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Endive is an herb that is used as a salad plant or is cooked and served with a hot dressing or as greens. The three common varieties of this green are escarole, chicory, and French endive, all of which have a slightly bitter taste and may be found in the market from late summer until early winter.

Escarole is a broad-leaved variety that is grown more or less in a head. Chicory has a small feathery-edged leaf, and is often bleached by tying the leaves together at the top, so that the inside ones are very tender. Both of these varieties may be cooked, but they are also much used for salads.

French endive bears very little resemblance to the other kinds, having straight, creamy-white leaves that are closely pressed together. It looks very much like sprouts of some kind, and is entirely bleached in the process of growth by banking the earth around it. It is never used for anything except salads and garnishes.

Endive is very low in food value, comparing very closely with celery and cucumbers in this respect. Still, as a salad vegetable, it is worthy of much more extensive use than is generally made of it. As a rule, its price is about the same as that of lettuce, so it should be substituted frequently for lettuce to give variety to the diet. To be most satisfactory, endive should be bought when it is fresh and unwithered and kept until used in a cool, damp place. A good plan is to wrap such vegetables in a damp cloth. If, upon using, endive appears to be withered, it may be freshened by placing it in a pan of cold water and allowing it to remain there for a short time.

When endive is used as a salad, it may be served merely with a salad dressing of some kind or it may be combined with other vegetables before applying the dressing.


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Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Volume 2.

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