Sunday, July 13, 2008

A trio of greens

I've been growing something called 'Italian dandelion' for some time. Actually, since it seems to be perennial, and has really deep roots, I can't actually dig it all out. It's quite attractive and tasty, if prepared by leaching out most of the bitter sesquiterpene lactones first! It does appear to be a selection of common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale; my plants came from seed ordered from The Cook's Garden.

There are lots of other chicories that are enjoyed in Italy and elsewhere, with a number of different species being eaten as a salad herb or vegetable.

I sowed a red-stemmed Catalogna chicory in early spring this year which has flourished.
Radicchio, which has tall and heading varieties, are largely subspecies of Chicorium intybus.

Italian dandelion ~~~~~~Catalogna chicory ~~~~~~~Treviso radicchio
Here's a trio of greens to be part of dinner this evening, braised with olive oil and fresh garlic.

2 comments:

  1. These are gorgeous. And they growth through the summers here? I guess I shouldn't be surprised since common dandelion does. What about raddichio? I'm planning to start some for fall, but assumed that like most greens, it wouldn't thrive in the summer heat here.

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  2. Hi, CEN-
    I've found radicchio to be pretty much trouble-free here, but it is VERY bitter in the summer, because of our heat. It looks like the red-stemmed chicory is equally easy and heat-tolerant. They're all perennial, which is interesting.

    I had lovely red heads of radicchio a couple of years ago(http://naturalgardening.blogspot.com/2007/08/time-to-garden-again.html), but managing that requires getting exactly the right variety (I seem to keep being sent the Treviso kind, or at least it wants to be upright).

    Last summer, the woodchuck demolished the large patch that the nursing squirrel was enjoying (http://naturalgardening.blogspot.com/2007/09/kale-chard-spinach-and-lettuce.html), so I wasn't able to experiment with cutting it back, and seeing what happened!

    Have fun experimenting! They definitely do require leaching to be edible in the summer heat, but if you like slightly bitter greens, seem satisfying healthy.

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