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Red Deer's Tongue Lettuce
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Deer's Tongue lettuce grows in a tight formation with a connected base, its narrow pointed triangular leaves growing outward and upward wrapping themselves around each other to form a very distinct looking lettuce. The leaves are tender, mild, succulent and have a melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Young Deer's Tongue lettuce is milder and more palatable than its mature form.
Deer's Tongue lettuce is available year-round.
Deer's Tongue lettuce, AKA Matchless lettuce, is an heirloom variety known for its hardiness, cold and heat tolerance and its resistance to bolt in the hot summer months. Deer's Tongue lettuce should not be confused with Amish Deer's Tongue lettuce which was first cultivated a century later than Deer's Tongue. There are two different Deer's Tongue leaf colors: red and green.
Lettuce is good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Folate, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
Deer's Tongue lettuce is used more for its appearance than its mild flavor--for salads, sandwiches, appetizers, garnish, and as a bed for presentations.
Deer's Tongue lettuce is indigenous to North America. Its original cultivation date is unknown but records indicate that it was circa 1740, when the first English settlers arrived and discovered the lettuce growing in the Northeastern coast of the United States. The lettuce tolerates many different climates which makes it suitable for the home gardener. Severe heat, though, will cause bitterness in the leaves. It is advised that the outer leaves are harvested all at once as they grow. Young and baby lettuce's should be sown close together and harvested with a scissors.