Different Types of Escarole – A Gardener’s Guide

types of escarole
10 min reading time

Are you looking to add some unique leafy greens to your garden? Look no further than escarole! This often-overlooked chicory family member offers a variety of tasty and nutritious options for any gardener. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of escarole, offer tips for growing and harvesting them, and even share some culinary inspiration for using them in your kitchen.

Key Highlights:

  • Escarole is a versatile and nutritious leafy green.
  • There are different varieties of escarole, each with its own unique flavor and growing needs.
  • Growing and harvesting escarole requires specific techniques, but it’s a relatively easy crop to maintain.
  • Escarole can be used in a variety of recipes, from simple salads to complex soups and stews.

Understanding Escarole Basics

Before you start growing escarole in your garden, it’s important to understand the basics of this leafy green. Escarole, also known as broad-leaved endive, is a type of salad green that belongs to the chicory family. It has broad, curly leaves and a slightly bitter taste, making it a popular ingredient in salads and other dishes.

Escarole originated in the Mediterranean region and has been cultivated for thousands of years. Today, it’s a popular crop in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. There are many different varieties of escarole, each with its own unique flavor and appearance.

Escarole is also a nutritious addition to your diet, as it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of raw escarole contains just 15 calories and provides 15% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A and 9% of vitamin C.

What is Escarole?

Escarole is a type of salad green that belongs to the chicory family. It has broad, curly leaves and a slightly bitter taste. Escarole is often used in salads, soups, and other dishes.

Escarole Nutritional Profile

Nutrition FactsAmount per 1 cup (56g)
Calories15
Total Fat0.2g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium16mg
Total Carbohydrate3g
Dietary Fiber1g
Sugars1g
Protein2g
Vitamin D0mcg
Calcium52mg
Iron1mg
Potassium262mg

“Escarole is an incredibly versatile leafy green that’s packed with nutrients. Whether you’re looking to add some crunch to your salads or a slightly bitter flavor to your soups, escarole is a great choice.”

Common Varieties of Escarole

Escarole is a versatile and flavorful leafy green that comes in different varieties, each with unique characteristics. In this section, we will explore the most common types of escarole plants and the different flavors and growing conditions associated with each.

Type of EscaroleDescriptionFlavor ProfileGrowing Conditions
Escarole FriséeThis type of escarole has a curly and frizzy texture with light green leaves. It is also known as curly endive.Slightly bitter flavor with a hint of nuttiness.Requires a cooler climate and partial shade. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged.
Escarole Broadleaf BatavianThis type of escarole has broad, flat leaves that are light green in color. It is also known as Batavian endive.Milder flavor compared to other types of escarole with a slight bitterness and subtle sweetness.Thrives in cooler temperatures, but can handle some heat. Needs well-draining soil and regular watering.
Escarole Green BatavianThis type of escarole has similar broad, flat leaves to the Batavian variety, but with a darker green color.Moderate bitterness with a slightly sweet taste and nutty undertones.Requires full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil with regular watering.
Escarole NatachaThis type of escarole has a compact head and curly leaves that are light green in color.Mild flavor with a slightly sweet and nutty taste.Thrives in cooler temperatures and partial shade. Requires moist but well-draining soil.

These are just a few of the most common escarole varieties, but there are many more to explore. When choosing which types of escarole to grow, consider your personal taste preferences and the growing conditions in your area. Experiment with different varieties to find the ones that work best for you.

Broadleaf Escarole

Image with types of escarole.
Source: johnnyseeds.com

One of the most widely recognized types of escarole is Broadleaf Escarole. This variety features broad, crinkly leaves that are tender and slightly bitter. It is often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a bed for grilled meats.

When selecting Broadleaf Escarole, look for leaves that are a bright green color and free from any wilting or discoloration. The leaves should be firm to the touch and have a slightly crisp texture.

NutrientAmount per 100g
Calories17
Protein1.8g
Fat0.2g
Carbohydrates3.3g

Broadleaf Escarole is a good source of vitamins A and K, as well as calcium and potassium.

When storing Broadleaf Escarole, rinse the leaves and dry them thoroughly. Wrap the leaves in a paper towel and place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to five days.

Try using Broadleaf Escarole as a base for a refreshing summer salad. Top it with juicy cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Batavian Escarole

Batavian escarole is a large variety of escarole that is known for its crisp, juicy leaves and slightly milder flavor compared to other types of escarole. This variety is highly favored in Mediterranean and European cuisines, where it is commonly used in hearty soups and stews.

Batavian escarole leaves are broad and frilly, with a light green color and a slightly crunchy texture that makes them perfect for salads. They have a mild, slightly bitter taste that pairs well with a range of flavors, making this variety one of the most versatile types of escarole.

How to Choose and Store Batavian Escarole

When choosing batavian escarole, look for leaves that are crisp and fresh, with a vibrant green color. Avoid leaves that are wilted or have brown patches, as they may be past their prime.

