What is chicory good for?

How healthy is chicory?

Chicory is a typical winter vegetable. The pale yellow bud of the daisy family has a slightly bitter taste and provides numerous vitamins and healthy nutrients. Chicory is a good supplier of folic acid, beta-carotene and fiber, among other things. The bitter substances contained in the buds can also stimulate digestion.

With 13 kcal per 100 grams, chicory is considered low in calories. In addition, 100 grams of the vegetables contain 3.4 mg of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, as well as 50 micrograms of folic acid and 192 mg of the mineral potassium. The bitter substance lactucopicrin (formerly: intybin), which contributes to the typical taste of chicory, supports digestion by stimulating the gall bladder and pancreas. In addition, the bitter substances are said to have a pain-relieving and blood-sugar-lowering effect. The chicory leaves also have a diuretic effect and thus help to regulate the acid-base balance in the body.

The bitter taste of chicory can be softened by preparing a salad with honey in the dressing. Fruit juice and tangerines go well with it for a fruity-sour note. Soaking the leaves in milk or salt water also helps against the bitter taste. In this form of preparation, however, the bitter substances lose their healthy effect. Modern breeds also contain significantly fewer bitter substances. To keep its healthy ingredients, chicory should be consumed fresh. Wrapped in damp paper or a cloth, chicory can be kept in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for up to a week.

Chicory comes from the wild chicory. It is a biennial plant that grows in the field for the first year. In the autumn before the first frosts, the fleshy, thickened roots are cleared, cleaned down to the heart leaves and pounded in cool. Depending on requirements, the chicory forcing begins, usually in completely darkened rooms, so that the chicory roots develop the delicate white-yellow tightly closed shoots. The darkness prevents the shoots from turning green. Once the shoots are large enough, they can be neatly cut off during harvest. Europe's largest producer of chicory is France, although there are also important productions in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. A special variant is the red chicory, which is characterized by its color. Please note that it is best to store chicory in the refrigerator and consume it as quickly as possible.