Chicory is a plant usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Various varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or for roots, which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and in North America and Australia, where it has become widely naturalized."Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive; these two closely related species are often confused.
Wild chicory leaves are usually bitter. By cooking and discarding the water the bitterness is reduced, after which the chicory leaves may be sautéed with garlic, anchovies and other ingredients. In this form the resulting greens might be combined with pasta or accompany meat dishes and Sautéed, Braised.
Benefits of Chicory:
Chicory is highly digestible for ruminants and has a low fiber concentration. Root chicory contains volatile oils similar to those found in plants in the related genus Tanacetum which includes Tansy, and is similarly effective at eliminating intestinal worms.
All parts of the plant contain these volatile oils, with the majority of the toxic components concentrated in the plant's root.
Chicory contains inulin, which may help humans with weight loss, constipation, improving bowel function, and general health.
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