Store batavian escarole in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. This will help to keep the leaves fresh and crisp for up to a week.

Culinary Uses of Batavian Escarole

Batavian escarole is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. Its mild flavor and crisp texture make it a great addition to salads, while its heartiness makes it perfect for soups and stews.

One popular dish that highlights the flavor and texture of batavian escarole is Italian Wedding Soup, which features meatballs, pasta, and batavian escarole in a savory broth. It can also be sautéed with garlic and olive oil as a delicious side dish.

Nutritional Benefits of Batavian Escarole

Batavian escarole is packed with nutrition, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and iron. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants, which can help to boost immunity and lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Did you know? Batavian escarole is also known as Batavia lettuce or French endive.

Frisée Escarole

Frisée escarole, also known as curly endive, is a popular variety of escarole that adds texture and bitterness to dishes. Its delicate, curly leaves are perfect for salads and pair well with tangy dressings and bold flavors.

This type of escarole is commonly used in French cuisine, particularly in the classic salad Lyonnaise, which features frisée leaves, bacon, croutons, and a poached egg.

CharacteristicsCulinary Applications
Delicate, curly leavesSalads
Adds bitternessPairs well with tangy dressings and bold flavors
Commonly used in French cuisineLyonnaise salad

“Frisée adds a nice depth of flavor and crunch to salads. Its bitterness is the perfect contrast to sweeter ingredients like fruit or roasted vegetables.”

To prepare frisée, remove any wilted or discolored leaves and rinse thoroughly. Trim the stems if necessary and dry the leaves in a salad spinner or with paper towels.

Store frisée in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, ideally wrapped with a slightly damp paper towel to keep it fresh. It should last for up to a week.

Try This Recipe: Frisée Salad with Crispy Pancetta and Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 head frisée, washed and dried
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook pancetta until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, sauté shallot until softened. Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour vinaigrette over frisée and toss to coat. Top with crispy pancetta and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Culinary Uses of Escarole

Escarole is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, adding both flavor and nutrients. Here are some of the most common culinary uses of escarole:

Salads

Escarole is a popular component of salads, particularly in Mediterranean cuisine. Its slightly bitter taste adds a unique flavor to salads, and its sturdy leaves make it a perfect base for salad bowls. You can pair escarole with sweet fruits like oranges or strawberries, or with savory ingredients like grilled chicken or steak.

Sautés

Escarole can be sautéed with garlic and olive oil for a simple, yet delicious side dish. Its tender leaves wilt down quickly, making it a quick and easy addition to any meal.

Soups

Escarole is a common ingredient in soups, particularly Italian wedding soup. Its slightly bitter taste balances out the richness of the broth, and its tender leaves add texture to the soup. You can also use escarole in bean soups or minestrone for added flavor and nutrition.

Braises

Escarole can be braised with onions, garlic, and white wine for a flavorful side dish. Braising the escarole softens the leaves, making them tender and delicious. You can also braise escarole with chicken or pork for a one-pot meal.

When using escarole in your dishes, it’s important to wash it thoroughly to remove any dirt or grit. Simply rinse the leaves under cold water and dry them well before using. Escarole also has a short shelf life, so it’s best to use it within a few days of purchasing for optimal freshness.

Health Benefits of Escarole

Escarole is not only a tasty addition to your dishes but also a nutrient-packed leafy green. Here are some of the health benefits of including escarole in your diet:

NutrientAmount per 100g% Daily Value
Vitamin A1428 IU29%
Vitamin K231.3 µg289%
Vitamin C6.5 mg11%
Fiber3.1 g12%
Potassium314 mg9%
Folate73 µg18%

As you can see, escarole is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, all of which are important for maintaining healthy immune function and strong bones. Escarole is also rich in fiber, which promotes digestive health and can aid in weight loss. Additionally, the folate in escarole is essential for healthy fetal development during pregnancy.

But that’s not all! Escarole also contains antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein that protect your body against harmful free radicals that can damage your cells and cause chronic diseases.

Incorporating escarole into your diet is an easy and delicious way to boost your nutrient intake and reap the numerous health benefits it offers.

Conclusion

As we conclude this gardener’s guide to the different types of escarole, we hope you’ve found valuable insights to help you grow and appreciate this leafy green. From the basics of what escarole is to the common varieties you can plant, you’re now equipped with the knowledge needed to start cultivating these tasty greens.

We’ve also covered essential growing tips and techniques, including harvesting and storing your escarole plants. Finally, we explored the culinary uses

of escarole, providing you with recipe ideas and inspiration for incorporating this nutritious green into your meals.

In summary, whether you’re an experienced gardener or new to cultivating leafy greens, you can now add escarole to your gardening repertoire. Remember the tips and tricks we’ve shared, and enjoy the unique flavors that each variety of escarole offers.

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