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Extending the Lettuce Season

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Extending the Lettuce Season

Post  mijejo on 6/23/2011, 8:50 am

I love my lettuces. They are lush, beautiful, and they add color and texture to my garden landscape. However, even though I appreciate their outward appearance, I want them to be edible. Some are developing the milky substance indicating they may no longer be tasty. I found the following blurb and I wonder if anyone here has tried this method:

Lettuce is botanically classified as Lactuca sativa, with Lactuca coming from the Latin word for milk or milkiness (lacteus). Lettuces can become bitter as the weather gets warmer and as the plants begin to bolt. You can reduce bitterness by cutting your lettuce in the field and then dunking it in a tub of cool water. That's what I do, right out in the field and I will let it sit in the water for a few minutes before taking it out and shaking the water off of it. Be sure to shade your tub of cool water. This reduces the field heat and keeps the lettuce from wilting. When I get the lettuce home, I wash it in cool water and then spin dry it (salad spinner) and put it in the fridge. If you will leave lettuce like this in the fridge for a couple of days, a sweeter taste will return.

There are types of lettuce that are better for summertime and warmer temperatures such as Jericho (an Israeli cultivar), Summertime and the Oakleaves (red oak leaf, green oakleaf). These lettuces are more tolerant of hot weather and are slow to bolt in the summer heat. You can also shade your lettuce or plant where the lettuce will get afternoon shade to reduce the risk of bolting and bitterness.



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mijejo

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Re: Extending the Lettuce Season

Post  quiltbea on 6/23/2011, 9:00 am

Thanks, I didn't know about dunking it in cold water immediately to improve flavor.

I use cheesecloth over my lettuces to reduce the amt of sunlight a bit. It seems to help.

In the coldframe.
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