Little Gem lettuce
Versatile Little Gem lettuce
Little Gem salad is finding its way to my dinner table quite frequently lately. Little Gem lettuce originated in France and is a cross between romaine and butter lettuce. These sweet, crunchy miniature heads of lettuce are full of nooks and crannies that make great little pockets for capturing salad dressing. Little Gems can be eaten whole, sliced, fresh, grilled or even pan-fried. Little Gem leaves are the perfect size and firmness to use to scoop guacamole, hummus, poke or chicken salad. Here is a recipe for a quick grilled Little Gem salad.
Nutrition and health benefits
A serving of Little Gem lettuce is high in vitamins A, C and K. Little Gems are also a good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and dietary fiber. Little Gem is lettuce is very low in calories.
Where can you buy Little gem lettuce?
Little Gems lettuce has been very popular in Europe for many years. First seen in U.S. restaurants, Little Gems lettuce is becoming more mainstream in the U.S. market. Little Gem lettuce can be found at many farmer's markets, but is beginning to show up in mainstream supermarkets including: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Costco.
Little Gem lettuce is best kept refrigerated in the packaging it comes in. Properly stored they have a shelf life of up to 10 days. This long shelf life makes Little Gem lettuce a perfect salad ingredient to keep on hand.
Grow your own
Little Gem lettuce grows quickly, requires little space, is heat tolerant and is supposed to be easy to grow. Heat tolerance is a big plus in Southern California. It seems as soon as I plant lettuce we have a heat wave and all my plants bolt. I've just ordered some organic Little Gem seeds that are highly rated. I will report back on how my plants do. Here is some information I found on how to grow Little Gem lettuce.
You can use Little Gem lettuce for any recipe you would normally use romaine or butter lettuce including: Simple Caesar salad, Butter lettuce with fines herbes, Asian salad with ginger carrot dressing, Grilled Little Gem salad and Orange butter lettuce salad with walnuts and feta.