How to Get Food From a Chicory Plant

How to Get Food from a Chicory PlantThe chicory plant is eaten in many parts of the world. The plant is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. The root is used as a coffee substitute, and the leaves are eaten raw in salads or cooked and added to vegetable dishes. The perennial herb is found in Europe, North America and many other temperate climates throughout the world. The herb grows in open fields, plains and valleys. Its leaves, flowers and stems are edible.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
How to Identify a Chicory Plant
Identify the chicory plant. The chicory plant is a small weed-like plant that appears tall when the flowers bloom. The branches grow in an outward direction, giving the plant a straggly appearance. The toothed leaves resemble the leaves of a dandelion plant. The leaves are large at the bottom of the plant and small at the top. Beautiful blue, lavender or white multi-petaled flowers bloom on the plant during spring, standing on 3- to 5-foot stems that shoot straight up. Blue flowers are the most common on chicory plants. When the plant blooms, it looks like a wildflower plant.
Step 2
Pick the leaves of the plant and eat them raw or boil them in water until tender.
Step 3
Pick the flowers off the plant and eat them raw.
Step 4
Chicory flower, root and leafHarvest the root by firmly grabbing the plant with your hands and pulling it out of the ground. To eat, boil the root in water until tender.
Step 5
Dry the raw flowers, leaves and roots by laying them out in the sun until fully dry, to save them for later use. The dried flowers and leaves can be eaten as is. The dried roots can be ground up and added to other food items or boiled in water until tender. To make a coffee substitute, mix one spoonful of ground roots in one cup of hot water. The chicory drink tastes like bitter coffee.

Tips & Warnings

Never eat a plant that you cannot accurately identify. There are many plants in the wilderness that are poisonous.

Article Written By Rose Kivi

Rose Kivi has been a writer for more than 10 years. She has a background in the nursing field, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. Kivi has authored educational textbooks, patient health care pamphlets, animal husbandry guides, outdoor survival manuals and was a contributing writer for two books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Series.

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