What a beautiful autumn we are enjoying. The last of our cherry tomatoes are ripening and make a perfect addition to my endive salads. I have one endive plant left to use… it was placed in the ground next to the house so is still looking very tasty. It has had its first touch of frost, which I believe leads to a sweeter taste.
I will be taking a break from this column to allow me additional time to concentrate on my family tree and the many documents I found during our two visits to Italy this past year. But, before I take this break, let's talk about endives.
The following comes from: https://theitaliangardener.com.au (Franchi Seeds) in an article called:
Indivia Riccia vs Indivia Scarola. What’s the difference?
Endives are a species of chicory that come in two varieties ‘endivia crispum’ also known as curly-leaf endive or Riccia in Italian, and ‘endivia latifolum’ commonly known as Escarole or Scarola in Italian.
Endives originated in the Mediterranean region during prehistoric times, however wild chicories also grow in Europe, Western Asia, and Africa. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all cultivated broad-leafed endive and the curly-leafed type developed later.
Indivia Riccia is characterised by a narrow, finely cut, curly leaf and forms a loose head. The leaves in the centre are light green and mild in flavour graduating to a darker green, bitter outer leaf.
The Indivia Scarola has a wider, smooth, rounded leaf and forms a flattened head. The leaves are creamy yellow in the center graduating to dark green on the lightly ruffled edges. Scarola is usually less bitter tasting than Riccia.
Both types of endives form a rosette-like crown ready for harvest in the autumn-winter, if left to go to seed they will produce flowers in the spring.
Indivia Riccia has a slower growth and is generally more sensitive to cold than Indivia Scarola.
Both species of Indivia are cultivated throughout Italy, particularly Scarola being popular in Italian cookery—especially in soups where it is quite mild in flavor after cooking.
My greenhouse is starting to produce its first winter lettuces just as the endives are coming to an end. Doing well in the greenhouse are the geranium “cuttings” and my pimento pepper plants some of which will be going into year three of their life span.
Life-long Gardener Don Rampone shares his tips and advice for gardening