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This ancient family includes popular continental greens, most preferring cool weather and evenly moist soil. You may sow in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked, when the soil is about 45°F. However, late summer sowing for fall and winter harvest may be more successful. Wild at heart, most Chicories prefer to be direct-sown in moderately fertile soil; too much added fertilizer, especially nitrogen, can cause them to bolt. With all varieties, keep soil lightly moist until seedlings emerge. Chicories have varying degrees of bitter flavor and their dense texture adds desirable dimension to salads. Deer resistant.

Average seed life: 2 years.

To broaden the range of texture and flavor in your garden and salads, don't forget to plant some of these specialty Salad Greens: Arugula, Asian Greens, Chervil, Claytonia, Cress, Dandelion Greens, Endive, Escarole, Frisee, Giant Red Mustard, Komatsuna, Lettuce, Mâche, Mibuna, Minutina, Mizuna, Orach, Radicchio, Salad Blends, Sorrel, Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Tatsoi.

Mentoponto Full-hearted Escarole

Mentoponto Full-hearted Escarole Mentoponto Full-hearted Escarole Mentoponto Full-hearted Escarole Mentoponto Full-hearted Escarole
60 days. Well-known to Italians as Scarola, Escarole is a broad open-leafed Chicory long popular in ethnic comfort food. This special Italian variety has a delicious, piquant flavor and a wonderfully crisp texture. It produces a large semi-erect head with elongated, wide, wavy green leaves and a creamy-golden heart. More heat tolerant than Lettuce yet very cold hardy, Mentoponto can be grown year round in many climates. Harvest young in the summer for the best flavor but let it mature fully in the fall and winter. One of our favorite comfort-food soups to make is Chicken Soup with Escarole and Beans. Dice a large yellow Onion, two Celery stalks and two Carrots in two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add two minced Garlic cloves: saute while stirring. Add six cups of warm chicken broth. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. With your kitchen scissors, cut fine ribbons of Escarole into the soup pot (eyeball it: two cups or more, it virtually disintegrates into the soup). Add one cup of prepared white cannellini Beans, one cup of prepared red kidney Beans and two cups of diced cooked chicken. Bring it almost to a boil again, then reduce heat back to simmer. Add a half cup of orzo and simmer for about 15 minutes until the orzo plumps up and is almost tender. Serve piping hot with grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread. (OP.)

One packet of about 500 seeds
Catalog #2985
  • Buy 10 for $3.40 each and save 10%
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Availability: In stock


Gardening Tips

Direct-Sow Basics

Endive-Escarole Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
Row Spacing:12”-18”
Plant Spacing:10”-12”
Days to Germination:5-12 days
Germination Temperature:45°-60°F

Endive\Escarole is easily grown in cool weather. Sow directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Endive\Escarole may also be started as transplants 5 to 8 weeks before setting out. Sow thinly using sterilized seed starter mix, cover lightly and water. Provide light, moderate warmth and good ventilation. A second crop may be sown in late summer to early fall. Grow Endive\Escarole quickly with plenty of moisture for the most pleasing taste. Most will bolt (go to seed) and taste a bit unpleasant in hot weather. Amend the soil with moderate amounts of compost and a sprinkling of organic fertilizer. To blanch the tender centers (pale hearts) of Endive\Escarole, place a clay flower pot over the plant 2 weeks prior to harvesting. Harvest by cutting the entire head at soil level.

Blanching Chicory
In European winter markets, huge heads of Escarole and Endive (Tres Fine) are displayed with centers as blond and wild as Harpo's wig. The growers blanch the hearts by outfitting them with little hats (like upside-down Tupperware bowls) just a week prior to harvest. It is quite a comical sight to see these hatted fields. Since both of the varieties listed here are mild, self-blanching types, you can grow them bareheaded, but it is still fun to try this technique. You'll have creamy heads that are especially mild, crispy and tasty.

Go Blonde This Summer
I love the way Escarole tastes in cool weather, with just enough bitterness to be interesting, but not enough to turn you off. Grown in summer, its bitterness is more pronounced, but if you blanch it you might get away with a warm-season crop as well. In France, in wintertime, the hearts of the plants are covered with white plastic hats, secured to the ground with wires, for the last week or so of growth. The result is heads with gorgeous, tender, sweet, pale centers. Last year I tried this in summer using inverted plastic plant saucers, held in the place with Potato-sized rocks. It worked like a charm!

Shade Tolerance

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

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