Herbal Coffee Substitute - Chicory
Chicory is a useful plant - the green leaves are used in salads or as sauteed greens and the root is used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Chicory was actually mixed in with real coffee during WWII - to help extend coffee supplies.
I have seen Chicory growing wild on the side of many highways and back roads in North America. Although - I do NOT reccommend wild cultivation - if you want Chicory coffee then buy a packet of Chicory seeds - just to be safe.
THE TASTE: I have to be totally honest - Chicory will never replace Tim Horton's.......but I did like it. It smells and looks exactly like coffee but the taste is different - it's the aftertaste that was a little bitter. It was that same aftertaste that I get from "Stevia" (a natural herbal sweetener) - it was sweet and bitter at the same time with a very slight anise taste also.
Dig the entire plant in the fall and use the top greens in salads or a stir-fry. Snap off all of the roots from the greens and wash them thoroughly. Cut off the ends. Dry the roots on a cookie sheet in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours (see picture above). Allow the dried roots to cool completely and then chop/pulse in a food processor until they look like the picture below (it will look like dirt).
Now brew in a coffee maker - I used 1 tablespoon per cup of water but that was a little strong so you can use less.
Add cream and sugar and ENJOY!!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHICORY:
(I am NOT a doctor but this information is from some of my online research)
- a blood and liver cleanser
-contains "inulin" which helps regulate blood sugar levels
- high in Vitamin A, calcium and other vitamins and minerals