Native to the East Indies, endive and escarole were introduced into Egypt and Greece at a very early period and references to them appear in history. The plants were brought to America by colonists. Endive is closely related botanically to chicory and the two names are sometimes incorrectly used as synonyms. Escarole is another name for a type of endive with broad leaves and a well-blanched heart. The word “endive” is used to designate plants with narrow, finely divided, curly leaves. These greens are used raw in salad, or may be cooked like spinach. The slightly bitter flavor adds zest to a mixed salad.
Crispness, freshness, and tenderness are essential factors of quality. Wilted plants, especially those that have brown leaves, are undesirable, as are plants with tough, coarse leaves. Such leaves will be excessively bitter. Tenderness can be determined by breaking or twisting a leaf. In the unblanched condition leaves should be green, but when blanched, center leaves should be creamy white or yellowish white.
Therapeutic Value of Endives & Escarole
Escarole and endive are very high in vitamin A, and work very well in ridding the body of infections. They are both high in iron and potassium and are alkaline in reaction. Escarole and endive are both useful as an appetite stimulant because of their bitter ingredients. Escarole also helps to activate the bile. They are best when used raw.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND (both escarole and endive)
Vitamin A: 13,170 I.U.
Ascorbic Acid: 42mg