Curled Ruffec EndiveIt is believed that Endive, a member of the chicory family, comes from Egypt or the Mediterranean. The leaves ripen in 50-100 days and have a nutty and bitter taste. Harvest when the leaves are at full height, leaving 1″ for the plant to grow back. The leaves are most commonly used in salads but are also great for cooking and serving. Ideal with apples, pears, honey, nuts, and cheese. Blanching leaves less bitter. Pliny the Elder praised its medicinal properties, claiming that it purifies the blood and cures insomnia. By 1200 AD, many varieties of Endive were known throughout Europe. However, the first mention of this vegetable in America comes from a cookbook from 1806. Endive is still very popular today and is often found in gardens and Mediterranean cuisines.
Endive can lower blood pressure, prevent anemia, promote healthy pregnancy and regulate blood sugar levels, prevent tooth decay due to vitamin A intake.
How to grow Endive from seeds:
- Sowing: Endive is an excellent autumn harvest due to the beneficial effect of light frost on its taste. It becomes sweeter and excessive heat causes bitterness on the leaves or curls. For an early summer harvest, sow seeds indoors 2 months before the last spring frost, 1/4″ deep. Cut them 6″ apart when the seedlings germinate. Four weeks after planting, place them 12″ apart. For the fall harvest, sow seeds in July in 1/3″ wetted ground. When the seedlings are germinated, cut them up to 12″ in all directions. In areas with warmer winters, can plant winter crops about two months before the last frost.
- Plant Spacing: 6-12″.
- Growing of Endive: The soil must be moist to prevent hardness or bitterness. Avoid getting the leaves wet, as this can cause rotting. Mulch helps to retain moisture and fight weeds. Tie the outer leaves together to darken the inside of the plant 2-3 weeks before harvest. Please make sure the leaves of the plant are completely dry before tying them to prevent rotting.
- Endive Soil Requirements for: Keep the soil evenly moist.
- Endive Seeds Days to Germination: 14-21 days.
- Light Preference of Endive: Full Sun.
- Life Cycle of Endive: Annual.
- How and When to Harvest Endive: Cut individual leaves for baby greens as soon as they reach a good size for eating.
- Endive Days to Maturity: up to 100 days.
- Endive's Seed Saving: Endive must overwinter for seeds to develop. The plant should be pruned to 2 inches for regions with harsh winters and the roots stored in wet sand. Maintain a temperature of 33-40 degrees F until spring, when you can replant them. Endive is hardy and can survive mild winters with a thick layer of mulch. When the Endive is blooming and producing seeds, wait for the seed heads to dry, and the seeds are dry and hard. Spread them out to dry completely. Stоre seeds in a cool, dry place for up to eight years.
- Common Names: Endive
- Latin Name: Raphanus sativus
- Species Origin: Egypt and Indonesia
- Type: Open Pollinated, Heirloom, Cool Season
- Life Cycle: Annual
- USDA Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
- Seeds per Ounce: 25,000
- Sunlight: Full Sun
- Height: 12 Inches
- Color: Greens
- Uses: Culinary