UK breeder CN Seeds has unveiled a new wholehead Chinese cabbage variety Scarlette F1 that is famed for its neon pink inner leaves and mild flavour.
Developed by a specialist breeder in Asia, Scarlette is being aimed towards the salad markets in the UK and Spain. It is expected to generate particular interest among chefs due to its distinctive appearance.
CN Seeds, which specialises in baby leaf, herbs and specialty vegetables, has been granted exclusive distribution rights for the new cabbage, which has dark green-red outer leaves and pink inner leaves. It is described as having a mild brassica flavour with a hint of pepperiness.
Chinese cabbage varieties that are currently available on the market are green leaved, with a pale green or yellow heart.
“We have been following the development of this material for several years and have a couple of seasons of trial experience with Scarlette, which is very different from any other Chinese leaf in the market,” said CN Seeds’ Craig Thomas.
“Customer reaction has been very positive, particularly when heads are cut for the first time and the startling red inner leaves are revealed.
“This is a potential alternative product to red lettuce or radicchio in salad bags, with the advantage of a mild flavour and being less prone to oxidisation (browning). We think it will also appeal strongly to chefs who will be able to use the neon pink colour of the inner leaves to garnish meals.”
Scarlette is best suited to late summer and autumn production, sowing between June and July when the risk of bolting is reduced. As a wholehead variety, Scarlette can be shredded as a processed product but also has potential to sell in its original form.
Heads will typically take 70 to 75 days from transplanting to maturity, and finish with a head weight of between 0.8 and 1.2 kg, CN Seeds said.