BATAVIAN BROADLEAF ENDIVE (Cichorium endiva) is an old European heirloom that dates to at least the 1860s. Lettuce-like leaves are broad and slightly twisted forming 10-16" heads that are tightly packed with a well blanched, creamy heart. All endives are chicories with varying intensities of flavor. Broad leaf endive varieties, or escarole, tend to be less bitter than the curly leaf endive varieties. This variety has a pleasantly bitter taste and can be eaten like other greens either fresh as part of a green salad, or sauteed or chopped and added into soups and stews. In hot regions it is best to plant endive early or late in the season when the days are cooler. 100 Seeds. 80 days.
MEDICINAL/DIETARY: Low in fat, cholesterol and calories. The "bitter" is indicative of benefits to the liver (this is true of leaves and root). Also good for inflammation and swelling. The roots are also said to be slightly sedative. High in fiber, iron and potassium. Also Vitamins E, A, C, K and B's. More important than the vitamins and minerals they contain are fructans, a group of carbohydrates that feed symbiotic bacteria in the intestine. helping your body to prevent colon cancer, and allowing your body to absorb more calcium and magnesium from other foods, so it helps you grow strong bones as well! And a new large scale research study in The Netherlands touted by noted cancer expert Dr William Li indicates that eating endive every week can cut your risk of developing ovarian cancer by 75%!
GROWING/ENJOYING TIPS: Direct seed in spring, 2-3 seeds every 16". Grow much like any other green. All endive likes cool weather, lots of moisture and rich, well-drained soil. Bed should be kept well-weeded. As with all greens, a border of ash will help deter slugs. Frilly can be harvested when full or blanched like Belgian endive. Discovered by accident by a Belgian farmer in the mid-1800s and popular among Victorian gardeners as it supplied a leafy vegetable in the middle of winter. Here is how you do it: Come fall, lift individual plants, cut off the heads and dry the roots on paper outside (with protection from critters) for 3-4 weeks. Then, re-plant in big pots of sand/light soil leaving 8 inches between the soil and the top of the box. Cover to darkness and put into a protected environment (I am lucky to have an unheated pantry which serves just fine). You will be able to harvest beautiful elongated blanched heads in several weeks. You can also at this time lift the root and dry if you want to try your hand at grinding for chicory coffee, though don't make a habit of it. One last tip - don't cook endive or chicory in cast iron - it will discolor it.