The endive It is one of those plants that cannot be missing in any garden, nor in patios or balconies. And, due to their size, they can be grown wherever you want: both in soil and in pots. So if you thought you couldn’t grow anything on your balcony…, you should know that you can prepare delicious salads with this plant.
If you want to have an excellent harvest, don’t miss this special about one of the most interesting horticultural crops.
Our protagonist is known by the scientific name of Chicory endiveand with the common Brussels Chicory, Endive or Endive, the latter two in both singular and plural. It is believed to originate in the Mediterranean Region, although it is not yet clear. It is a plant with an annual cycle, that is, in one year it germinates, grows, bears fruit and withers, or biennially, dedicating the first year to growing and the second to flowering, fruiting and drying.
Form a rosette up to 40 centimeters in diameter with entire leaves, dark green to light yellow. The flowers, which sprout in spring, appear on stems that can measure up to 1 meter in height, with a diameter of up to 2cm, with lilac-bluish petals.
The heart of the plant, the endive itself, has a cylindrical shape, with a pointed end. It is composed of overlapping white leaves with yellow tips. It is 8-9 centimeters long and about 3cm in diameter. It is edible, since its flavor is sweet and very refreshing, in addition to having interesting nutritional and medicinal properties as we will see later.
Two types are distinguished, depending on their cultivation:
- Forced endives: they produce buds from the roots that are kept dark during the winter months. They have an elongated shape and are compact.
- Endives not forced: are those that are collected in autumn.
Also, there are three different varieties:
- Precocious: The growing season begins in September and ends on October 15, like the early Everé, Secundo or Tor.
- Medium cycle: the growing months are May and June. Some examples are Mazurca or Turbo.
- Late: they are the ones that better support storage in the fridge, such as Norvita, Rumbo or Jazz.
How is it grown?
If you want to grow these vegetables at home, the first thing you will need is to buy an envelope of seeds in spring. Once you have them, follow this simple step by step:
- Fill the seedbed (seedling trays, milk or yogurt containers) with universal culture substrate mixed with 20% perlite.
- Then water it, so that it is well soaked.
- Then place a maximum of two seeds in each socket.
- Cover them with some substrate so that they can’t fly off if the wind blows a little.
- And finally, water.
Put the seedbed in an area where it gets direct sunlight if possible throughout the day, and keep the substrate moist – but not waterlogged. You will see how the first ones will begin to germinate in two weeks.
When the seedlings are of a manageable size (measuring more or less 5cm in height), it will be time to move them to larger pots or to the garden. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:
Move to a bigger pot
- Gently remove the seedlings.
- Remove the substrate from around its roots only if you can. In the event that you see that they are very close together, keep the seedling that you see healthier.
- Fill a 20cm diameter pot with universal growing medium mixed with 20% perlite.
- Make a small hole -with your fingers or a wooden stick- about 3cm deep.
- Enter the seedling in it, and cover its roots are substrate.
When you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, transfer it to a pot about 40cm in diameter.
Planting in the garden
- The first thing to do is prepare the ground, removing the stones and fertilizing it with manure.
- Next, you have to make trenches about 20cm deep.
- Then plant the seedlings so that they are about 40cm apart.
- And finally he waters.
It is very important to fertilize the plants so that they can grow well. In the case of endives, they must be used foliar fertilizers that you will find for sale in any nursery or garden center. You can also make homemade foliar fertilizers, as we tell you in this article.
Plagues and diseases
They are quite sturdy, but they can have these problems:
- Slugs: they love tender leaves. They can be removed with any of these remedies.
- Gray worms: they are butterfly larvae that eat at night, and are buried in the ground during the day. They are about 4cm long, and attack the base of the stems, so that the plants appear cut off. They can be eliminated with pyrethrins, or with Chlorpyrifos, reading the instructions carefully.
The mildew It is a disease transmitted by fungi that affects all parts of the plant: leaves, stems, where yellow spots will appear on the upper side and as a white powder on the underside, as you can see in the image above.
It deals with systemic fungicidesalthough it can be prevented by avoiding soaking the leaves and using a substrate that has good drainage. In addition, it is advisable to remove the herbs that grow around it.
Collection and conservation
In autumn, a few days before collecting them, we proceed to bleaching covering them with a paper cone. After a week or ten days, you can cut them about 2-3cm from the root neck.
As soon as you have them, clean them with water and put them inside a transparent plastic bag with some holes in the fridge. But do not take long to consume them: after a week they start to get bad.
What is forcing?
Forcing is a technique by which it is intended to get a plant, in this case endive, mature faster than it would be normal either because the temperatures begin to drop a lot, or for commercial reasons. It is done as follows:
During the fall, after collecting the endives, the roots are pulled out and the roots are removed to later have them in boxes with very loose soil. They are watered, and put in a dark place covered with opaque plastic.
After 30 days, you will see some very tender buds start to come out. Well, you can cut these as you need them.
Uses of endives
They are very nutritious vegetables, so much so that they have proteins, vitamins, phosphorus, sodium … I think I’d better leave you their chemical composition :
Carbohydrates 3,5% (fiber 0,8%)
Potassium 200 mg / 100 g
Calcium 20 mg / 100 g
Sodium 8 mg / 100 g
Phosphorus 25 mg / 100 g
Vitamin C 10 mg / 100 g
Vitamin B1 0,1 mg / 100 g
Vitamin B2 0,2 mg / 100 g
It is used to make salads, such as Errorwhich is a typical dish from Catalonia, specifically from the Garraf and Penedés areas. It has endives (or endives), cod, anchovies, tuna and Arbequina olives, and is dressed with a romesco-type sauce made from tomatoes, ñoras, garlic, almonds and hazelnuts.
In France it is consumed with sauces made from roquefort or mustard.
How to prepare stuffed endives?
If you want to try some delicious stuffed endives, take note:
- Large endive
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1 / 2 purple onion
- 1 tomato
- 1 can of tuna
- 5 pitted black olives
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 pickles
- 10 capers
- 1/2 carrot
- Olive oil
- Sal Island
Step by step
- The first thing to do is chop the tomato, onion, and peppers well.
- Then, pour everything into a container, and add the tuna, a teaspoon of oregano, olive oil and salt.
- We mix everything well.
- Now, we defoliate the endive and place it on a plate.
- Then, we fill each sheet with the preparation.
- Next, we put the half carrot, the gherkins and the capers in a container, we add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and we crush everything with the mixer.
- Afterwards, we pour the sauce over the endives.
- We cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in the center, so that they form a circle.
- Finally, finely chopped black olives and basil leaves can be added.
How to prepare endives with Roquefort?
And if what you want is to try endives with Roquefort cheese, take note:
- 3 or 4 French endives
- 200 grams of Roquefort cheese
- 200 grams of peeled walnuts
- 1/2 glass of cream to cook
- Ground black pepper
- Olive oil
Step by step
- First you have to cut the leaves, and clean them a little with water. Then let them dry.
- In a saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and the Roquefort cheese over low heat. When it has melted, add the cream, and stir well so that everything is well mixed, and turn off the heat.
- Now, place the walnuts on the endive leaves, and spread the Roquefort cheese inside each of them.
Endives contain lactucin and coumarin, which are substances with anti-inflammatory action. In addition, it helps regulate blood sugar levelsand can lower cholesterol level.
Thanks to its high content of vitamin C, strengthens the immune system. And, as if that were not enough, being rich in fiber, fights constipation.
What did you think of this plant? Interesting, right?