|This is what the chicory in my garden looks like right now.|
Two years ago I started growing chicory, that weed they put in southern coffee. You’ve probably seen it on the side of the road. It has a raggedy blue flower in the summertime. Like most weeds it has more value than you think and it is very easy to grow.
|These roots are actually a little large,
but after chopping them, only
the tops were woody.
Much like coffee, chicory will help with the morning constitutional and is a diuretic. Unlike coffee, chicory has no caffeine. Both coffee and chicory are high in antioxidants.
Supposedly adding it to coffee can help reduce the jittery after effects of drinking caffeine. This may just be because the chicory cuts the coffee, but at our house, despite strong coffee and minimal chicory (due to grub worm attack), it did actually seem to help reduce the jitters. Experiments on animals have shown it can influence heart rate.
Roasting and grinding chicory are fairly straightforward. Clean the chicory root, chop it fairly small/thin, roast it in the oven for several hours (2-3) at 300-350 degrees until it turns a nice chocolaty brown. This will depend on how large the chicory root pieces are. Roots the width of your thumb are more ideal. Larger roots (like the ones I have) can sometimes be woody in the center. Luckily, only the one on the left was woody and the rest were fine.
|Cleaned and chopped chicory root
ready for roasting..
I grew my own with seeds from the Sustainable Seed Company. You can also forage for chicory. Just look for those blue flowers in the summertime and mark that location to harvest in the fall or spring.
Chicory is easy to grow and easy to find foraging. It smells great roasting, has many healthful benefits and may just take the jitter out of your coffee (or replace it altogether, thrifty!).
Blogger mobile app and I are having a disagreement (I had to recreate this post) so hopefully I will manage to load some updated pictures with the roasted and ground chicory root later without deleting my original text.