Dutch vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan has announced the extension of its product range with the introduction of a frilly, open lettuce type that the group says has the bite of iceberg lettuce.
The new variety, named Crystal, is described the Rijk Zwaan as "unique" due to is its suitability for use in hot dishes.
“Crystal lettuce could be the best-tasting lettuce we’ve ever launched,” says crop coordinator for lettuce Harry Turna.
“Besides its sweetness and crunchiness, it stands out because of its high number of robust and slightly blistered leaves," Turna explained. "They maintain their attractive texture and ‘bite’ even when they are combined with warm ingredients. This makes Crystal lettuce ideal for use in burgers and sandwiches, as well as in traditional Asian ‘hot pot’ dishes.”
The frilly Crystal lettuce leaves are also suitable for fresh, loose-leaf consumption, Rijk Zwaan outlined, thus offering various opportunities for retailers, both for the whole-head market and for pre-washed, bagged salads.
Rijk Zwaan has so far developed one Crystal lettuce variety. which can be grown year-round and is especially suitable for hydroponic production in South East Asia, high-intensity lit crops and plant factories.
The group will be running practical trials of the variety with selected growers over the coming months, it confirmed, and seeds are expected to be commercially available from March 2018 onwards.
The Crystal lettuce variety was presented to the Asian market during Rijk Zwaan’s Asian Leafy Days, which took place on 3-5 September in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia.