It’s like green butter lettuce, only it is red, which is important for those who want a bowl of greens to come alive with a splash of red. This type of lettuce is just as delicious as the green one, and as the name suggests, you can sense that buttery flavor when you eat Red Butter lettuce, especially if it is fresh.
Red Butter lettuce is a kind of butter lettuce. The main characteristics of butter lettuces like the Red Butter lettuce include having loose, round-shaped heads, tender, sweet leaves, and a mild overall flavor.
Red Butter Lettuce Trivia
- On March 6, 2021, Mike Jack recorded the fastest time in Guinness World Records to eat a head of lettuce at 1 minute 31.053 seconds.
- Red Butter lettuce is a kind of “cut and come again” lettuce. It means that you can harvest multiple times from a single plant.
- Wondering why your Red Butter lettuce is less buttery and sweet and more bitter? Growing lettuce subjected to a dry spell will have that effect, turning the lettuce prematurely bitter.
Red Butter Lettuce Buying Guide
When buying lettuce, remember these tips.
- Check the condition and quality of the leaves. Slimy or soft leaves are indications that the lettuce is not in great condition, and possibly starting to rot or go bad. Do not buy lettuce with slimy or soft leaves.
- The smell is also a good indicator of the quality of the lettuce. Smell it. Fresh lettuce will have a fresh or neutral smell. If there is a bad smell, do not buy this lettuce.
When’s the best time to expect to see Red Butter lettuce in the market? Spring and summer months usually mean fresh Red Butter lettuce where this is grown.
Red Butter Lettuce Production & Farming in Texas
Lettuce is a cool weather plant. Lettuce growing in a very warm or hot temperature will bolt or go to seed. Lettuce likes the sun, but during the summer, it is best to provide partial shade for lettuce to mitigate any potential ill effects of the heat. As an annual plant, expect to replant lettuces every year. When it comes to watering, lettuces prefer light but frequent watering.
Red Butter lettuce is one of those that are more heat-resistant compared to other kinds of lettuce that has a ow tolerance to hot or warm temperatures.
Make sure your Red Butter lettuce gets steady but not excessive moisture. Keeping this plant irrigated is one of the secrets to producing the best-tasting leaves.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
One of the issues when it comes to commercially-grown lettuce is the number of pesticides found in this green, leafy vegetable. This explains why many people opt for organically-grown lettuce grown on farms that do not use pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, or any other forms of chemicals.
In a journal article Pesticide Residues in Commercial Lettuce, Onion, and Potato Samples From Bolivia—A Threat to Public Health?, a study published at Environmental Health Insights, among the pesticides found in lettuce include cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos, λ-cyhalothrin, and difenoconazole.
Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, in the 2013 book Encyclopedia Paranoiaca, wrote: “lettuce is among the “dirty dozen” foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found.”
Pesticides help farmers manage the threat of pests and diseases that can destroy an entire harvest if left untreated.
An online article from North Carolina State identifies aphids, beet armyworms, cabbage looper, cutworms, leafhopper
imported cabbageworm, and whitefly as some of the common pests that attack lettuce plants.
Pesticides and other chemicals are used against these pests.
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Beet armyworm – Use natural insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt-azaiwi strain) and spinosad. This has proven effective against young armyworms, preventing them from maturing and doing more harm to the lettuce plants.
- Cabbage looper – To kill this pest, use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spray, insecticidal soap spray, or anti-parasite spray spinosad.
- Cutworms – Pesticides such as carbaryl will kill cutworms. Pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and the insecticide permethrin are also useful for this purpose.
- Leafhopper – Use pyrethroid insecticides like bifenthrin, organophosphates insecticides like malathion, pyrethrins, or any systemic insecticide (acephate, imidacloprid, or disulfoton).
- Imported cabbageworm – Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad are organically acceptable methods of controlling the imported cabbageworm infestation.
- Whitefly – Malathion or Pyrethrins are effective against whiteflies.
