Monday 12 November 2012


I have harvested the first two of my Radicchio this week. They are not particularly fine specimens, but they needed picking. They are each about the size of a tennis-ball. Fortunately Radicchio is generally very tightly-packed, so this is actually a worthwhile quantity.

They have been growing underneath the Purple Sprouting Broccoli so they have not really had as much light as they should have done - and probably not as much in the way of nutrients either, because the PSB will have outclassed them.

I would love to be able to devote more space to my Radicchio, but they always end up doubling-up with something else, because the time for planting them is in late Summer when the beds are still full. I suppose in a way it is good that their growth is restricted, because this means that they produce small heads that get used up quite quickly rather than hanging around in the fridge part-used. We bought a huge, incredibly tightly-packed head of Radicchio from our local Farmers Market some weeks ago, and it is still not completely used! I'm amazed that it stays in good condition so long.

When Radicchio is mature, the big loose outer leaves begin to die off, leaving the heart exposed, like this:

At first sight, this plant looks beyond redemption, but it definitely  isn't. It produced one of the hearts shown in the first picture in this post. I just had to strip off a lot of outer leaves.

We like to eat Radicchio raw, in salads like this one, which includes oranges, walnuts, and some Witloof chicory (aka Belgian Endive, confusingly)

The sweetness of the oranges nicely complements the tart flavour of the Radicchio.

We have occasionally had Radicchio cooked - for instance in risotto - but we don't rate it very highly. It loses most of its colour when cooked, and ends up looking rather grey and unappetising. Who else out there grows Radicchio, and how do you eat / cook it?

To finish off today I want to show you some of the other chicories that are approaching maturity:


  1. The salad looks lovely. I'm just not a radicchio fan though. It doesn't make the list of hated foods like arugula, but not high enough for me use it at home. It is so pretty though in salads.

  2. Looking good Mark! I actually love it cooked as well, but mostly as a salad. We do a great recipe with the red varieties of radicchio, but it takes a lot! You sauté cut up radicchio with onion then at the end add some cream, salt and pepper, and then the pasta. You have to embrace and enjoy the bitterness though :) I just love radicchio season!!!!!

  3. It's a bit like small tight headed cabbages - a little goes a very long way!

  4. I try to grow radicchio every once in a while but it is a bit tricky to grow here, it has a tendency to bolt when we have one of our autumn heat waves. I like to use it fresh in salads. My husband isn't a big fan though so I have to eat most of it. When I serve it to him I soak it in ice water first to reduce the bitterness.

  5. I quite like it wilted in a little oil with garlic and vinegar splashed on.

  6. Wow, I should probably try growing it if it can grow being shaded by those others maybe it could grow here.

  7. Absolutely beautiful Mark. Gorgeous colour.

  8. Pretty foliage! The last two shots looks particularly good!

  9. MUST we have hotels for bugs??? Just finding humor in that, Mark. I love the look of your salad and am sure it is as tasty as it is pretty!

  10. I've been reading about how the Italian radicchio and chicories need to be forced, but it doesn't look like you had to do this... or did you? Beautiful, but they do look like they need a lot of space!

    1. No, I did not force mine. Forcing is normally associated with the Witloof or Belgian Endive types. I always grow mine in the open, just like lettuce - and they take about the same amount of space as lettuce too.

  11. yes...only a few varieties such as the ones Mark said and the Treviso and Puntarelle varieties, because they are grown for their, "second growth" so to speak. Most radicchio is simply grown like lettuce.


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