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The Basics: Chicory has been cultivated for its ability to enhance flavor since the ancient
Egyptian times. The recognizable and easily distinguished flowers are almost always pale blue
but they can be white or pink on a rare basis. Chicory is packed with nutrition to include calcium,
potassium, folate and vitamins A and C.
Edible Parts: roots, leaves
Chicory Leaves: Chicory leaves look a lot like dandelion leaves only they’re bigger. You’ll want to harvest the leaves when it’s cool either late spring or early autumn.
Basic Prep: The leaves must be blanched to avoid the bitterness.
You have three options with Chicory Leaves:
raw, boiled and fried.
Raw Chicory Leaves: Chicory leaves can be eaten raw if they’re young and or if it’s an emergency. Younger leaves are not quite as bitter can be added to salads.
Boiled Chicory Leaves: This is probably the best option for eating chicory leaves. Continue to boil after blanching for an additional 2 to 3 minutes and then season to taste.
Fried Chicory Leaves: Flavor the leaves. Garlic goes well with chicory leaves. Season to taste.
Chicory Roots: The best time to harvest chicory root is after it flowers. The older the plant, the longer the root which is a good thing considering you’ll need a lot of it to make chicory coffee.
You have one option with Chicory Root: and that’s to brew a fantastic coffee substitute. As a side note, you can also add dried and roasted chicory root to regular coffee which will enhance the flavor tremendously.
How to Make Chicory Coffee:
Gather root from several plants (one will not be enough). The more roots you have the darker the brew you’ll end up with.
Wash the exterior but try not to scrape away too much. That exterior layer is what adds to the coffee’s flavor.
Ready a cookie sheet or pan by covering with aluminum foil. If we’re talking about a post SHTF world, you can skip the aluminum foil.
Shred the root with a cheese grader as finely as you can get it and then take a chopper to make it even smaller if possible. You can use a simple knife if you have no alternative.
Place the shred and chopped root onto the cookie sheet and let the sun do what the sun does best – dry them out. You CAN use the stove but since we’re talking about doing this when the stove is a memory, the sun is an equally acceptable method.
When the roots are dried, take a flat object and crush the roots into powder. There will be some larger pieces and that’s okay too. Your goal here is to get it as close to the consistency of “coffee” as possible.
When it’s to the consistency you like, pop it into your percolator. If you don’t have a percolator, use some cheese cloth to wrap the dried roots, set it in your coffee cup and pour hot water over that.