Belgian endive, a member of the chicory family, boasts snow-white elongated, spoon-shaped leaves that have yellow-green or red-purple tips. Endive is the elegant leafy green of the bunch – with clean lines, a smooth texture and a lovely dash of color.
You might also know it as: Endive, French endive, chicory (British), Belgian chicory, witloof chicory, witloof
Taste: mild, bitter
How to buy: Select crisp firmly packed heads with pale, yellow or red tips. The base should be white and there should not be any browning. The lighter the endive, the milder the flavor.
How to eat: Eat raw in salads. Raw endive is lovely and crisp with a bitter flavor, making it perfect in salads. Cooking mellows its sharp flavor into a soft, nutty sweetness. Steam, braise, stew or add to soups. Its oval shape makes it ideal for appetizers such as dips or fillings.
How to store: Protect the leaves from excess light, as Belgian endive becomes bitter when exposed to light. Keep them in a flow-pack pouch or wrap them in towels.
This beautiful salad green is a great source of the antioxidant vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps boost the immune system. Furthermore, research has also shown that it may limit UV-related DNA damage which can help protect against skin cancer, and delay the appearance of wrinkles by strengthening the skin’s collagen.1,2
- Jang, S., Dilger, R. N., & Johnson, R. W. (2010). Luteolin inhibits microglia and alters hippocampal-dependent spatial working memory in aged mice. The Journal of Nutrition, 140(10), 1892-1898.
- Nakamura, et al. (1997) Vitamin C abrogates the deleterious effects of UVB radiation on cutaneous immunity by a mechanism that does not depend on TNF-alpha. J Invest Dermatol; 109:20-24.