Each month I make the commitment to vary my diet and experience new, or, more likely, forgotten foods that are tasty andoffer added health benefits. This month I have decided to focus on the Belgian Endive. Endives are high in dietary fiber and vitamins A, C. Endives are gradually gaining popularity in the US now, and are usually easy to find at the grocery.
Here are some facts from Charles Stuart Platkin of DietDetective.com, including pairings, selective and storage tips:
Appearance: Long, textured, broad, thick leaves. Lighter green at the core end, darker and somewhat leafy at the tips.
Taste: Slightly bitter, with a crisp and sturdy in texture. “It can be blanched to make the taste more delicate. Use endive with other, sweeter ingredients, like citrus and apples, to counteract its natural bitterness,” Mullins says.
Health Perks: Good source of vitamin A. Also has potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Nutrition Stats: (1 cup, chopped) 8 calories, 0.1g fat, 1.67g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 0.62g protein, 1,084 IU vitamin A, 3.2mg vitamin C, 26mg calcium.
Use: “Belgian Endive is perfect for a salad that lacks texture. It is excellent for warm salads because its sturdy leaves won’t easily wilt,” says Mullins.
Purchasing: Available year-round. “Always purchase the palest color endive you can find because the paler the color the less bitter the flavor,” says Mullins.
Also make sure the heads are crisp and firm.
Storage: “Endive grows best in darkness and should be kept away from light even in the refrigerator. Store in a brown paper bag in the veggie bin. If your head of endive looks weak, strengthen it by placing the head in water,” Mullins says. Make sure to rinse in cold water prior to use.