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Escarole and Endive

Posted 5/10/2016 10:04am by Judy Lessler.

Escarole and endive (Chichorium endivia) are native to the East Indies, were brought to Egypt and known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was grown in England by the 1500s. It is in the same family as dandelions. A similar plant, Chichorium intybus, includes chicory and radicchio, is native to northern Europe.

I first became enamored with escarole after a visit to France in October 2012. Farmers markets were full of large escarole plants that sometimes weighed nearly a kilogram (2.2 lbs.).  It is a cool weather plant and grows better in a place like France where the weather is cool but not cold. We generally pick it much smaller than the French versions because of the heat of NC. Endive comes in two types, so called Belgian Endive or witloof  and is grown from roots that are stored in a root-cellar or cooler and then forced to produce leaves in the fall and early winter. I have never tried it because of the technical skill needed. 

Frisࣾếe is a very frilly form of endive and is called Trés Fine Maraīchère in France. I have grown this and found it to be a good addition to salads.

Below is a picture of the type we grow.

 

 

https://s.graphiq.com/sites/default/files/5806/media/images/USDA_Escarole_4345265.jpg

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