Bitter but light!
A light and refreshing vegetable (made up of nearly 95% water), endives are low in calories. They are rich in fiber, giving them their firm and crunchy texture and helping you feel full.
Raw endives are also:
- a source of vitamin B9 (for cellular renewal, particularly important for pregnant women for fetal development, for growing children, and for convalescents).
They also contain:
- vitamin C
When is the right
time to eat them?
Endives are considered to be a winter vegetable. They are in season from October to April. However, they are becoming less tied to season and are increasingly sold in spring and summer.
Vegetable patch or
Choose your endives well:
- Endive leaves should be tightly closed, and the ends should be yellow in color.
- Green ends signal a lack of freshness and a highly bitter taste.
Properly store your endives:
- Always store them away from light! Otherwise their leaves will begin to turn green.
- In the refrigerator: Four to five days at most in the vegetable drawer.
How to prepare endives
You can eat the entire endive, making it a nearly waste-free vegetable! What’s more, they are incredibly easy to prepare.
Remove any damaged leaves. Quickly rinse the others without soaking them (which makes them even more bitter), then dry them.
Endives can be eaten both raw and cooked. All cooking methods work with endives.
- 10 min: steamed
- 20 min: in boiling water
- 5 min: in the microwave
- 15 to 25 min: sautéed
- 30 min: in the oven
Tip for reducing the bitterness of endives during cooking: Remove the little white cone at the base of the core.
Endives go well with…
Raw: Endives are delicious in salad, by themselves or with apples, walnuts, blue cheese, grapes, or even cabbage, clementines, oranges, avocados, and beets. The possibilities are infinite!
They can also be prepared as appetizers, topped with cheese sauces, tapenade, hummus, or eggplant dip, or topped with smoked salmon.
Cooked: Braised, shredded, sautéed, cooked with cream, or simply steamed, endives go perfectly with white meats, game (their bitterness contrasts with and enhances the stronger taste of the game), fish, and scallops.
Endives also make delightful blended soups.
Braised endives with ham are a classic recipe of French and Belgian cuisine.
Tip for reducing the bitterness of cooked endives: After cooking, sauté the endive in a bit of butter with a sugar cube. The goal is to caramelize the entire surface of the endive. The contrast between the crunchy, sweet skin and the slightly bitter heart inside is delicious.
Starting at age 6 months, children can eat puréed endives mixed with potatoes and other vegetables (carrots, zucchinis, leeks, etc.) to reduce their bitterness. Children also like them in soups, and older children enjoy eating them raw or in well-cooked pieces.
And everyone else
Endives are a versatile vegetable that is easy to digest, sure to delight the taste buds of adults, no matter their age.
Where do they come from?
Origins and varieties
Origins: France is currently the biggest producer of endives in the world. They are also grown in Belgium (their country of origin), the Netherlands, Italy, and Canada, more precisely in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.
Varieties: Endives have two species with interesting agronomical and nutritional characteristics. Cichorium endivia is the ‘true’ endive, with varieties eaten as salad greens, including frisée and escarole. Cichorium intybus, or “common chicory”, includes the witloof or Belgian endive chicory varieties, characterized by the tendency of the root to produce a bud in artificial growing conditions (forcing). Finally, improved varieties of wild chicory include red endives and radicchio.
What about drinking chicory?
The chicory consumed in chicory coffee is the same variety as witloof. This chicory is grown for the flavor of its roasted root, used as an additive to coffee. Recently, polyfructosans (inulin) have been extracted from the plant to be used as a dietary fiber and fructose has been extracted for its sweetening power.