suggests we stock our shopping carts with these fresh fat-fighting picks this winter. Here's
These little guys are low in calories and also pack a punch of Vitamins A and C; potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. You see them most in salads but you can cook them too. Try slow-cooking them or throwing them in soups.
tells us that
- Endive, commonly popular as escarole, is a green leafy-vegetable with a hint of bitter flavor. Nevertheless, this well-known salad plant is much more than just a leafy green, packed with numerous health benefiting plant nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, etc.
- Botanically this perennial herbaceous leafy plant belongs to the Asteraceae (daisy) family, of the genus Cichorium and is closely related to chicory, radicchio and Belgian endive (witloof). Its scientific name: Cichorium endivia.
- Endive is native to Asia Minor region. This cool-season crop requires well-drained fertile soil to flourish. There are two main cultivar varieties exist: curly-endive (frisee, cichorium endivia, var crispum) with curly narrow leaves and Escarole or scarole (cichorium endivia, var latifolia) with broad leaves. Escarole leaves have spine like-dentate margins (dandelion or lettuce like) with thick stalks. Its leaves are less bitter than narrow, curly, intensely bitter-taste of "frisee".
- Belgian endive or witloof is a popular winter season vegetable in Europe. It is a type of vegetable with smooth cream-colored leaves compressed into a compact 10 to 12 cm long heads.
- Endive is one of the very low calorie leafy vegetable. 100 g fresh leaves provide just 17 calories; however, it contributes about 8% of daily-required intake (DRI) of fiber.
- Current research studies suggest that high inulin and fiber content in escarole help reduce glucose and LDL cholesterol levels in diabetes and obese patients.
- Endive is enriched with good amount Vitamin A and ß-carotene. Both compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Carotenes convert to vitamin A in the body. Furthermore, vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. In addition, it is also essential vitamin for good eye-sight. Consumption of natural vegetables/greens rich in vitamin A helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Further, it contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Additionally, escarole is a good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron, and potassium. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.
- Fresh endive is available all around the year in the markets. Choose crispy, tender leafy tops. Avoid tough, yellow discolored leaves.
- Store greens in plastic bag inside refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 3-4 days.
- Wash fresh endive in cool running water. Discard yellow or any discolored leaves. Remove tough lower ends. Chop the leaves using paring knife.
- Curly endive is generally available in the stores as blanched pale "frisee". Blanching removes bitterness from the leaves and enhances their flavor. Blanching is generally done by avoiding sunlight. Cover the plants for 2-4 weeks with inverted bushel baskets or plastic plates.
- Wash them thoroughly in cold water before use. Trim the stem end with a sharp knife.
Some serving tips:
- Frisee especially features in popular French salad Lyonnaise.
- Escarole is used in salads, soups (escarole-bean soup) and in sautéed recipes.
- Witloof is used raw in salads or braised and served as a vegetable.
NOTE: Endive is widely consumed all over Europe and in some American states. Although this green leafy vegetable contains high concentrations of bitter glycosides and inulin, no known side effects so far notified when eaten in moderate.
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Braised Belgian Endive
6 Belgian endive, rinsed,patted dry and root end cut off ( about 1 1/4 lbs)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried herbs ( oregano, basil, rosemary or marjoram)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, let it get warm (melt) and add the endive (whole not leaves separated), sugar, lemon juice,& chicken stock.
2. Bring to a boil, cover pan and braise the endive for 3 minutes.
3. Turn 1/4 way round braise for 3 more minutes, turn a quarter again continue to brais for 3 minutes and then turn the endive to the last quarter and braise 3 minutes (a total of 12 minutes and braising all four sides).
4. Uncover the pan, raise heat to medium High.
5. Add herbs, parsley cook for an additional 2 minutes, pan juices should have reduced by about 2/3.
6. Serve ASAP.
Nutritional info per serving:
Calories - 118.6
Total Fat - 4.0 g
Saturated Fat - 2.1 g
Cholesterol - 7.6 mg
Sodium - 139.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates - 18.2 g
Dietary Fibre - 15.9 g
Sugars - 1.7 g
Protein - 6.8 g
A very low glycemic index food.