Chicory and its varieties: how to distinguish them
Varieties of chicory
All the varieties of chicory they are widespread and well known in Italy. They all have beneficial properties and are used in Italian cuisine for recipes of various kinds. The story goes that these varieties, among which, the Catalonian chicory, were already used as natural remedies to treat some diseases related to the liver. The chicory coffee that many have tasted and appreciate has digestive properties and regulates intestinal functions.
In fact, during the Napoleonic wars and the world wars, the "Caffè di Prussia" made from chicory was widespread.
Catalonian chicory or asparagus chicory
Catalonian chicory is part of the Asteraceae family and is also referred to“asparagus chicory”. Its bitter taste and its green color make it unmistakable. The varieties are diverse and contain determining factors to accentuate these main characteristics.
Characteristics of Catalonian chicory
There are different varieties of Catalonian chicory. Their differences are related to the shape of the leaves and the structure of the head. The vegetable with a narrow and smooth leaf is called " Apulian chicory " or "brindisina", on the contrary the asparagus chicory with jagged leaves is called " Abruzzese ". There are also chicory with wide and internal leaves called "".
Their names are given by the areas in which they grow and by the typical dialects of each area. The varieties of Catalonian chicory are harvested in the months from autumn to winter. 100 grams of chicory corresponds to a calorie intake of 10 calories.
Beneficial properties of Catalonian chicory
Catalonian chicory is rich in minerals, vitamins, flavonoids, carotenoids, saponins and tannins. All these factors contribute to creating a vegetable with purifying , laxative and mineralizing properties. What distinguishes it from other varieties is, in particular, the high quantity of potassium and the low sodium content. For those who want to go on a diet and eliminate this variety it is ideal.
Catalonia chicory of Galatina
Green in color and with a jagged appearance is Catalonia chicory of Galatina. The color of the coast is white and it is sown in summer.
Catalonia narrow leaf puntarelle
Catalonia narrow leaf puntarelle is different from Galatina puntarelle Catalonia for its light green coast, this variety is sown in summer and harvested in autumn.
Italiko chicory has brown-green leaves with a jagged shape. The color of the coast is red. Many people use it to make special culinary dishes.
Wild chicory is easily recognizable thanks to its indigo blue flower. It grows spontaneously all year round in uncultivated lands and near the embankments of cultivated land. Its height can be up to 60 centimeters. It has the shape of a lanceolate leaf and has reddish veins. Flowering occurs in the period from June to September.
How to recognize chicory varieties
Only those with a little experience are able to recognize chicory varieties. Common chicory is recognised thanks to its serrated leaves or rather, with a fine tip.The Catalonian chicory also resists temperatures that go over 5 degrees. It grows well in soils such as well-draining flower beds characterized by mixtures worked in depth with a spade. If you have a small plot of land, it can be planted directly on the area intended for its cultivation or in pots.
Cooking and the use of chicory
In our dishes almost all the varieties of chicory are used. The most common varieties such as catalonia and "puntarelle" are the same as wild ones because they have a bitter taste . Chicory catalogna has more beneficial properties, as it is rich in iron and chlorophyll. These two properties have a beneficial effect on diseases such as anemia, on irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.