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Generally considered to be a salad green, chicory is a relative of the endive family of greens, known as Cichorium. Some of the common varieties of chicory include wild chicory, curly chicory (also referred to as curly endive, chicory endive, frisée, frisee, frise, or green-leafed chicory), radicchio (red-leafed chicory, red chicory or Italian chicory), and Magdeburg chicory. Chicory may also be categorized as "headed" or "loose-leafed" greens, into which the common headed varieties include Belgian endive, escarole, and radicchio, which have thick leaves that remain close to the head of the plant. The common loose-leafed varieties include curly endive, wild chicory, and radichetta (asparagus chicory), which have different leaves for each variety of this vegetable green. Some are thick and curly while others are flat and thin, extending out from the plant. The green outer leaves are noted for their bitter taste, while the inner leaves usually have a paler color and a milder taste. The crunchy greens of chicory are excellent in salads or sautéed with olive oil as a side dish.

Curly endive is often referred to as chicory and may confuse many when labeled as loose-leaf endive or some of its other names such as loose-leaf chicory, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory, frisée, frisee, or frise. The confusion occurs due to the fact that the term "chicory" in America or France refers to what Britain calls endive and endive in Britain becomes chicory in France and America. This vegetable green has larger, ripple-edged or ragged leaves that are green on the outer sections and cream colored closer to the stem and stalk, forming a very compact heart. The lacy outer leaves provide a prickly texture and a bitter taste while the inner leaves are milder.

Radicchio or Italian chicory is a variety that begins growing as a green leafed plant and when it matures turns from deep green to burgundy red. There is a round leafed variety and an elongated leafed variety available.

The Magdeburg variety and several other varieties of chicory grow very large roots that can be used as substitutes or additives, providing body and aroma, for a coffee beverage. The chicory root is roasted (then referred to as "succory") and ground into a coffee-chicory blend. This type of coffee is popular in the southern United States and is called Creole or New Orleans coffee.

USDA Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 root
Total Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates17g
Serving Size1 cup, chopped
Total Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates4g
Dietary Fiber4g
Serving Size1 head
Total Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates4g
Dietary Fiber3g

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