Cichorium intybus – Common Chicory

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Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a non-native edible and medicinal plant that can be found in sunny areas. The entire plant is edible, although it can be bitter. It is beneficial to eat bitter herbs, as they assist with digestion, weight management, and blood sugar regulation.
Chicory has also been used to boost immunity and relieve stress.
Common chicory is in the dandelion family. It is closely related to endive and radicchio. In the spring, chicory leaves resemble dandelion leaves, but chicory leaves have hair on both sides. Once chicory flowers, is it easy to identify by its purple flowers with serrated tips.
Young chicory leaves can be eaten raw in the spring. Flowers can be enjoyed from July-October, when they are blooming. The roots are best foraged in the fall. The roots are high in inulin, which is a prebiotic. Roots can be roasted for a caffeine-free coffee substitute or can be added to coffee to enhance the flavor.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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