
Daily Value 0.4 g
Daily Value 1.25 g
Daily Value 4.7 g
Daily Value 2.3 g
Daily Value 0.011 g
Daily Value 0.9 mg
Daily Value 0.0023 g
Daily Value 0.055 mg
|Total Sugars||0.131141 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||0.06 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||0.06 g|
|Oleic acid (18:1)||0.01 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||0.01 g|
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||0.02 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||0.11 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||0.13 g|