Curly endives and radicchio are two crops in the lettuce family with a slightly bitter taste. They are great mixed with other salad leaves or with a sweet honey dressing.
Endive leaves get more bitter the longer they are subjected to sunlight, radicchio even changes the colour of it’s leaves from red to green when left in the sun.
Blanching is a gardening technique that reduces the impact of sunlight. It turns endives into a mix of green and tender yellow leaves. Radicchio keeps it’s red colour and is likely to build a little head even in our warm climate.
Once the plant is at mature state, about 30 cm diameter in diameter, it is simply tied up, so sunlight can’t reach it’s centre any more. This has to be done on a dry day, because dry leaves are less likely to rot. Another method is to cover the whole plant with a bucket. The tied up bundles stay like this for 7 to 10 days and should then be ready to harvest.
When ever a blanched plant is harvested a new one should be tied, so we have a constant supply of great radicchio and endive.