Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Chicory,One of my Favorite Wildflowers
Tom took this photo at one of the open fields at Magee Marsh a few years ago. Until I looked at his photo, I didn't realize what a beautiful center this flower has.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's map of the United States, Chicory is found all over the continental U. S. Surprisingly, their map of Ohio doesn't show it in all of our counties. Miami County is one of those where Chicory's presence is not recorded. I know it is along roadsides and waste areas and fallow fields here. Chicory is like dandelions, so common we don't think about it. I am still looking for a perfect photo of Red Clover, Queen Anne's Lace and Chicory to add to this blog. A field of these three flowers is one of my favorite sights in summer.
I looked up Chicory on several websites because I was curious about it. I had never heard of any use for it except as a substitute for coffee. Chicory is what gives New Orleans coffee its special flavor. And I remember my dad talking about using Chicory as a coffee substitute during WWII.
I learned from the Encyclopedia Britannica site that Chicory is native to Europe and was introduced into the U.S. in the late nineteenth century. It is cultivated in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany. The writer added, "and to some extent in the United States". I bet the U.S. site is somewhere around New Orleans.
In addition to roasting and grinding the roots to add color, body, and bitterness to coffee, roots may be boiled and eaten with butter. The leaves can be served as a vegetable or salad.
Other names for Chicory are French endive and succory. I have also heard it called wild bachelor's button.