Belgian endive was mistakenly discovered in the early 19th century by a man in Belgium who had forgotten he had left chicory roots in the dark warm cellar
Belgian endive was mistakenly discovered in the early 19th century by a man in Belgium who had forgotten he had left chicory roots in the dark warm cellar. The chicory had sprouted fat, yellow leaves; the man tasted them and found they had a great deal of flavor thus he began growing them.
Where is Belgian Endive Grown and How to Grow Belgian Endive?
Belgian endive can be grown just about anywhere; it grows quite well in California where the winters are mild and the climate is perfect to yield a nice crop of Belgian endive. It is a cool weather green and is generally planted in the summer and then transplanted into wet sand and forced to sprout during the cold months of the year.
Belgian endive is grown in steps. It begins by growing witloof chicory, by seed in the ground, in the middle of summer. They should be thinned, weeded, and kept watered and grown until you are able to grasp them. The chicory should be left in the ground through several frosts but dug up before the ground becomes too frozen. The harvested plants should be placed in a box with a rich peat moss and left in a cool place until it is time to force the Belgian endive to grow. To force the endive to grow the plants should be placed in pots of soil and then covered with sand or sawdust; the pots should be kept in an area that is between 50-60 degrees F to force the sprouts. It generally takes two to three weeks to sprout the Belgian endive once they have been placed in the correct temperature to force the sprouting.
Nutrients Found in Belgian Endive
Belgian endive is an excellent source for Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin to help with good eye health and vision and may protect the eyes from getting cataracts. It is also a good source of folate, which is beneficial to pregnant women to help protect against birth defects. Belgian endive is also high in Vitamin C which is an important vitamin in boosting the immune system and help fight off infections. It is also a good source of calcium to help build strong teeth and bones. Belgian endive is an excellent food to eat to help protect against heart related diseases as it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. It is also an excellent food to eat for dietary fiber which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Healthy ways to Prepare Belgian Endive
Belgian endive can be served raw or cooked; certainly the most nutrients will be taken in if eaten raw by adding it to salads. It has been used in stir fried meals as well as sautéed with chicken and mushrooms for a healthy and satisfying meal. Belgian endive has a bit of a bitter taste that can be balanced by adding it to apples, beets, oranges, or grapefruit served with a dressing of choice.
Health Benefits of Belgian Endive
Belgian endive is a good source of Vitamin E and in a Harvard Medical School publication states that Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to stabilize damaged molecules and is said that diets containing good sources of Vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as prostate cancer.
This is an excellent food to help lower and maintain the correct level of bad cholesterol which is beneficial for a healthy cardiovascular system. It is a very good source for folate which is beneficial in helping to protect against birth defects. Belgian endive also contains a good amount of Vitamin C which is essential in having a strong and healthy immune system. Because it is a good source of calcium, adding this food to your diet can help strengthen your bones and teeth. Belgian endive is an excellent source for getting dietary fiber which is essential to keep a healthy digestive system and protect against constipation. Belgian endive has been used medicinally to help dissolve kidney stones, has been used as a laxative, and is a natural diuretic.