Thursday, 27 June 2013

Joining the Dark Side

This post is a continuation of an Agricultural Bus Tour I went on which was a fantastic (and rather tasty) experience. To start at the beginning of this agri adventure click here. I promise you'll be happy you did!

Van Eekelen Enterprises , second stop on the tour, allowed us to get close and personal with endives. The first time I met this heart healthy veggie was as a pizza topping in Vancouver, a year ago. However, this time around, we were seeing the real thing, not a sliced or diced version, but root and all. Talk about personal.
 
Upon touring the growing and packing facility (and fields) where the B.C Belgium Endive calls home I learnt new things, busted some myths, and got two endives as gifts.

Boxed and ready to go!
 
First off, as with nearly any facet in agricultural, endives are a lot of more work than meets the eye (or the pizza topping). Matter of a fact, it is double the work because that's how endives are grown. Twice. 
 
I'm already tired.
 
Our host, Ria Van Eekelen, explained that endives are planted out in fields as tiny seeds, grow up, are harvested and then replanted in the great, dark indoors, to regrow (the leaves, from the first harvest, are chopped and left as additional compost for the soil).
 
Why?

Because normally endives, like most vegetables, cannot grow year around as not all the seasons suit them. Also: this vegetable has a dark past. On my previous post I mentioned that we would discover "what is so sweet about this sour veggie" and yes, the endive on my pizza was sour. The endives we were given from Van Eekelen were not. At all. The reason being that endives must be grown in the pitch black because, any hint of light causes their leaves to turn green and, instead of green  meaning "go", green leaves are a loud STOP. The endive will now taste sour. Therefore, this chicory root needs darkness to thrive.
 
The biggest question was, before this visit, what to do with endives? Other than as a pizza topping? It so happens that this veggie makes for an amazing "scoop" for dips, can be an hors d'ourves staple or sliced and diced in salads...and maybe another recipe or two (coming up next!)
 
In the meantime, discover the delicious details at Endive.ca and who knows, you may just be brought over to the dark side like me.
 

Next Post Perquisite: You must have an endive (or two) and an appetite for comfort food!