While there are many places ideal for planting and growing Red Butter Lettuce, the supply of this kind of lettuce is not as common or regular as other lettuces. Reach out to your local growers and see which of them grows this, and buy from them once the harvest is sold at farmstands or farmer’s markets. Marilyn Peterson, in the book Vegan Bite by Bite, wrote: “Usually, the more exotic greens like the red butter lettuce can be found in local Farmer’s Markets.”
Red Butter lettuces, wrapped in a ruffled pink-hued mantle, are sold in loose plastic bags. Clean, ready-to-eat heirloom head lettuces are sold in plastic containers with a lid.
Some come in round or rectangular waterproof transparent clamshell boxes with a lid made of PET material that can be used both for storage or display.
Some companies prefer to use a sealable and reclosable transparent vented plastic produce bag made with high-clarity lamination film. The stiff material provides strength for product protection. This is important because lettuce leaves are tender and susceptible to bruising.
You’ll also find lettuces sold in plastic packaging with a Grab and Go handle for convenience.
Another packaging option is the vented stand-up produce pouch. The design of the bag allows it to stand upright, which is ideal for display and storage purposes.
Companies that seek to be environment-friendly opt for packaging made from recycled materials like recycled PET and post-consumer recycled PET.
It may not be explicitly stated in some packaging, but some types of lettuce packaging are made from plant-based plastics (PLA).
Lettuces aren’t individually packed yet if you buy in bulk. These are usually in bushels, cartons, or crates.
Red Butter lettuce seeds are sold in pouches.
Enjoying Red Butter Lettuces
When it comes to eating lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns consumers to stay updated on news about cases of contaminated leafy greens like lettuce, which, when ingested, can be the cause of potential foodborne illness. A food website article warned the public about how “lettuce and other leafy greens can increase our risk of food-borne illness.”
Wrap unwashed red oak leaf lettuce in a loose bag lined with paper towels and store in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, with a temperature that ranges between 40 and 45ºF. Properly stored, the lettuce will retain its freshness for 3 to 5 days.
An important reminder: make sure there is no fruit there that can cause the lettuce to wilt faster. Fruits like bananas, apples, and pears can do this, as a result of the natural gas these fruits release.
While it is common for lettuce to be eaten raw, lettuce also has its place in the kitchen when it comes to cooking green leafy vegetables. Rule number one (and the only rule) when it comes to cooking lettuce – any kind of lettuce – is to cook it quickly. Lettuce is easily overcooked and when this happens, you will end up with soggy leaves which are, oftentimes, unpleasant to look at. To cook, you can either put the leaves whole or slice the lettuce leaves into smaller pieces.
Lettuce leaves can be used for making hamburgers, sandwiches, or wrapped food like rolls and burritos. Because of its color, taste, and texture, lettuce is used in a wide variety of culinary applications. Make good use of its loose and delicate cup-shaped leaves by using Red Butter lettuce – fleshy and with a whorled and crunchy interior, in salads.
Red butter lettuce – 1/4 large head – is used in making Dandelion Greens Salad, in the book Vegan Bite by Bite. If you are looking for easy-to-make recipes online, try the Red Butter Lettuce Salad recipe from the Los Angeles Times.
Lettuce is good for recipes that require braising, boiling, or sautéing. Use it when making soup. Prepare lettuce using olive oil or champagne vinegar.
The flavor of the lettuce goes well with salt and pepper, arugula, Dijon mustard, garlic, shallots, cumin, parsley, and chervil. Use it alongside fruits like oranges or pears. It is also delicious with carrots, green peas, walnuts, or almonds, with poached eggs or crusty bread, or with seafood like tuna and shrimp.
When cooking or making a dish using Red Butter lettuce, consider the color of this type of lettuce and how it can improve the dish visually. Deborah Madison, in the book The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: [A Cookbook], wrote: “I include romaine lettuce and red butter lettuce, or whatever I have around, for a mix of textures and colors.”
Lettuce is known for its vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Lettuce is a low-calorie, low-fat, high-nutrition food that contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, folate, fiber, protein, molybdenum, and anthocyanins that contain health-boosting antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Adding lettuce in your diet can help you to lower your blood sugar.