Chicory : salad, potherb and coffee substitute : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

You may have seen chicory coffee in New Orleans. I don't know how the custom originated but I think it may have had something to do with the Civil War and the blockade. Chicory coffee is also available in the UK. The following comes from Euell Gibbons' book, Stalking the Wild Asparagus. (I suspect you could find a photo of chicory on the Web.)

"Chicory. . . is now a common roadside plant from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to the Plains. It is also found up and down the Pacific Coast and locally elsewhere. . .

As cooked greens, and even as raw salad, chicory is the equal of the dandelion and that means it's tops. However, unless you gather the leaves while they are very young, you will be disappointed as they soon become too bitter to eat. . . Slide your [weeder] underground and cut the root near the top. Trim off the root, just high enough to keep the crown of leaves together. The white, underground parts of the leaves make an excellent salad, just washed and dressed with oil and vinegar. Or you can cook the whole top as a potherb, boiling only a few minutes and seasoning with salt and butter. . . .

It is as a substitute for, and an adulterant of, coffee that the chicory root is most often used. In some sections of our country, coffee blended with chicory is overwhelmingly preferred to pure coffee. Each year we import many tons of chicory root for this purpose. . . .

To make your own chicory brew, dig some of the long taproots, scrub them thoroughly and roast them slowly in an oven until they are hard and brittle, showing dark brown on the inside. Then grind and brew exactly as you would coffee, except that chicory is somewhat stronger than coffee and less should be used. When skillfully prepared chicory is an excellent substitute for coffee, more nearly approaching the taste of real coffee than most."

End of editing and typing.

Richter's Herbs ( has seeds and dried roots. The catalogue says: "Chicory, Coffee. Cichorium Intybus 'Magdeburg.' Coffee substitute costing pennies a pound. Large roots, roasted and ground, can be adulterated with your favorite brand or enjoyed alone as a nourishing caffeine-free drink. [So load up on No-Doz!] Roasting directions included with each order. [Prices are in Canadian dollars.] S1742 Seeds: Pkt/$1.25, 10g/$7, 100g/$13, 1kg/$70. H1742 Dried Roots: 50g/$8, 1kg/$75."

-- Old Git (, March 27, 1999


Back in the early 70s, when we thought we were headed for another great depression, I tried all kinds of stuff for coffee substitue. One of the more successful was dehydrated parsnips ground up and brewed. Wasn't all that bad! Wheat can be parched and used to. Whatever I tried, it tasted a hell of a lot better than Postum!!

Got lots of coffee....the real stuff??

-- Taz (, March 27, 1999.

Worth a go.I had some soya milk for the first time today & it wasn't too bad.I'll add soya beans to my list as its easy to make at home.That's the milk problem solved.Now for the coffee ! Many thanks.

-- 20 cups a day (, March 27, 1999.

My old Dad (still in England) says people used dandelion roots in exactly the same way as chicory during WWII. Caution: I wouldn't use roots taken from a lawn that's had fertilizer and pesticide applied within the last five years or so. Richter's (URL above) has special strains of dandelion seed. . .

-- Old Git (, March 27, 1999.

Chicory: One type of dandelion...italian, I think, is a member of the chicory family. Chicorium something. Another is a member of the Taxicum family. Raddicco in your grocer case is a chicory. The expensive Wiltoof is a chicory. Endive is a chicory. The chicory that is being referred to in this thread is what we would think of as a road side weed. The big tall weed with the pretty blue ones every day.

This is a perennial chicory... it will come up in exactly the same place every year. The others I mentioned above are annuals. The weed chicory, I have recently learned, has even more protein and other nutrients than alfalfa, and may be used as fodder for goats, et al..

-- Mary P/ (, March 28, 1999.

There is a picture of a field of chicory at

along with information on its history and uses.

I remember trying chicory once. Don't know what strength it was but it was the foulest tasting stuff, trying to pass for coffee, that I had ever drank.

I too am a coffee lover but we're not going to put very much away. This might be a good chance to get rid of that habit. That may be the best part of all this in the long run. Everyone being put through cold turkey and getting off their various vices?

There might be a better alternative anyway? Coco? (Does coco affect blood pressure as coffee does?) There is a movie where two Engligh men are standing on the bridge of a warship drinking hot coco. They discussed how lucky they were, not to have been born in America where they would have come to have a distasteful coffee addiction instead of their current immense pleasure from the coco bean.


-- Floyd Baker (, March 28, 1999.

Hi, Old Git;

Great post on chicory being a substitute for coffee, etc. I loved the fact it comes from Euell Gibbons' book, and remember the many times he guested on the old Johnny Carson show.

Also, a humorous aside, remember the take-offs Johnny did of him? Like the "This is a rock, some parts are edible" episode?

Thanks for the info; adding it to the many files we have on natural preparations.


-- Kent Lawrence (, March 28, 1999.

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