While I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater, it wasn’t until college when I started to really pay attention to the things I was eating. I knew the basics. A salad was healthier than fried food and juice was better than soda, of course–but my dietary expertise ended about there. And so, while I was eating better than most people in their early twenties, my diet remained, nutritionally, rather limited.
It was not until my junior year, when I started taking an ethnobotony class, that I realized there was more to salad than romaine lettuce and a tomato wedge. Studying how indigenous people all over the world have used plants for medicinal purposes was an eye-opener. It was then that I began my quest for more nutritious foods that would not only give me more vitamins and nutrients, but would taste better, too. I’d long grown tired of the standard salad smothered in Ranch dressing. I wanted more. I wanted more flavor…I wanted more texture. I wanted something to add to my array of mixed greens, tomatoes carrots and pepperoncini.
And so I found California Endive. Referred to as “White Gold” in France, endive is actually a member of the chicory family. Its naturally crisp texture and uniquely bitter taste couples well with romaine lettuce and spinach salads. California Endive can also be braised or boiled, served in hors d’oeuvres or juiced. In New Orleans, they roast it and add it to coffee.
Bursting with important minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, folate, zinc, magnesium and fiber, endive can be used in all-natural cleansers for your liver and gall bladder. An excellent source of vitamins C and B and beta-carotene (an important antioxidant that boosts your immune system), Endive can actually have a strikingly positive effect on the optic system. In fact, by eating endive or drinking endive juice (especially when mixed with carrots, parsley and spinach), you can improve and sometimes even reverse degenerating eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Endive can help regulate your digestive tract and prevent the absorption of cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It can balance your glucose levels and temper anemia when mixed with celery and parsley. It can also reduce asthmatic attacks and can be used as an effective remedy against acne.
Delightfully curly with a fresh, uniquely bitter flavor, endive has livened up my salads and helped me balance my sugar levels. It pairs well with other mixed greens and vegetables, making it an excellent addition to salads, appetizers, entrees and side dishes. Endive’s whimsical appearance adds a colorful finishing touch to any dinner presentation and brings with it a refreshingly sophisticated flavor that is unique and delicious.
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Rio Vista, California 94571