Bigger than Lettuce Sprouts

Second semester is nearing its end. I needed to finish all my assignment and projects. And one of my projects involves growing lettuce on different kind of media. My first seed sprouting attempt was a failure so I took another shot and sown one 30 grams sachet seeds on two regular pots. It went well finally but the number seems too many. I already transplanted enough for two separate experiments but there are still too many left.

lettuce seedlingsLettuce plantlets are still small and they look too crowded. What more if I let them grow. There won’t be enough space for each. And the nutrients within the media are sure not enough.

What’s next? The right thing to do is to harvest 70 percent of plant and let the rest continue growing.  The sprouts I gathered by cutting with a sharp scissors are placed in a clean dipper with water and rinsed several times to remove dirt and soil particles.

harvested lettuce seedlings in dipper of waterIt looks like a larger version of commercial lettuce sprouts. It taste like a regular large lettuce without the more bitter stalks.

lettuce plantlets on bowl

Making The Wilted Lettuce Crispy

They said lettuce are best eaten when crispy. Yes! I think so.

It is crispy when at peak of vegetative growth, still attached to soil, getting enough water and needed nutrients. For the hydroponic lettuce – still submerged to water… It is still crispy right after harvest, a short time after harvesting, and not after a certain period.

The reason for crispiness. Plant contains million cells. Each cell is filled water, more than 70% I think. Imagine each cell as filled cellophane bag. Many will break in rapid succession when applied with outside force. The same happens to leaf with plumbed cells. Biting breaks the cells easily in very fast sequence thus giving the impression of crispiness.

The plant on ground absorbs and loses water continuously  When pulled up, water loss still continues resulting to wilting afterwards. Cells become more flacid and more elastic as their water content decrease. Then tend to resist breakage and less enjoyable to eat.

Okay, the appearance is enough reason to dump this. It is ugly and seems not enjoyable.

wilted lettuce

Now, lets turn it to a wilted but crispy lettuce. Hold it with left hand. Then twist it slowly with the right hand. Stop and hold before the rupture begin. Take a bite to enjoy.

twisted lettuce

The Romaine Lettuce

I guess I already told several times that I never ate any bitter vegetable before. Green vegetables such as lettuce, pechay, mustard and bitter melon. I learned eating them as I grew up, through friends influence and ultimately via my wife’s force. They were always encouraging  me to try, often saying it’s good and nutritious. My wife is often cooking bitter vegetables even if she was well aware that I was not fond of those.

I learned eating lettuce first when I was in college. I liked it because it is crispy. Remember any flat tasting biscuit or chip are enjoyable to eat when crispy, not otherwise. Lettuce is also taste bitter but can be masked easily with any dip. The plain mayonnaise is the best but other non-salad dip may do – ketchup and Mang Tomas.

romaine lettuce

Another Lettuce in CvSU SAKA Project. Anyone familiar with the traditional curly lettuce leaves would never thought it is a lettuce. Appearance is not a close match. It appears more like pechay or mustard.

It is a Romaine lettuce. It is eaten in the same way as regular curly version. Its base resembles any brassica species. The leaves are sleek, erect with a bit bent tip. It has the same crisp and bitter taste with a slight impression of cottony texture. Leaves tip are the best. Bitterness gets more intense down to stalk base.

romaine lettuce wrapped in bond paper

I am to lazy to buy or prepare any dip so I usually eat them as is.

The Lettuce Chips

This chip reminds of ate Bing Angeles, a friend, a woman, who is busy making and selling Ocean Fresh Tahong Chips.  It looked very much like her product and I thought it was hers. Chips in a red transparent pouch. Triangular shape lettuce chips.

If I and her were not mistaken it was her who first introduced tahong chips to commercial market. She also developed other flavored chip products like garlic chips, onion chips, barbecue chips and a variety of vegetable chips.

It’s a Lettuce Chips made by Gourmet.

gourmet lettuce chip logogourmet lettuce chip packgourmet lettuce chip on tableI was expecting lettuce flavor but my senses were not powerful enough and never perceived any. It was good tasting anyway.

Eating The Raw Cabbage As Salad

Guess what was the purpose of these cabbage slices! These prepared veggies were intended for cooking sopas and pancit bihon.  However almost  1/5 of it was gone before cooking commenced. My sister, brother and I love eating raw cabbage. Only 1/5 will be left for the dish if left unchecked. Monstrous mouth gonna eat them rapidly.

I thought it was intended only for vegetable dish, cannot be eaten raw. Then my big brother told me it taste good when eaten raw. Indeed and the taste was slightly bitter but the crunchiness make it very enjoyable.

Big brother also told me that lettuce taste better than cabbage. I disagreed cause lettuce is more bitter and less crunchy. Maybe lettuce is more nutritious – like the very bitter ampalaya.

From the on, I always grab a slice of cabbage. I often provide mayonnaise as dipping. Ketchup is good too.

sliced cabbage

Do you also eat raw cabbage as salad? Perhaps!

Cabbage is the main ingredient of coleslaw. Together with carrots but often omitted for cost-cutting purposes. The  popular burger stand, Minute Burger, is offering very affordable buy-one-take one burger. There is a catch though. Coleslaw is not included. You need to shed extra pesos for the tiny cabbage and carrot slices.

Some ingredients that goes well with cabbage salad are:

cashew nuts
lettuce
crunchy ripe tomatoes
sesame
pasta
toasted ramen or the instant noodles (not cooked)
almonds
minced onions
quail eggs
table or salted egg
rare ripe mangoes
pili nuts
peanuts
carrots
mayonnaise
ketchup

In short, any edible ingredient that will suit your taste but can be added to cabbage. The limit is your imagination.

Make Lettuce Your Snack

lettuce-with-ketchup

My wife and I go to market every Saturday to buy our food needs for the whole week. Guess what is my favorite buy. It is lettuce.

I am eating lettuce as my snack instead of unhealthy junk foods. Its a little bit weird but I am using ketchup as my dressing.

lettuce-with-ketchup

All lettuce is a good source of chlorophyll and vitamin K.   Lettuce provides good source of choline.  Romain lettuce is the most nutrient-dense of all the lettuce varieties and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, folic acid, manganese and chromium.

Since lettuce is very low in calories, it has been effective when consumed as a diet food. Due to its high water content, lettuce provides little health benefits beyond its nutrient content.