What is chicory?

Also known as endive, chicory is a forced crop, grown in complete darkness, which accounts for its blanched white, yellow-tipped leaves. It has a distinctive, cigar-like shape, about 12cm long, and the crisp leaves have a mildly bitter flavour.

How to prepare chicory

If the end is cracked or discoloured, trim it off, then remove any limp outer leaves. Then, depending on how you want to use it, either leave whole, separate the leaves, or slice lengthways into halves or quarters. Once cut, brush with lemon juice to prevent discolouration.

How to cook chicory

As well as being enjoyed raw in salads, chicory can also be cooked on the grill, boiled or steamed.

See our collection of chicory recipes.

How to store chicory

It will last for around a week in a perforated bag in the fridge.

When is chicory in season?

All year round, but the British season is from January to mid March.

Learn how to grow your own chicory from the experts at Gardeners’ World.

Choose the best chicory

Look for firm, crisp leaves and avoid those with green tips, as they'll be very bitter.

Alternatives to chicory

Try radicchio.