Produces a tall open plant with white stems and thin green leaves. Leaves are snipped for salads, while shoots can be harvested while still tender and cooked like asparagus or added to soups and salads. Soak in cold water for milder flavor. An Italian variety popular with high end chefs. OP Photo courtesy of West Coast Seeds. Also available as part of our Culinary Breeding Network Collection.
Care: Plant 20-30″ apart in rows 24-36″ apart in full sun, cool moist soil.
Red, green or in between, Italian chicories (aka dandelion, endive, escarole, frisee, puntarelle and radicchio) are heritage greens that combine a sweet, flowery fragrance with an intriguingly peppery bite. Gorgeous in the garden and stunning on the plate, this bevy of Italian beauties offer myriad variations to enjoy. With scoop-shaped leaves that are perfect for dipping, these flavorful greens partner deliciously with distinctive cheeses and creamy dressings. It also has the advantage of being adaptable to a wide variety of climates, seasons and growing conditions. Radicchio generally thrives without heavy nutrient inputs, is fairly free from pest and disease issues, and holds well in the garden and in cold storage. Their spunky bite is mellowed by slow cooking; try braising in butter or splitting whole heads lengthwise and grilling until lightly caramelized. Josh Volk of Slowhand Farm offers more ideas here and explains how to get the most from these versatile vegetables here. We think you’ll be as excited as we are when you see this fantastic brochure from Osborne Quality Seeds (we’re grateful for the loan!) as well as this informative Italian poster which was created by Local Roots Farm, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and the Culinary Breeding Network, and features many of the varieties we’re growing.
Also, here’s a delightful zine, 28 pages of tasty recipes to keep you going throughout the cool months of the year, as well as a detailed history on the origin and uses of Chicory.
These hardy varieties hunker down during the cold temperatures and heavy rains of winter, waiting to take off when light and warmth return. Harvest in late winter and spring. See our Fall & Winter Vegetable Guide for specific planting/harvest times & freeze-out temperatures.