It is rare to know the true origin of a fruit or vegetable – but that isn’t the case with endive! In 1830, Jan Lammers returned from war to his farm near Brussels, where he had stored chicory roots in his cellar while he was away, intending to dry and roast them for use as a common coffee substitute.
Imagine his surprise when his chicory roots, resting for months in the dark, damp cellar, had sprouted small white leaves! Always adventurous, Jan tried the leaves and found them tender, moist, and crunchy, with a pleasant, slightly bitter taste. Thus, a new vegetable was discovered — endive.