Endive

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 23. Apr. 2020
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​Endive's distinct, peppery taste and elegant appearance makes it a perfect snacking or salad lettuce. 

endive

Endive…

  • ...can help you lose weight. The soluble dietary fiber inulin in endive keeps the blood sugar level stable, acting as a natural appetite suppressant. Endive is also very low in calories and fat.
  • ...strengthens your immune system. Inulin in endive nourishes healthy gut bacteria, thus boosting the immune system health. A vitamin C content of around 10 mg per 100 g of endive provides additional support for the immune system.
  • ...can lower bad cholesterol. Those who have too much LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol” in their blood, can benefit from integrating endive into their diet. The soluble fiber inulin binds to fats in the system, thus helping lower cholesterol levels.
  • ...supports healthy vision. Endive has 572 micrograms of vitamin A per 100 g, which supports eye health. Endive is also a good source of retinol, which has been shown to strengthen the eyes as well as support skin health.
  • ...are good for your digestion. The bitter substance intybin is abundant in endive, and promotes the health of organs such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and intestines.
  • ...supply you with minerals. Endive contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, helping to support healthy teeth, bones and muscles.
  • ...are an incredibly diverse ingredient. While most people are familiar with endive mainly in salads, the vegetable is delicious when paired with cheese, pasta, rice dishes and much more.
  • ...are not for everyone. The bitter compounds in chicory make it super healthy, however lead to a unique taste which some people might find too intense. If you’re looking for a milder taste, try cutting out the stock, where the majority of the bitter substance intybin is located.

What You Should Know About Endive

When the weather gets too cold for most vegetables to grow, it’s time for the endive to shine. Endive harvest best in cold temperatures with minimum sunlight. Endive that are grown indoors are often harvested in the dark in air-conditioned rooms. 

Origins

Wild endive was originally grown through North Africa, Asia and in parts of Europe. Endive was first consumed in the late 19th century in Belgium, when farmers began to cultivate the tender, pale shoots during hard winter months. 

Seasonality

Endive’s peak seasons fall during the winter months. Generally endive is available to purchase yearround, but tends to be most delicious when purchased from October to April.

Flavor

White endive has a pleasantly tart, bittersweet taste, while red endive has a slightly milder but spicier flavor.

Find all our endive recipes here.

How Healthy is Endive?

Endive is a staple of many weight-loss diets for good reason: it has one of the lowest calorie and fat contents of any vegetable.However, it is also rich in beneficial ingredients such as vitamins A, B and C, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The endive’s bitter substances are also great for the stomach and intestines, and its high inulin levels help support healthy intestinal flora.

Endive Nutritional Info (100 g)  
Calories 16
Protein 1.2 g
Fat 0.3 g
Carbohydrates 2.3 g
Fiber 1.3 g


Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

When shopping for endive, sight is your most valuable tool. The better-looking the endive the better-tasting it will be. Bypass chicory with brown spots or wilted outer leaves. The greener the endive the more bitter the flavor, so if you’re looking for a milder taste, stick with endive that are lighter green in color.  Whether you choose large or small endive is a matter of preparation; large endive sprouts are ideal for stuffing, while smaller tender ones are best suited for salads or for steaming.

Storage

Endive should be eaten as quickly as possible. In the meantime, store it in a cool place protected from light or the refrigerator, where it can last for about 4 days.

Preparation

A short rinse is sufficient for cleaning endive, as the vegetable’s particular cultivation methods mean they’re rarely dirty with sand or soil. 

If you like the taste of endive but find it a bit too strong, there are a few tricks for producing amore mild flavor. Submerging the endive in warm water for a few minutes will mellow out the flavor, or you can remove the endive heart, which contains the majority of its bitter substances. 

Remember to never prepare endive in iron or aluminium pots, woks or pans, as the metal will turn them black!

What To Make With Endive

With its unique bitter flavor, endive is an ideal companion to heavier winter dishes such as pork, duck or beef stew. Endive is also delicious in lighter dishes as well, especially when pared with citrus fruits in light starter salads. Mandarins or oranges go especially well with endive’s flavor, rounding out its pepperiness and reducing the bitterness. 

FAQs

What spices go well with endive?

White pepper goes well with endive, as do more exotic spices such as curry or cardamom. If you want to cut the endive’s bitter taste, you can also experiment with sugar, honey or fruit juice.

How long should endive be steamed?

To prevent endive from losing its bite completely, it should be cut into quarters or halves and sautéed for just a few minutes under high heat. 

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