Also known as Belgian Endive thanks to an accidental discovery in the 1840's by the head gardener at the Brussels Botanic Gardens, we now enjoy plump, juicy 'chicons' all winter long.
Chicons are the blanched, luscious tasting, leafy heads that are produced when Witloof chicory is grown indoors in darkness.
Culture: Grow as for lettuce. In autumn when the foliage dies back, lift the roots keeping only those that are at least 3 cm (1 1/2") in diameter at the top. Cut off the foliage leaving a 1 cm (1/2") stub then store the roots on their side packed with dry sand or sawdust in a cool, frost-free place. To force the roots, plant upright in pots filled with sand or light soil leaving 1 cm (1/2") of the crown exposed. Lightly water then set the pot in a completely dark place at a temperature of 10-15 C (50-60 F) - it is important that no light hits the crowns at this stage. After approximately 4 weeks, the 10-15 cm (4-6") long blanched 'chicons' should be ready for harvest.