Chicory & Endive

If you've found the information on the seed packet to be sadly lacking, this is the place to find out more, or add your comments!

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cevenol jardin
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Chicory & Endive

Postby cevenol jardin » Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:17 pm

I've picked this as a technical subject because of the confusion i have found around the naming of this group. The french call chicory Endives and the Italians call red chicory Radicchio. So here goes. It is also an excellent crop which we are enjoying now.

Plant Profile Chicory & Endive
Endive (Cichorium endiva) and Chicory (Cichorium intybus)are members of the Composite (Asteraceae) family. Cultivated chicory varieties include: the red round heading sometimes called radicchios, leafy cutting chicories, dandelion chicories and forcing chicories. Endives; include curly endive, often called frisée, and escaroles or loose-heading endives. Chicories and Endives are an excellent choice, for a year round harvest garden, as they provided both salad and cooking leaves throughout the autumn, winter and early spring months.

Endive Cichorium endivia

Endive has two forms, narrow-leaved endive called curly endive and the broad-leaved endive which is often called escarole.
Curly Endive or Frisée slightly bitter, the centre is often blanched to reduce bitterness and is very popular in France. Tolerant of heat as well as cold and therefore used for summer and winter cropping. Frisée keeps well for up to a week in the fridge without deteriorating.
Broad Leaf Endive also called Batavian, Scarole or Escarole with large broad leaves. It is very hardy and makes an excellent winter crop. The centre is often blanched to reduce bitterness. In france it is usually served on its own with a chervil or parsley dressing.

Chicory Cichorium intybus
There are 4 types of cultivated chicory
Radicchio or Red Leaf Chicory – Radicchio is a staple of the Italian garden, and is traditionally used in antipastos, salads, and risottos. Radicchios are commonly named after their Italian cities of origin.
Forcing Chicory – Confusingly called Endive in France, or Belgian Chicory the most famous variety being ’Witloof’. Forcing chicories are grown completely in the dark for their conical blanched hearts, known as chicons in France.
Non-Forcing or Leaf Chicory – or sugarloaf types producing large lettuce like heads for Autumn cropping.
Dandelion Chicory which resemble long dandelion leaves and are very bitter even when blanched

Site & Soil
Full sun or partial shade in rich compact soil.

Cultivation
Chicories and edives prefer cool growing conditions and are sweetest harvested in the autumn or early spring. Endives can be spring sown, but chicories, in particular the hardy radicchios, tend to bolt in summer heat and are best sown midsummer for an autumn harvest or early autumn for a spring harvest. All can be direct sown or transplanted like lettuce.
Spacing
Sow direct in drills 30cm apart, cover with 1cm of fine soil and firm. Thin when large enough to use the thinnings in salad to 20-40cm apart depending on the variety.
Sow in trays, pots or cells and transplant when 4-6 weeks old to their final spacing. This method is particularly useful when they are to be planted out undercover.
Care
Very little care is needed and few pests seem to bother chicories. Keep moist and weeded and for extra sweetness blanch the hearts by putting a lightproof cloch over the heart. I use an upturned plastic pot.
Cultivating Forcing Chicory
May Sow direct in lines 25cm apart, cover with 1cm of fine soil and firm. Keep plants moist and weeds down.
October lift the plants cut the leaves back to 3cm and the roots to 18-20cm. Place the roots in a pot or large tray full of soil, water and cover with straw, newspaper or black plastic to exclude light. These pots can be prepared and kept dormant in a cool place such as a cellar or potting shed. When you are ready to force the chicons bring as may pots as you need into the house and put them in a dark warm place 15-18c (under the kitchen sink is ideal). The roots should take around 3-4 weeks to produce white, compact chicons. Harvest the chicons by cutting off from the root.

Culinary

Endives and Chicories are grown for their bittersweet flavour, their succulent crisp textures and sturdy leaves. Most popular in France and Italy where they are eaten raw in salads, sautéed, braised with onions, wine, and broths, grilled, or added to soups. They make wonderful winter salads dressed with a strong mustard dressing or a walnut oil & balsamic vinegar dressing or a fruity olive oil, garlic lemon & salt dressing. They go particularly well with beetroot, chicken, blue cheese, goats cheese, walnuts, cooked or cured pork, chicken livers, grated carrots and raw onions.

Nutrition
All members of this genus are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron.

