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French Endive or Witloof Chicory

A Wholesome and Useful Winter Vegetable

How to Grow

Sow the seed in Spring on well prepared land 1 ft. apart in rows, and thin out same as parsnips. Lift the roots in fall. These roots produce during winter months, the beautiful young crisp leaves, which make one of the most delicious winter salads. Here's how it's done.

Forcing the Roots

Prepare a convenient sized bed of good rich soil about a foot deep, in the basement and board up the sides. Place the roots in it until the crowns are just covered, and about 2 inches apart, in rows 6 to 8 inches apart then place on top about 8 inches of any kind of light covering such as leaf mold or other light compost. This must be light or otherwise the heads which will grow from the crown will open out instead of keeping firmly closed and conically shaped. On the top of the light soil, manure (if it can be procured fresh, all the better) should be placed to a thickness of about 12 inches, or even more. This will cause the soil to warm slightly and hasten the making of the head. Horse manure is better than cattle manure for the purpose. The heads will be ready to cut in from 4 to 6 weeks. By putting in a batch at 10 day intervals, a succession of cuttings may be made from the bed. Store the roots in dry sand until they are to be put in the bed.

Roots may also be forced in a Greenhouse or Conservatory by planting under the benches or in a specially prepared place, but not too high a temperature; say anywhere from 55 to 60 degrees F. To give more is running the risk of getting spindly, weak heads. They may also be grown in pots of say 12 inch drain. Place from five to six roots in a pot, leaving the crown of the root exposed and place another pot inverted closely over it, covering up the top hole, so as to keep the roots as dark as possible. Water about once a day and in a temperature of from 55 to 65 degrees. It will take about one month, or even less before the heads may be cut. After cutting they must be kept dark, else they turn green quickly. The roots after being forced, indoors or outdoors, become useless.


The leaves can be used in every way that lettuce can, and are delicious either alone, or in combination salads. It is beautifully crisp, tender and has a delightful appetizing flavor of its own. Large quantities are imported into this country from Europe every year and it is found on the bill of fare of all First Class Restaurants during the winter months.

Grown at home (and so easily grown at that) and served fresh and crisp from the bed, its true qualities are doubly appreciated.


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Vaughan's Vegetable Cook Book (1919).

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