LETTUCE 101

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your lettuce mix has a few bitter leaves?
Have you ever had lettuce so bitter you could not eat it?
Is there a reason for this–anything that can be done?

Lettuce has a milky white liquid coursing through its veins–figuratively speaking. This white juice is BITTER–so inherently all lettuce has the potential to be bitter. BUT, some varieties are more bitter than others.

Let me share what we have found to be true:
The first week of lettuce sales the lettuce was all baby leaf..it was tender, it was small, it was hard to stab with your fork, but it was definitely not bitter in the least…in fact some might consider it bland.

The second week the leaves were a little bigger and distinct flavors were starting to develop. This week we noted when lifting the lettuce after the first phase of the wash the water left behind was ‘soapy’–it did not taste like soap, but it was bubbly and slightly slimy.

This week when we taste tested the salad mix, The Farmer (whose taste buds are keener than mine) was ready to ‘plow it under’…but, to my buds it was ‘okay’. Our Salad Mix is 7 varieties–the Oakleaf and Lollo Rossa seem to have bitter tendencies, the Bib seems the least affected, and the Romaine’s can go either way.

The cure: soaking in cold water, then the normal three rinses and spin dry as in the past. Soaking seemed to take the bitter from the leaves, and the subsequent rinses get the grit and bitter juices off the outside–a night in the cold refrigerator, AND–VOILA: perfect salad!

We are excited to try different mixes–especially now that we know Lesson #1- Maturity Leads to Bitterness…hope that only applies to Lettuce. ;D

The Mature–but not Bitter– Farmer’s Wife

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