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Brunia lettuce is available during winter into spring.
Brunia lettuce, Lactuca sativa, is a loose-leaf type of lettuce. This distinction means it is a cut-and-come-again variety, allowing for multiple harvests. Brunia lettuce is most often featured in its young tender form in baby green mixes. It is one of several lettuce cultivars with high level of anthocyanin content. Anthocyanin is a pigment responsible for the red coloring in food plants. It is also responsible for the buttery texture of many red lettuces. Green lettuce varieties are inherently more firm as they have higher levels of chlorophyll, whereas anthocyanins reduce the chlorophyll content and create a softer texture.
Brunia lettuce forms a rosette shape from individual long and slender winding leaves that have a distinct notched oak leaf shape. Their coloring starts picholine green at the base giving way to colors of ruby, bronze and wine. The flavor of Brunia lettuce is buttery, mild and its texture succulent and delicate.
As Brunia lettuce contains a high level of anthocyanins, it also has inherent health benefits. When consumed in plant form, anthocyanins have substantial anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. They also reduce the risk of diabetes.
Brunia lettuce's texture and its subtle flavors are a perfect canvas for savory, bright, fruity and bold companion ingredients. Brunia lettuce readily soaks up flavors, cuts the richness of fat and holds sauces and juices within its leaves. It can be utilized as the principle ingredient within a simple salad alongside ingredients such as shallots, dill, blue cheese, tomatoes, apples, pears, melon, nuts, bacon, basil, mint and dried fruits. The leaves can also be removed from the base and used for color and texture atop burgers and sandwiches as well as in savory wraps and fresh summer rolls.
Brunia lettuce is a heirloom variety native to France and first introduced to the public via the famous seed catalog, Vilmorin. As with the majority of lettuce cultivars, it is a cool season crop. It grows best in fertile soil with minimal to sufficient irrigation, warm days and cool nights. It is a great home gardener's lettuce as it can be planted in containers and raised beds with little attention until harvest. When harvesting, It is best to remove at least an entire outer layer of growth to preserve the lettuce's growing consistency.
Recipes that include Brunia Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.