Belgian Endive also known as French endive, Witloof and Chicon is a relative to the Chicory family. Belgian endive is a small, cigar-shaped head of cream colored, tightly packed, slightly bitter leaves. It is grown in complete darkness to prevent the leaves from turning green, using a labor-intensive growing technique known as “blanching”.
Although supplies are available year-round, the peak season for Belgian endive is from November to March. Northern France leads today leads the world in production, ahead of both Belgium and the Netherlands. Chile exports some endive to the U.S. Nationally, Florida is the leading producer, followed closely by New Jersey and California.
Belgian endive is packed with potassium and contains considerable fiber and vitamin B. Its most important component is probably selenium, a trace element derived from healthy soil, key to proper blood flow.