Harvesting and Handling
Endive has two forms, a narrow leafed endive called curly endive that resembles Dandelion leaves, and a broad leafed endive called escarole. The outer leaves of endive are dark green and bitter. The inner leaves are light green to creamy-white and milder in flavour. Endive is grown and handled like leaf lettuces.
The leafy heads should be kept clean of soil and mud. The leavers should have a spicy and mildly bitter taste. Toughness and a strong bitter taster develop if harvest is delayed and the crop becomes over-mature. The product than becomes unmarketable. High quality endive heads should be clean, free of browning, crisp and bright green. Young, tender leaves are preferred over tough, older leaves.
Cooling and Storage
Recommended conditions for commercial storage of endive and escarole are 0°C with 95% to 100% RH. They are not adopted to prolonged storage and will not keep longer than 2 to 3 weeks even at the optimal storage temperature of 0°C, and about half that time at 5°C. Proper RH is essential to prevent wilting.
Endive and escarole are often shipped in mixed loads with other produce since most orders for these products are less than truckload lots. Endive and escarole are not chilling sensitive, but freezing at -0,1°C must be avoided.
Controlled atmosphere considerations
There is some evidence that low oxygen is a benefit to storage life. Therefore CA might be of some benefit. High humidity storage will give best benefit. Ethylene production is very low, but exposure can result in leaf yellowing.
Alternaria spot, Anthracnose, Bacterial rots, Downy mildew, Grey mould rot, Powdery mildew.