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Freckles lettuce is small to medium in size, growing in a loose, upright fashion with a vase-like, open shape. The white base connects to individual, smooth, pale green ribs that extend out into vibrant green leaves freckled with specs of burgundy. These specs become darker and more prominent as the lettuce matures. The leaves are crisp, ruffled at the edges, and tender. Freckles lettuce is succulent, notably minerally and bitter in flavor, has a clean and mild finish, and can be grown as a baby or mature lettuce variety.
Freckles lettuce is cultivated year-round, with a peak season in the spring.
Freckles lettuce, botanically classified as Lactuca sativa, is an open-pollinated, heirloom, romaine variety that is a member of the Asteraceae family. Also known as the Flashy Troutback, Freckles lettuce earned both of its names from the special markings on the leaves. Freckles lettuce is a favorite lettuce to grow in home gardens, especially in Europe, and is favored for its prolonged harvest as the young, outer leaves can be harvested and the head will continue to regrow new leaves throughout the season.
Freckles lettuce contains vitamin A, fiber, copper, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Freckles lettuce is best suited for raw applications as its tender texture, and earthy flavor is best showcased when used fresh. Freckles lettuce can be used as a substitute in any recipe calling for romaine lettuce. It can also be used as a vessel for dips and filling, layered in a sandwich, or flash grilled and served as an appetizer. Freckles lettuce pairs well with bacon, anchovies, nutty aged cheeses, chiles, creamy dressings, aged balsamic, citrus, melons, avocado, pears, peaches, apples, dried fruit, hers such as basil, dill, tarragon, and mint and nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts. The leaves will keep for a couple of days when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Freckles lettuce is highly valued in Europe for its unusual coloring and mild flavor. Considered a specialty variety, in Germany, the lettuce is known as Forellenschluss which translates to mean “speckled like a trout’s back.” Freckles lettuce is most commonly incorporated into salads in Europe to showcase the burgundy spots.
Freckles lettuce is an heirloom lettuce variety with documentation citing it native to Austria and Germany around 1793. It is not as commercially successful as common romaine lettuce, but it continues to be widely favored in both Europe and America. Today Freckles lettuce can be found at farmers markets and specialty grocers in North America, Europe, and select regions in Asia.
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Recipes that include Freckle Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.