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With its purple-red leaves and white veins, radicchio looks like a shrunken version of red cabbage, but it’s actually a member of the chicory family.

Radicchio has a distinct, bitter yet tender flavor that’s desirable for bold, Italian salads. It’s often found in mesclun salad mixes, but when used properly radicchio can stand up well on its own.

Treviso and Chioggia

Radicchio is an excellent source of vitamin K. which plays a key role in blood clotting. The bitter flavor in the leaves comes from lactucopicrin, which helps the body manage pain.

Radicchio has hardy leaves that can be kept fresh for over a week. Wrap the whole head loosely in plastic and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Radicchio is grown nearly year round, but fresh radicchio tastes best when grown in cold but not freezing temperatures.

Look for fresh radicchio in early spring and late fall.