CURLY AND ESCAROLE ENDIVE, ITALY TOP IN THE WORLD
Do you know that endives are plants with long traditions but also highly innovative?
SIPO talks about its evolution.
The correct name is Indivia or Cichorium endivia, and it is a leafy vegetable native to the Mediterranean Basin. In some Italian areas it is a traditional side dish used cooked, while in other areas it is used as an integral part for salads, given its high crunchiness. There are two types: Cichorium endivia var. latifolium or Endive escarole and Cichorium endivia var. crispum or curly endive.
The endives tend to have a bitter taste, which the Romans indicated with the term “intybus”. Hence the name that the common chicory originally had: Cichorium intybus. This characteristic led to consider them useful as a medicinal plant: from use against indigestion (or liver problems) to intestinal pain, from kidney inflammation to constipation.Italy is the first producer of curly endive and endive in the world. The first official data date back to 1964, when the cultivated area was about 12 thousand hectares in total. The following decades were characterized by a positive trend, to date the area cultivated with curly endive and escarole in Italy is over 36,000 hectares with a total production of over 2,200,000 quintals. Curly endive and escarole can be grown both in protected cultivation and in open fields, in nature they are plants with a two-year cycle, but which become annuals for commercial needs.
“The collection of the escarole heads – explains Massimiliano Ceccarini CEO SIPO – occurs when the plant has reached full tillering and produces what we call ‘the heart’. At this point the heads are cut by hand at the level of the collar, cleaned of the old and ruined leaves then placed in the appropriate transport containers. From here they reach our warehouses, where there are special cold rooms. It is good practice to harvest with dry tufts, to avoid any problems during storage.