Cures for bitter lettuce

dragonjaze(5a)June 3, 2011

This is my first time growing lettuce. I am growing "Salad Bowl" leaf lettuce from Gurney's. From research, I find out that heat and not keeping the lettuce consistently moist are factors for making the lettuce bitter, both of which are likely causes here.

However, I have also read that harvesting the lettuce and keeping it in the fridge for a few days before eating it will lessen the bitter taste. Is this true?

I'm also having a hard time determining when to harvest. My lettuce seems rather small, but I can only compare it to lettuce I see in the grocery stores.

Should I yank all the current lettuce out and replant? Give up on lettuce for this season and try again in the fall?

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Well, as far as I know, once its bitter, its bitter. If it's mildly bitter, you can always use it as a substitute for greens that are meant to be somewhat bitter, such as frisee or escarole. But, at some point, its just inedible for humans, and you can compost it, feed it to poultry or rabbits, etc.

Really, in the heat of summer, its hard to grow non-bitter lettuce. Personally, I find it better to just grow lettuce in the cooler periods, and stick with things like chard, orach, malabar, and amaranth for the hot weather periods. But, if you want to try, try growing it in afternoon shade in really rich, moist soil, and harvest it as "baby" lettuce.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:13AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

You can make what we call "killed lettuce" with it. Throw it in a pan of hot bacon grease long enough to wilt it. It's not healthy but it isn't bitter anymore!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:35PM
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Dan Staley

Agreed there is no cure. Too late to replant until it is time for a fall crop.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:42PM
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If is mildly bitter you can make a sweet vinagrette such as balsamic+rasp or strawberry jam+dijon mustard+S and P,yum with some locally grown strawberries...enjoy.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:29PM
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Vinagrette with some shallots in it will nicely complement the bitter greens including bitter lettuce. In fact, it works better with bitter greens than bland tasting greens imho.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:43PM
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