Recommended Varieties
Endive Frisee, costa blanca
Endive Scarole, Ronde Verte a Coeur Plein
Forcing Chicory, Witloof De Bruxelles, or modern hybrids particularly Zoom which has a firmer head and faster growth than the old Brussels ones which Allan abandoned many years ago.
Chicory Radicchio Palla Rosa are the round head variety and are the hardiest withstanding temperatures down to -15c
Chicory Radicchio Palla Rosa Variag. di Chioggia same as a bove with variagated red and white markings.
Dandilion Chicory, Barbe de Capucin
Last edited by cevenol jardin on Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hybrid chicories

Postby Allan » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:34 pm

Could you edit into the forcing chicory the modern hybrids particularly Zoom which has a firmer head and faster growth than the old Brussels ones which we abandoned many years ago. Otherwise an excellent contribution.
Allan
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cevenol jardin
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Postby cevenol jardin » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:47 pm

Thanks Allan
Have added Zoom. Not come accross it will try that one definately next year.
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Postby alan refail » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:56 pm

CV

An excellent article. I have been growing both endive and chicory for years and would not be without.
Here are a few comments to fill out your article:

Both endive and chicory will bolt in summer, especially if transplanted. However, both are excellent as a thickly sown "cut-and-come-again" crop at any time of the year.

Pests Mature overwintered chicory and endive tend to attract aphids in mid-spring. Otherwise no problems. Even slugs are not that keen on them (they will shelter in the hearts, but not eat them).

Varieties
Frisee - Frisee de Louviers, Ione, Pancaliere, Wallone

Scarole - Grosse bouclee, Cornet de Bordeaux, Scarole Verte, Scarole Blonde, Samy, Verte a coeur plein

Red Chicory (Radicchio - pronounced Rad-ick-yo, not Rah-deech-eeo as favoured by TV chefs) - Rossa di Treviso (loose-leaved), Palla rossa di Verona (many named varieties), Orchidea rossa

Variegated chicory - Variegata di Castelfranco,Variegata di Chioggia, Variegata di Lusia

Dandelion chicory - more properly Cicoria selvatica - wild chicory - Selvatica da campo, Barba di Capuccino

Green chicory -
Pan di Zucchero (Pain de sucre, Sugarloaf), Elmo, Catalogna, Bianca di Chioggia, Zuccherina di Trieste, Bianca di Milano

Others not to be forgotten - Grumolo verde and Grumolo Rossa (beautiful rosettes in spring - very hardy). Catalogna a puntarelle (grown for its tender flower shoots in spring)

If you haven't tried chicory and endive, give them a try.

Alan

...and before I forget, Spadona for sowing any time and cutting as a seedling crop. I remember a restaurant near Trieste years ago boasting that the new chicory was in - Il radicchio nuovo e arrivato. The equivalent of Le Beaujolais Nouveau for the wine buffs.
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Postby Johnboy » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:15 pm

Hi Alan,
According to my Italian friend it is pronounced
Radeekio but who cares what I wanted to say is
that R.di trevesso can be forced like Chicory over the winter months and gives some very tasty eating.
It gives individual leaves not a chicon.
Giulio keeps one plant for seed and from the seeds I gave him about 15 years ago he has never had any from me or bought any in this time.
JB.
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Postby alan refail » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:48 pm

Johnboy

I agree entirely on the pronunciation of Radicchio - I was just trying something that would work in English spelling.
Just to get my own back, it's Rossa di Treviso (Treviso is in the NE of Italy). Giulio is spot on about forcing Treviso.

Alan
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Postby Johnboy » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:32 am

Touche pussy cat!
Alan,
They say that he who leads with his chin is bound to get it smacked. I guess my chin was protruding! I was obviously having a senior moment! I am aware where Treviso is but do you know where Choggia is?
JB.
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Postby alan refail » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:15 am

Bore da (or Buon giorno) Johnboy

Chioggia is just South of Venice. It also has canals, but is a lot less touristy that Venice. The fields of chicory have to be seen to be believed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chioggia

Alan
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Postby dewwex » Fri May 04, 2007 2:59 am

excellent post people!!
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alan refail
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Postby alan refail » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:20 am

Dewwex

Glad you appreciated the posts, and hope you are growing some endive and chicory, if you don't already.

Alan
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
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Re: Chicory & Endive

Postby Primrose » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:58 pm

i've grown the frissee and open leaved varieties for some years now. I find it pretty hardy and often don't have to cover it up during winter so it makes a useful winter salad crop. I also start off a few seedlings in late autumn and keep covered with a large water bottle cloche until I plant them out in March. I've got a really splendid batch of plants this year which should last me for some time.
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