Chicory greens Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Selection and storage

Chicory greens Nutrition facts and Health benefits
Sugar leaf chicory (Cichorium endivia var. Porphyreum). Photo courtesy: Suzie’s Farm.

Chicory greens best available during winter months, although hydroponically grown fresh endive can be bought year-round in the US. Choose the greens with a pale center surrounded by firm, shiny, crisp leaves that are very curly and vivid green. Avoid wilted, tough, and discolored (yellow) leaves.

To store, place chicory greens or escarole in a perforated plastic bag, or wrap loosely in a damp paper/cloth. Avoid placing in close packs. Discard wilted or brown-tipped leaves. Rightly stored greens could last for 1 week in the refrigerator set at appropriate humidity.

Preparation and serving methods

Just before using, wash chicory and escarole quickly in cold water without letting it soak. Remove any withered leaves and hard sections. Cut and season only just before using.

Chicory and escarole are used in the same way as lettuce or spinach, which they replace or combined with.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Raw, especially served dressed with a vinaigrette or mayonnaise. They form an interesting mix with other greens.

  • Chicory can be braised or added to soups at the end of cool g time for flavor. White bean and escarole soup is popular South Italian recipe.

  • Belgian endive is used raw in salads or braised and served as a vegetable.

  • It can also be braised, then chopped used in flans, omelets and quiche.

Safety profile

Chicory greens widely consumed all over Europe and American states. Although this green leafy vegetable contains high concentrations of bitter glycosides and inulin, no known side effects so far notified when used in moderate quantities.(Medical disclaimer).

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Further resources:

  1. USDA National Nutrient data base.

  2. Home gardening series-University of Arkansas division of Agriculture-pdf.

  3. Current Advances in Genomics and Breeding of Leaf Chicory.