Friday, December 14, 2012

Chicory

After yesterday's vegie patch post, I thought I'd give you a close up of this leafy green you may not be familiar with.
My parents spent six weeks in my father's home village in Italy this year. Mum brought back the seeds for this salad vegetable, which my family calls radicchio. It is a huge favourite at dinner, and even a bit of an obsession.
While we call this radicchio it is actually chicory.The seed  packet has it as chichorium intybus. Yes, if you were wondering, Mum did declare the seeds to quarantine. Apparently, it caused a bit of debate with the quarantine officers, and sent them off to their reference materials. Lettuce seeds aren't allowed in, but chicory which looks and behaves like a lettuce, but is not a lettuce is ok.
This is a great vegetable - a real cut and come again plant which keeps giving and giving for minimal effort. I love that. It does have that bitter taste which I've grown up to love, but to the uninitiated who are used to mild lettuce it takes a bit of getting to.
The other good thing about this gift is that the seed came in a big packet, with 50g of seed. Why isn't it possible to get lettuce seeds in 50g bags here in Australia? Wouldn't they be useful.

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