There’s a reason the Belgian Endive was nicknamed “white gold” when it arrived inParisin 1872. Known in its native country as Witloof Chicory (translated: white leaf) Endive was a humble farmer’s accidental discovery over 200 years ago which exploded ontoEurope’s culinary scene in a big way. Now grown in California by California Vegetable Specialties endive provides a delicious accent to any salad, soup or dip recipe plus many other dishes for those who are trying to broaden their palette while still choosing a path of eating healthy.
Many people wonder how the adventure of this curious little vegetable all began. Endive is believed to have originated inEgypt orIndonesia in the 16th century; the official story however, is that in 1830 it was discovered inBelgium by a farmer named Jan Lammers. Farmer Jan was storing chicory roots in his cellar that he planned to dry and grind as a substitute for coffee beans (as this was common practice inEurope during the 19th century). Jan forgot about a few of the roots and, interestingly enough, the roots sprouted in the damp, dark shed and sprouted leaves. Naturally, as anyone would upon discovering something growing in their damp, dark shed – Jan took a bite of one and found the tangy and slightly bitter flavor pleasant and the modern cultivation of Belgian endive was born.
When looking for Belgian/California endive, here in the U.A. at your local farmers market or grocery store they will usually group endive with other leafy greens such as lettuce, escarole and radicchio. In fact, endives have been blended with radicchio to produce a red endive that has reddish leaves, allowing for a number of presentation options for any food recipe.
Don’t think that endive is just about looks and a tangy little flavorful treat.
California/Belgian endive isn’t just about looks. California/Belgian endive is also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially folate, vitamins A and K, and is also high in fiber.
15 Poppy House Road
Rio Vista, California 94571