Chicory and endive are the names of the same vegetable from around the world.  Just like its names, types of Chicory are available for consumption.

All parts of the Chicory plant can be consumed in some form or the other.  The leaves are usually used in salads, the buds are blanched, and the roots are used as a substitute for coffee after being dried and ground.

Apart from the above – mentioned names there are a few other common names of chicory-like blue dandelion, blue daisy, blueweed, bunk, hennibeh, cornflour and wild bachelor’s button to name some.

The plant produces beautiful blue blooms.  It is also known for the various benefits it offers to us which will be mentioned in the next section.

 

Types of Chicory

For now, various types of Chicory have been mentioned in detail, but before that, it is important for one to understand that there are two types of witloof:

(A) The Leaf One or the Salad Chicory.

(B) The Root One

 

These have been discussed below:

(A) Types of The Salad Chicory

The crinkled leaves of Chicory are often used as salads and are further categorized into five different categories:

1) Radicchio

A beautiful and pleasing eye set of leaves of magenta color which resembles a cabbage. It has a bitter and spicy taste which mellows down on either grilling or roasting. It usually is used to add zest and color to various salads.

The various types of radicchio are:

  • Chioggia Radicchio and Verona

 

2) Sugarloaf

Sugarloaf is similar in appearance to cos lettuce and has leaves that are tightly packed. This is one of the popular heading varieties of chicory. It has a firm yellowish green head. Its flavor is nutty yet bitter.

 

3) Large-leafed Chicory

The leaves of his chicory can grow up to 2 feet long and are kept together by a short stalk without any head. It is one of the most bitter varieties of chicory but, is beneficial in digestion and even has positive effects on your blood vessels.

 

4) Belgian Endive or Witloof

Witloof in Greek means white leaf, and that is why this name has been assigned to Belgian endive. They are grown in the dark to prevent the formation of chlorophyll so that white or creamy yellow color is maintained.

This root has a small head which has beautiful but bitter crème colored leaves. It is often sold wrapped in paper to protect it from sunlight which destructs its delicate flavor and structure. It smooth, creamy leaves are consumed in all possible forms like stuffed, cooked, fried, sautéed, boiled, raw and even baked.

Since they are grown forcefully thus, they are available all through the year.

 

4) Treviso Radicchio

This variety of chicory is very similar to that of Chioggia but is sweeter than it. It has a beautiful maroon feather like designing and has loose leaf ends with long leaves. It can be consumed raw in salads or grilled.

 

5) Curly Endive

It looks like the untended mane of Lion but green in color. Its shelf life is shorter than all the other varieties of chicory. It is also known as Frisee.

 

6) Escarole

Have you heard of the Boston lettuce, this looks the same but with a much more assertive flavor to it. Escarole is crunchy, green and mildly bitter. It is usually used to balance the sour and sweet flavors and is best served as torn pieces in salads and even grilled at times.

 

7) Speckled Radicchio

 This is cross between escarole and radicchio. Its delicate leaves have a mild flavor which makes them a perfect addition to your salads.

 

8) Catalogna Di Galatina

A native of Italy this Chicory has uniquely crunchy shoots that grow from inside the plant which is rather tasty to consume.

 

9) Castel Franco

This mild tasting Chicory is tender with crème or yellowish leaves and has dark speckles all over it.

 

10) Rossa Di Treviso

A native of Italy, this chicory has thick green leaves that are crispy to eat. It is red and veined with shades of white when the conditions around are cooler.

They have a unique color and an elongated shape which makes it easy to be recognized among other varieties.

 

11) Red Belgian Endive

It has a beautiful red color which changes to grayish purple when cooked. It can also be noted that these are small, forced Radicchios. It tastes delicious when cooked and is best consumed raw.

 

12) Grumolo Verde

The leaves of this chicory are really hard and cold. They are usually rounded.

 

13) Soncino

This is also a native of Italy with really big white roots which are extremely healthy too.

 

(B) Types of Root Chicory

This variety was earlier produced only as animal fodder, but now it is dried and grounded to form a type of coffee called the ersatz coffee.

1) Brussels Witloof

This variety of Chicory usually is grown for its roots only.

 

Further Chicory comes in various varieties like these:

  • Broad – Leaved Batavian
  • Green Curled Ruffec
  • Green Curled
  • Ione
  • Limnos
  • Scarola Verde
  • En Cornet de Bordeaux
  • Riccia Pancalieri
  • Salad King
  • Sanda
  • Large Rooted Magdeburg
  • Très Fine Maraichère
  • Wallone Freisée Weschelkopf
  • Palla Rossa Zorzi Precoce
  • Radice Amare
  • Witloof Zoom
  • Verona

 

Health Benefits of Chicory

The benefits of consuming Chicory are:

1) It aids digestion.

2) It has been used in traditional medicine to treat arthritis.

3) It can be used as an anti-inflammatory to cure aches, muscle pains, and even sore joints.

4) Chicory contains Inulin which helps in lowering LDL cholesterol which further improves your cardiovascular health.

5) It is one of the most potent immunity boosters.

6) It has various antioxidants which prevent the growth of free radicals saving us from some chronic diseases including cancer and various heart illnesses.

7) Chicory root extract is often used as a diuretic which increases the flow of urine thus, keeping a check on our renal health.

 

Conclusion

This wealth of health is not as easily available but, if you can get your hands on one then do try and enjoy a sumptuous meal which not only gives you a kick of bitterness but, also enhances your health simultaneously. Lastly, just add a word of caution Chicories are known to stimulate the menstrual cycle and thus, should always be avoided during pregnancy.