Photo – Interesting old heritage varieties of Lettuce are actually hard to find. Most we grow today are based on commercial varieties developed in the late 1800’s by seed companies for various markets and it is very hard to find older varieties from before this time. Lettuce has been grown as a major food since before the Ancient Egyptian Dynasties refined them and developed systems for mass farming. This photo is of Barba dei frati – or ‘Monks Beard’ lettuce. This specific one is a very old ‘cooking’ style lettuce which has a crisp fresh taste and texture and also stays crunchy when you heat it. ‘Cooking’ lettuce traditionally meant quickly steaming them but also could mean drizzling hot olive oil and Vinegar with herbs over the fresh lettuce. It’s also sometimes identified as being in the ‘radichetta’ or ‘catalogna’ groups. The catalogna group also often includes the chicory varieties that are grown for their fresh new leaf buds – however the chicory new growth experience is way more ‘savoury’ and intense in flavour that coverts to caramel flavours when cooked. Lettuces were frequently eaten cooked in different ways in the early days right up till the late 1800’s. There are many interesting tasting cooking varieties that are still around especially in the USA grown by the various 1600-1700’s period immigrant groups in the north eastern states where there was always a significant vegetarian movement. It’s a large open leaf lettuce that has a blue grey tinge and grows to about 20cm high. It is both very heat and cold tolerant and so will grow without going to seed and becoming bitter for a long time. Makes for an excellent slow harvest lettuce in Australian conditions.
It’s that time again!
This is just a quick reminder that the next scheduled meeting for the year of the Mid Blue Mountains SeedSavers is on at the Bullaburra Progress Hall this coming weekend.
Sunday 23 August 2020 from 10 am till Midday
Help celebrate the Blue Mountains Winter and… almost… Spring!
Come along and talk about growing things with like minded people.
Hope to see you there celebrating the current productive growing season!
We are still following generally recommended social distancing guidelines to help everyone stay safe.
The address for the Mid Blue Mountains Seedsavers website is:
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