days to maturity: 50 days
plant spacing: 4 plants per square foot
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: about a week before harvest, the outer leaves of heading varieties should be tied up around the head to blanch the plant to prevent it developing a bitter flavor. the plants can also be blanches by covering the entire plant with a pot or box to exclude light.
harvest notes: clip individual leaves or harvest whole head by cutting with a knife just above the root attachment. cool quickly by dunking in cold water, drain, and refrigerate.
Frisee and Escarole are in the endive and chicory family. Traditional Italian endive hearts that you can buy at the store don’t grow well here because of the heat, but luckily for us this escarole variety does! This variety is mild, with a slightly bitter flavor. At the farm we grow escarole spaced closely together so that when they mature they will “self blanch” by pushing each other s outer leaves together (this protects the tender core and blanches it without effort). If you’re growing a single head of Escarole in your home garden simply rubber band the head 10 days before harvest and that will blanch the heart. Another option is to put a pot on top of the plant to keep the sun out during blanching. Escarole is fun and easy to grow; if you don’t like bitter salad greens it can be lightly sautéed or wilted, which will make the flavor more mild.