Saturday, June 7, 2008

Two lettuces for next year's garden

(Silvia Red-Leaf Romaine)
(Green Bibb Buttercrunch)
Lettuce is an early spring (or early fall) crop. It just can't take the heat. We've had a heatwave in Detroit over the last few days, and the lettuce is getting ready to bolt- it's getting a tad bitter. Lettuce is genetically programmed to go bitter just before and during bolting, so critters (like you and me) that would normally eat it learn to stay away, so it can set seed and carry out the terribly important business of reproduction. Clever, huh?
I grew about 6 lettuces this year (I think?), but here are two that I will absolutely grow next year.
Silvia: It is a red-leaf romaine with a handsome, bolt-upright presentation, which also makes it very easy to harvest. It's slightly spicy, but not overly so. It is tissue-paper thin- it needs to be cut at the very last minute, or it will even wilt on the counter top while waiting to be plated. This is definitely not a lettuce that can be shipped, and that makes it all the more special. And the color- gorgeous!
Green Bibb Buttercrunch: I mean, come on-- How can you resist any food with "butter" in the name? This lettuce is heavenly. It sets pretty little free-form heads with leaves that curl and dip and fold in random directions. Not only is it beautiful, it is a great neutral foil for baby Asian mustards, baby kales, and arugula. I'll grow a lot of this next year and start it extra-early. Be sure to soak it, though- bugs love all the folds. I have witnessed a lot of little winged bugs crawl out of it and onto the counter top. (I habitually practice catch-and-release, not smash-'em-up.)


Rabbits' Guy said...

All those cars down there customers??? :<)

Bibb/Butter lettuce .. here's our drill. Get yourself a couple nice dungeness crab .. boil in salted water for 20 minutes and then clean out the meat! Make a nice bed of bibb/butter lettuce, some sliced tomato, some basil, a sliced hardboiled egg, lay fresh crab meat over it lavishly, top with homemade thousand island dressing! Crack on some fresh pepper. Enough for two or three (or me!)

Robbyn said...

Oh, you gorgeous lettuces, you...I want to water you with some balsamic vinaigrette and...

oops. Yeah, they look pretty fantastically edible there, girl :)