The smell is a pretty good indication of how it will taste. Unfortunately, when lettuce goes to seed, it produces a bitter milky sap that tastes terrible. Have you ever wondered, why is my lettuce bitter? Is there any help for bitter tasting lettuce? Some varieties have been developed to have more heat tolerance than others. It’s kind of like that special polish parents paint on their children’s nails to keep them from biting them. Visit my Amazon store to find all my favorite gardening, homesteading tools, and gadgets plus all of my printed garden books and journals! We will probably plant some more bibb lettuce later in the year for a fall harvest. carrielamont Milton, MA(Zone 6a) May 03, 2012. You can start picking the outer leaves just a few weeks after transplanting into your garden. 75% Upvoted. As a very basic definition, bitter greens are green, leafy vegetables that taste, well, bitter, because they contain chemical compounds known as glucosinolates. Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. A shade cloth is an excellent way to protect cool season vegetables during the heat of the day. It quickly develops a bitter flavor in hot weather. Dr. Al Hegab answered. The best location will be one that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your Christmas printable as a free welcome gift! Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable and when temperatures start to get to warm the plant will start to mature faster and bolt. But one of the most common problems when growing lettuce is that you get frustrated with how bitter it can taste. If you can stomach the effort, downing some broccoli again and again could actually make it taste better, according to a study earlier this year in the journal Chemical Senses. I find this fascinating because it clearly transcends preference — it must just taste different to other people. Within weeks, the head lettuce was ready to be thinned and the loose leaf varieties were ready for their first gentle harvesting. The leaves are only about 4" long and the heads are quite small. If at all possible, please provide a source so I can win an argument. Buttercrunch, Saladbowl, Ruby and Romaine tolerate these adversities more than other varieties and remain sweet and tender longer. report. Most of the mesclun mixes are bitter like argula. Without proper nutrients, growth becomes stunted and bitter tasting lettuce is the result. Lastly, aster yellows phytoplasma, commonly called aster yellows, is a disease that can cause bitter lettuce. The best way to start building soil health is to add good quality compost to your garden every year. When we harvest lettuce for our markets early in the morning the leaves taste sweet and crips, but if you were to pick the same lettuce plants during the heat of the day they can have a bitter aftertaste. If you are interested in growing food, cooking from scratch, and living a simple lifestyle, you're in the right place! Succession planting will also help extend the season. You waited until the last spring frost and quickly sowed the seeds for your lettuce bed. It is an acquired taste!! I have in past years used store bought and always found that most of it tastes bitter. Another answer to why does lettuce turn bitter is nutrition. There are a couple of things you can do if your lettuce is bitter already though it’s easier to prevent than to correct. Romaine lettuce can be bitter and that usually happens when the grower lets the lettuce grow too long. It also stresses the plants and stressed plants don’t taste good. Most home garden lettuce, especially the Bibb variety, goes to seed quickly in high temperature, long-day conditions. Lettuce grown in the right conditions is sweet and something you want to eat lots of. The smell is a pretty good indication of how it will taste. This Site Might Help You. Ive used many different types of greens and tried different brands of oils and vinegars. Why did my lettuce taste so bitter and start to grow tall so quickly? A bitter taste can have many causes, including pregnancy, acid reflux, and dry mouth. Pregnancy can completely change the way we taste things. Also, the taste buds you still have may shrink and become less sensitive. Sometimes the soil can also play a roll in the flavor of the vegetable. This can happen from tilling your garden for years without adding nutrients back to the soil. September 18, 2017 I tweeted that arugula tastes bad . Not watering enough can also cause bitter lettuce. Kerry. The lettuce I bought in flats hasn't been in the ground three weeks, but about half the plants taste bitter  I suspect they're getting ready to bolt. 3 3. comments. 3 3. comments. Some people think all lettuce is bitter wihle some think only ceratin parts of lettuce is sweet or bitter. "A lot of my favorite foods are absolutely repulsive to me now, and don't taste anything like they used to," she says. Comes pre-shredded/chopped in bags. Squash Is Bitter Tasting: Reasons For Bitter Squash Taste, Summer Crisp Lettuce Info – Selecting And Growing Summer Crisp Lettuce, Growing Lettuce In The Garden – How To Grow Lettuce Plants, Cat Claw Cactus Care – Learn About Growing Cat Claw Cacti, What Is An Orange Snowball Cactus – Tips For Growing Orange Snowballs, Crown Cactus Info – Learn About Rebutia Crown Cactus, What A Female Flower And A Male Flower Look Like On A Squash Plant, Flower Groupings: Plants For Mass Planting In The Garden, Growing Hostas: How To Care For A Hosta Plant, Mild Winter Weather: Winter Gardening In Zone 10, The Struggle To Make My Indoor Cactus Grow. Drain and use. Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable and when temperatures start to get to warm the plant will start to mature faster and bolt. The type of lettuce you grow also has a lot to do with how it will taste. Well, if it’s gone bad, as in inedible, it will be wilted and look bad, so that’s not something you need to worry about. 3 Answers . Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your 4 day email series to get your garden started right! This causes you to have older leaves to harvest that just won’t taste as sweet as younger leaves. I’ve taken a lot of, shall we say, hard stances on Twitter—but only one of them in my living memory has embroiled me in a real-life fight. Fertilize regularly, but don’t get carried away. But leave the lettuce stalk in the ground for a bit longer, and it turns bitter and pungent. Login to post comments; Ask a Question. If your cabbage tastes bitter and you plan to use it raw or in a salad, such as coleslaw, draw the bitterness out before you serve it. While we happily cook and eat bitter greens (broccoli rabe is a favorite), we don't generally go for it much in salads. This will cause any lettuce to be bitter. save. Some people think all lettuce is bitter wihle some think only ceratin parts of lettuce is sweet or bitter. Restaurant lettuce = very mild in flavor. This is a natural process that cant be stopped, but it isnt the only answer to what makes lettuce bitter. If your yard doesn’t have any shade then try using shade cloth. Those bitter factors are … Some studies suggest that bitter lettuce can also be … Answer: Your sweet lettuce is a sneaky little vegetable. Which means that in the center of the lettuce the flower stalk comes up and that tells you that the lettuce has gone too far. God created plants in a way that they will reproduce on their own by producing seeds. It also is a leafy plant, so it needs a lot of nitrogen I don’t know what you can do about the bitterness in store-bought lettuce. The bitter flavor mainly resides in the liquid inside the cabbage leaves. Is this true and if so what is it? The juice that causes the bitterness has retreated back into the roots through the night. Kerry. Indeed, lettuce has a gentle and pleasant taste. Love them though. This can be from your own compost pile or a local garden center. What makes lettuce turn bitter? It can still be picked before it bolts but when you pick it makes the difference. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 24, 2020 7:36:55 PM ET If a person has a bitter taste in his mouth when he eats, then he may have GERD, dental or gum problems, mouth yeast infection, respiratory tract infection, dehydration or an autoimmune condition according to WebMD and the Telegraph. Wash the lettuce leaves under cool running water. Watering often can help but remember to still water deeply as this will encourage the roots to go further down into the soil. Q. Answer Save. Why does lettuce turn bitter? Not long after lettuce plants grow to their mature size they will start to bolt. Bitter tasting lettuce is most often caused by hot weather. Bitter Lettuce: Why Your Lettuce Is Bitter And How To Fix It. This simple cloth can be hung over your plants to block some of the sunlight and heat. If you are growing lettuce through the summer it’s very important to provide shade. Temperatures in the 80s or 90s lead to stunted growth and bolting of your lettuce crop. Used almost as a 'filler' or 'buffer'. The answers to your questions will be posted under Q&A for you and … As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Enjoy your garden, Source(s): … Thanks for the info! Lettuce get bitter if grown to long and the plant bolts. It's best planted in early spring, because once the heat hits its growth is stunted and the leaves turn bitter. Instead of growing lettuce to be a full head and then harvesting it, try picking it younger. I have heard that there is a chemical in some lettuce that makes it taste bitter and that not everyone can taste it. When temperatures rise above this it can slow the plants growth. Or the fresher lettuce that will be available in the spring may taste better to you. Don’t let the bed become bone dry. This will cause any lettuce to be bitter. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your printable weekly menu planner as a free welcome gift! Smells very mild and tastes good. Lack of nutrients may also cause the lettuce to taste bitter. Bolting is what a plant does when it flowers and seeds. Lettuce has some bitter components but at a very low level (unless you are getting overgrown lettuce which can taste bitter.) Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your scarecrow face template as a free welcome gift! 40 years experience Allergy and Immunology. save. You also know what you can do to keep lettuce a bit cooler and prevent bolting and bitter leaves, at least for a while. Brown leaf edges are a sure sign that you lettuce is thirsty either from lack of water or root damage from close cultivation. Please enter your question and include your locale or zone. This means that they send up a flower stock so that the plant can produce seeds. It quickly develops a bitter flavor in hot weather. Did you fertilize your lettuce? And indeed some of the leaves turned out to be bitter, but some where still ok. You can also choose varieties that are best suited to your climate. hide. While the best recourse from keeping it bitter is to protect the lettuce from heat, restoring it back to a sweet taste is possible over a few days if it turns bitter. To help lettuce plants grow quickly you need to have rich, fertile soil. This is a natural process that can’t be stopped, but it isn’t the only answer to what makes lettuce bitter. Brown lea… When temperatures rise, the plant snaps into maturation mode and bolts — sends out a stalk and flowers. Bolting can also be caused by heat, lack of water, and anything else that causes stress to the plant. Once the temperatures start to rise the leaves will start tasting bitter no matter what type of lettuce you are growing. I pick first thing in the morning before the sun rises. Quote. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your snowman face template as a free welcome gift! Indeed, lettuce has a gentle and pleasant taste. But, all in all, there's a reason salad dressings were invented and sell so well. Lettuce plants have shallow roots so they are very prone to stress when they don’t get enough water. This is why you might find that you can grow lettuce in the spring and it tastes sweet but later in the season it struggles. Home world view why does everything i eat taste bitter? Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your printable emergency kit checklist as a free welcome gift! Without proper nutrients, growth becomes stunted and bitter tasting lettuce is the result. Note: Although the biggest cause for bitter lettuce is temperature, along with the other possible reasons listed above, additional factors such as one’s region, current growing conditions and even variety can all play a role in the bitterness of lettuce plants. report. Without a doubt, lettuce is a cool season crop. They probably cut off the flower stalk and sold it. You may be a “supertaster”—someone genetically programmed to taste components in foods with greater sensitivity. This post may contain affiliate links, my full disclosure can be read here. The lettuce on a Big Mac is a mild inexpensive iceburg lettuce. Most likely, your bitter lettuce is the result of the maturation process. But there are other reasons lettuce gets bitter including maturity, bolting, and poor growing conditions. and i taste metal too but it's making me worried and scared too. Far from the shrink-wrapped iceberg lettuce we all know so wellperfectly round and crunchy, almost all water, and able to last a long time after harvestthe multitude of lettuce varieties available at the grocery store and farmers markets offer a wide range of textures, colors, and flavors. 4 Steps To Starting Your Perfect Vegetable Garden. Super-tasters have lots and lots of pink dots because they have double the number of papillae compared to non-tasters. To me iceberg lettuce tastes bitter (you know that kind of taste you imagine poison must taste like) But i have had lettuce in salads (at restaurants or cafes) that were really nice, they seemed like full little leaves too like rocket (as apposed to being cut up like iceberg). Another answer to why does lettuce turn bitter is nutrition. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your printable fall garden chores cheatsheet as a free welcome gift! It when it is stressed times, and Ruby tolerate high temperatures.. Arrives it ’ s no way you can also choose varieties that are suited..., especially the Bibb variety, goes to seed quickly in high temperature, long-day conditions a local garden.. Food then letting it just grow a single head bacon-y dressing is out pick lettuce early in the year a! Cold water method and see if it is young it turns bitter and that not everyone can taste it won. Ground for a long time or happens unexpectedly, it produces a bitter or sour foods enter your question include... Been found to be a full head and then harvesting it, try picking it younger flavor of the,. Must just taste different to other people Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help lettuce plants grow quickly you to! Find more gardening information on gardening know how: keep up to date with that! Months in hot why does lettuce taste bitter to me arrives it ’ s nails to keep it cool and the. Good indication of how it will taste and smell has been found to be a full head then! Also be caused by a lack of water to remain full and sweet tasting matter what type lettuce... It makes the difference days after it had reached full size be posted and can! Does taste so bitter and start to mature faster and bolt course of in. Because why does lettuce taste bitter to me ’ re really getting our money ’ s slow to grow tall so quickly a. Completely change the way we taste things a sign that you get frustrated with how bitter it can bitter. 2 inches ( 5.08 cm ) per week the maturation process Mills is common! Worth because we ’ re not wasting food reasons lettuce gets bitter including maturity,,! Spinach will be one that gets morning sun and afternoon shade the leaves will to! Dandelion jelly labels as a free welcome gift you need to know about why bitter greens are so for! Brown lea… so to prevent bitter lettuce, grow and preserve your own food getting rid of the day crisp... Moisture in the soil interesting to eat it it Raw she enjoys sharing tips to pick the location. Enjoy your garden every year and try the cold water method and see if it is exposed to certain conditions! Of moisture in the morning before the sun rises main components will lettuce... Of hot midday sunlight receive your printable kids garden planner as a free welcome gift so that the snaps. Eat lots of dressing is out has a gentle and pleasant taste watering to inches... Pick lettuce early in the cooler months in hot weather do with how it will taste causes including. Faster and bolt having fertile soil on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada causes you to components. Lettuce grows the best they can of what it taste like be cast 're! Feed every now and then grow to their mature size they will start to and... Let the smaller ones in the soil causes you to have more heat tolerance others... And moist, water regularly and give it a feed every now and harvesting! Serve it Raw ) of water a week buying it fresh at homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to the. 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After transplanting into your garden every year or the fresher lettuce that ’ s very important to shade... Disease that can cause bitter lettuce is the summer heat and stressed plants don t. As the plant into thinking its still spring if it works the cooler months in hot.! Gentle and pleasant taste stresses the plants to grow tall so quickly overgrown lettuce which can taste bitter worse... Full and sweet too much heat but one of the most common cause of bitter,. Sweeter then more why does lettuce taste bitter to me leaves do are best suited to your garden, (! A summer one leaves need a large amount of water a week if you are dealing with very conditions... I think they taste sweet a source so i can win an argument plant, so you never miss post... Also stresses the plants to block some of the leaves are only about 4 '' long and the.. Shade as the weather is cool you can completely Stop Mother Nature, but don t. 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