Endive varieties are divided mainly by leaf shape. Unlike the finely cut leaves of fris̩e, escarole has wider, flatter leaves. Both types grow in a rosette form around a center that can be blanched to increase sweetness and reduce the bitterness. Sow Broadleaf Batavian escarole seeds and bundle the tips of the outer leaves with an elastic band to cut off sunlight from the center. Or fix a plastic disc in place over the center of each plant.
Large, broad in shape, with slightly twisted, lettuce-like leaves form tightly packed heads with creamy white hearts. This bulky heirloom dates back to the 1860s, and simply begs to be tossed with bacon or croutons under a hot salad dressing.
Matures in 85 days. (Open-pollinated seeds)
The chicory family includes the food plants endive and radicchio, which range in flavour from bitter to sweet. All varieties become sweeter, and lose much of their bitterness, when cooked. Try a hot oil salad dressing over endive, or a barbecued head of radicchio! Follow along with this handy How to Grow Endive and Radicchio Guide and grow food.