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If you are looking for an unusual vegetable this is the one for you. The witlof is not a root vegetable but is a leaf that is grown underground. It can be used for salads and also cooked, baked, stewed and caramelized. It can also be used in puddings . Another way to utilise this vegetable is to put savoury fillings in the small boat shaped leaves and use as hors d’oeuvres.
Witlof is a Flemish name for white leaf and the story goes that it was discovered accidentally in the 1800’s in Belgium, when someone stored some chicory roots in the dark and discovered they had grown these white leaves.
It is grown for most of the year in Australia but is not as well known as some other vegetables.
Witlof contains Vitamins B and C and is a good source of folic acid.
When buying witlof, go for the fresh and tightly packed leaves and make sure not to expose to light as it will turn to dark colour and become bitter in taste. If you store witlof in the fridge wrap it in brown paper to preserve the freshness and colour.
Now is the time for us all to try something new at your local green grocer! Try Witlof.