Add excitement to your winter vegetable patch by growing the glamorous vegetable chicory. This winter vegetable is a must as it is incredibly hardy and looks terrific on your plate. It is not grown enough in the UK yet it is the perfect winter vegetable for you to grow alongside kale. A member of the dandelion family, Chicory is a perennial herbaceous plant, mostly used for salads or cooked where it tends to lose its bitterness.
It grows best in fertile soil and can grow happily in full sun or part shade. It is best to direct sow the seed about 1cm deep in late May – July for harvesting in the winter months later that year. You can also sow the seed in cells for planting out or in some cases you can actually force this vegetable inside. Another clever way to cultivate this vegetable is by sowing the seed in a half gutter pipe which you can then easily slide out and transplant into your vegetable bed. This is such a versatile vegetable that it can even be grown in plant containers or window boxes. The key is to keep chicory moist to prevent the bitterness of the vegetable developing. The flowers on the plants are also edible.
Chicory Salad Recipe
Ingredients: Pear, chicory and blue cheese.
Wash the chicory and discard the outer leaves. Slice up the chicory and pear into thin slices. Add lemon juice to prevent discolouration and lightly toss in a bowl. Add parsley and walnut halves to the mix. Prepare a walnut and lemon juice dressing which is drizzled over the salad. Then gently crumble blue cheese over the top and serve immediately.