400 seeds. 45–65 days. Lactuca sativa var. asparagina. Loose leaf.
Celtuce 'Cracoviensis' grows beautiful green leaves bronzed with mauve. When your other lettuces go bitter, Cracoviensis has already bolted with a thick stem that you can peel and eat. It is a fun treat to have while waiting for your summer greens to take off.
Cracoviensis is an eastern European heirloom from the 1880s and is also known as Pink Asparagus lettuce. In general, Celtuce is also known as tree lettuce.
You can eat the leaves of celtuce like lettuce when it is young, but the best part comes when it bolts. To eat the thick stems it is critical that you space the plants at least 8 inches apart or more, otherwise the bolted stem will be small. Once the plant has bolted and is starting to form a flowerhead, cut the stem at the base of the plant.
The white sap in the peel is bitter, so pull off the leaves and peel the stem with a vegetable peeler. Then wash any remaining white sap off. I was surprised that the inner core of celtuce was not bitter. It tasted like a combination of cucumber and celery. You can eat it raw with dressing or cooked in stir fry or soup. Lightly cooked, it has the texture of a broccoli stem.
Spacing 8 inches.
Sowing Celtuce Seeds:
Sow seeds on the surface of the soil in early spring and lightly cover with soil. Thin to 8 inches apart. Full sun to part shade.
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