If you’ve ever had a salad that tasted quite bitter, it probably had one or both of these leafy greens mixed in.
• This information can be found in The Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Book by Walter Reeves and Felder Rushing
• See also Home Garden Endive
They are different forms of the same plant – endive has curly or crinkly-edged leaves and a sharp, somewhat bitter taste; escarole is hardier with flat, somewhat thicker leaves and a less bitter flavor.
Grow them exactly like you would their close relative lettuce. They both get more bitter in warm weather, so plant them in late winter for late spring harvest, or plant in late summer and early fall for early winter harvest. They take up to 90 days or more to mature, but you can harvest outer leaves as their loose heads begin to mature.
Good varieties to start with are ‘Coral’ which is slow to bolt and well-flavored, ‘Sinco’, and ‘Taglio’ which matures early and tolerates a wide range of growing conditions. Also look for ‘Florida Deep Heart’ or ‘Green Curled’.