We grow Belgium endive for winter greens but that is not all we use it for. We make a coffee substitute from the dry roasted roots. In appearance it is quite similar to coffee, I personally think it also has a coffee like taste...just no caffeine. It is supposed to have many health benefits.
Having used the tops in a salad or stir fry we pull the roots and wash them. They can be a quite a hairy root.
I usually just use my fingers to pull the root hairs off and then use a potato peeler to finish the job. Try to leave as much of the skin on as possible, I think it improves the flavor and health benefits.
Chop the ends off and dice up all the scraps for your chickens or mulch pile.
Then simply slice the roots about 1/8 " thick, place on a tray in the oven, and roast at around 225° for about 2 hours. They can also be dehydrated or dried over a wood stove but may lose the roasted flavor.
The finished product is then ground up fine for a coffee maker or more coarsely for a percolator. You only need to use about a third of the amount you would coffee.
The same thing can be done with dandelion roots, I have tried that but much prefer endive. The biggest problem is keeping my wife out of the chips which are delicious on their own - she eats them faster than I can grind them. While quite satisfactory by itself, we usually do a 70-30% mix of coffee to endive.
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