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Radicchio belongs to the family of compositae. Together with chicory and sugar loaf, radicchio is part of the group of leaf chicories. Radicchio is a salad group rich in shapes and colours. Open types and shapes are available, some mainly consisting of fleshy veined leaves, others with tightly closed, oblong or round heads. The colours range from deep red to yellow with red speckles. Radicchio is a typical Italian lettuce and the different varieties are named after the regions in Italy where they are mainly grown. We grow two types of radicchio; the round “Radicchio di Chioggia” and the elongated “Radicchio di Treviso”. Both varieties have deep red leaves with white veins that provide an attractive contrast together. The head is slightly looser in the Treviso and the leaves are also slightly softer and milder.

Radicchio loves a warm, balanced climate. This also applies to prorogation of the young plant. The ideal germination temperature is above 20°C, so it is considerably higher than that of garden or iceberg lettuce. Radicchio is very sensitive to extreme weather conditions. The plants then flower early or show black discolouration at the edge of the leaves.

With its a light, deep soil and mild climate, North Germany very nearly has ideal growing conditions.

Download: Crop calendar

While the round radicchio is mainly used for its taste and colour to liven up raw salads, Treviso is very popular raw and cooked. For example, with pasta – briefly heat up in a pan with some garlic and olive oil and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste – finished!

Our tip: The bitter taste of radicchio can be counteracted by quickly washing in lukewarm water and adding a little sugar during the preparation stage.

Recipe suggestion: Braised Treviso with Pasta

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