Growing heirloom endive seeds in your garden
- Thrives in bright, sunny growing areas
- A nutritious leafy green that comes from the chicory plant family
- Crisp, fresh, and clean flavor
- A cool season annual, great for container gardens
The Best Heirloom Endive to Grow in your Garden
Heirloom endive is a green that belongs to the chicory family, which also contains escarole, radicchio, frisee, and curly endive. It has a crisp texture and a nutty flavor with a mild bitterness. When endive is cooked, the flavor gets sweeter and more nutty. Because of its crunchy character, many people love eating endive raw in salads or as a substitute for chips. Vitamins B, C, and K, as well as minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, folate, and selenium, are abundant in various varieties of endive.
How to cook with heirloom endive
If you want to grow heirloom endive but don't know what to do with it, there are a variety of wonderful methods to use it in the kitchen. Serve a frisee salad with a poached egg or under a fresh grilled fish, vegetable, or tofu steak. Finish with a splash of maple syrup after sautéing the dark outer leaves in olive oil or butter. Once you've mastered the art of preparing endive, you'll be able to use it in a variety of meals.
When to plant heirloom endive seeds
Though heirloom endive seeds can be planted in both the spring and fall, fall planting is preferable since frost improves the flavor and reduces the bitterness of the plant. Container gardens are an excellent fit for endive seeds. Grow your endive in a pot on your patio or deck, close enough to add to your dinner salad! Though endive has a reputation for being difficult to grow, our frisee, escarole, and ruffec are far easier to grow than the tedious Belgian endive type.
When growing heirloom endive, start the seeds indoors as early as eight to ten weeks before transplanting for the greatest results. Keep the seeds warm and moist in egg cartons or tiny pots while they germinate. Once the risk of frost has gone, move the seedlings outside.
Harvesting the best heirloom endive plants
When the leaves are about five to six inches tall, endive can be picked 80 to 90 days after planting. When harvesting the endive, cut it just above the soil level for a continuous harvest. Harvesting in the fall should be done before the first frost. Your endive crop will be ruined by frost.
For more information about growing, planting, and caring for heirloom endive seeds, see the Endive Seeds Planting Guide.