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digitS'
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Lettuce and Alternatives

Looking at AppleStar's vegetable garden start for the 2018 season made me do a little thinking.

I thought that hers were interesting names for lettuce varieties but looking around online I came across: Outredgeous, King Kong, Mascara, and Drunken Woman ... Drunken Woman??

What a proliferation of varieties! I wonder how we got here, with so many choices for a tender, short-season leafy green. I haven't even gotten to Trout's Back but lettuce in this arid climate isn't all that easy to grow.

"Wilted Lettuce" is a favorite and I have almost more of an interest in preparing that for the table than a salad. I was pleased to find escarole in recent years. Yes, I know that's not a lettuce but "wilted lettuce" brings it to mind. Here's what West Coast Seeds says "...called chicorée frisée in French ... frisée also refers to a technique in which greens are lightly wilted with oil. Escarole or broad-leaved, endive (var latifolia) has broad, pale green leaves and is less bitter than the other varieties."

Here I have all these lettuce seed choices and I'm immediately thinking of alternatives :wink: .

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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applestar
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

LOL I’ve heard of Drunken Woman but can’t remember what it looked like. I was going to show a picture of Mascara I grew and came across this post which fits even better :()
(Mascara is the dark eye lash-looking leaves at the top of the colander in top-left photo. I believe the seeds were actually mustard-type not lettuce type.)

Subject: Applestar's 2016 Garden
applestar wrote: Today's harvest Image

TOP LEFT salad fixin's -- lettuce (thinned and cut-and-come IcebergA, Bibb, volunteer red, Mascara), Garden Cress, arugula, earliest radishes (bunny tail, Swiss melange), baby red Russian kale. yellow kale flowers and buds, violet flowers and baby leaves, plantain baby leaves, broccoli side shoots, magenta spreen/Spinach Tree (basically lambs quarters with magenta colored new leaves), red orach.
Image
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imafan26
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

There are an abundance of lettuce varieties for sure. I never could figure out where arugula fits. It is not a lettuce and I have found it classed under herbs instead of lettuce. I have not come across lettuce with a name like drunken woman.

However, I do actually like deer tongue and oak leaf lettuce.

Chinese do use wilted lettuce as a topping for jook, and I once had a recipe that used stir fried lettuce.

I do like chicory, and I grew radicchio once. It is not easy to grow the radicchio or escarole in a warm climate. Chicory roots can be used to make a coffee or tea substitute or extender.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

I was going through my seed box to see what seeds I had and there was 4 pkts of lettuce seeds. 3 different kinds. I do not grow the head type lettuces. They just never did well here, but stick to the leaf lettuces.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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digitS'
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

imafan26 wrote:... I have not come across lettuce with a name like drunken woman. ..
I wasn't gonna show this to you but ... here you go: Drunken Woman :roll:

Arugula is not a favorite. And, the other veggies in the chicory family besides escarole are a little too bitter for me.

I grew a crisphead lettuce, once (Summertime). I'd expected to have trouble with it bolting or splitting or something. It did just fine but DW didn't care for it. She doesn't really like Romaine either and I really wish that she had more interest in Batavian types ... Nevada grows well in my garden. No, it's Butterhead and Leaf types for her.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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digitS'
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

Those are very pretty pictures, AppleStar!

Let's see ... lettuce see :wink: if I have a picture of Orach. Spinach is very much okay as a salad vegetable but Orach is very good, as well.

Just did a HG forum search: I can't believe how many time I mention Orach but never post a picture! Well, here is a young plant with some leaf lettuce growing in a potato bed. They will be outta the way before the potatoes need the space - a little companion/succession planting :) :
Orach.jpg
Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

thanrose
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

Love the Drunken Woman name. The parent plant, a weed genus called Lactuca, is bitter and has a white sap from the veins of broken leaves. Like many other rosette forming plants, it's easy for people to confuse with other even less edible plants. And if you wait until it bolts, it is even less palatable.

Love wild greens in general, though. Applestar's lovely salad assortment is beautiful.

Wilted lettuce in various forms is actually fairly common around the northern hemisphere, maybe because of the weedy Lactucas. A beloved aunt made a dish called "Slip and Go Down" with lettuces, bacon and bacon fat, vinegar, and probably a sprinkle of sugar, maybe some cayenne. In my wild foraging and eating days, if I found a field green too bitter it would often be prepared in that wilted oil and vinegar style.

Arugula is an acquired taste, although not so strange if you've grown up with it. (I did.) Often just a couple of leaves torn into a much larger salad will add a piquant zing. As a child in the northeast US, I was more likely to eat dandelion greens before they bloom, because they were everywhere.

I have one bro who thinks he wants to go full paleo. He'll preach to me about eating wild greens, but he won't even eat mild turnip greens. In Florida, you can find wild edible greens year round if you are fairly botanically minded. So many of them have a season where they are palatable and then becoming quite bitter. If you've ever eaten a home grown lettuce that bolted, you have some idea of that bitterness, but centuries of cultivation have really tamed lettuce.

pepperhead212
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

For several years, my favorite lettuce was one listed by Apple - Marvel of 4 seasons. It was the last one to bolt every season, and was a good flavored loose leaf lettuce, with a blush. Problem was, I began to have germination problems - sometimes, seeds would barely come up a year after buying, and last year, even a brand new pack didn't have a single germination (got a refund, and found out that I was not the only one with the problem). I got a free packet of seeds - mesclun mix - that I used to plant a jr Earthbox with, and one lettuce lastad WAY past the others, before bolting - seemed to be two of the same type in the 8 plants, so I chose the best, and saved seeds. First time I ever saved lettuce seeds, but I had to, as it was a mix, and I had no idea what that was! Looks similar to the 4 seasons Marvel, with a blush. I grew a couple in the hydroponics, and they did well. I'll see how they do this season, and save seeds again, if they do as well.

I have 2 new varieties this season, which are oriental varieties, both listed as heat resistant - Orient Green Curl, and Fragrant Choi. The latter is a smoother leafed varity, which they said is often used in Korea as a wrap, for some foods. Both were from evergreenseeds.com, which it appears went out of business. So if either really seems good, I'll have to save seeds, so I won't lose that variety.
Dave

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digitS'
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Re: Lettuce and Alternatives

Hey!

This is timely, 5 February Morning Edition :

Eating Leafy Greens Daily May Help Keep Minds Sharp

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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