What it is: Heads of buttery lettuce packed in a clamshell
Bonnie: More than a quarter of a century ago, Earthbound Farm successfully began selling the prewashed, bagged salads that are now commonplace in supermarkets. There are still some of us who like to buy fresh, whole heads of lettuce, especially when in season, for our salads.
Now Dole has introduced another option: handpicked, whole heads of delicate red and green buttery lettuces packed with two whole heads in each clamshell. These are not prewashed. You will need to use a knife to easily core the heads, and then wash the leaves to remove the field dirt. The resulting leaves produce delicious salads with interesting textures and flavors.
The red and green butter lettuces have tender buttery textures; the red with a sweet, nutty flavor, the green a sweet, tangy flavor. The green oak has a bit more crunch — yet not as crunchy as romaine or iceberg — with a sweet flavor.
They’re all good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron, with the green oak and red butter excellent sources of those nutrients. These new salad offerings will help make getting your daily two cups of daily vegetables and nutrients easier.
I highly recommend you give them a try and see the reaction from those to whom you serve the salads, as these are not your traditional lettuces. They’re full-of-flavor yummy.
Bryan: A red and green butter lettuce and beet salad with fresh goat cheese, drizzled with a homemade honey mustard dressing and topped with freshly grilled and spiced chicken… definitely one of the best salads I’ve had in a long time. Where did I enjoy such a meal you might ask? My kitchen is my answer. Though all the accoutrements were of my own creation, the key to the whole salad was Dole’s new line of handpicked lettuces.
The Dole Hand Picked Selections Lettuce comes in packages of two: two little heads of deliciously rich and flavorful butter lettuce. One head is good for one person, so cut them both up if you’re cooking for two or more. I took the opportunity to add roasted beets and fresh goat cheese with some grilled chicken, but obviously the possibilities are endless and I promote experimentation in the kitchen. It’s wonderful to have such a good “base” product around. It’s so easy to eat well when you start with fresh, tasty ingredients.
Dole Foods is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables, doing business in more than 90 countries worldwide. When it comes to food, I believe bigger is not always better. We feature a number of boutique producers on our site, as often smaller firms are able to focus on the quality of their food rather than the constraints of mass production.
It’s wonderful to see such a great tasting, natural product from one of the big boys. The volume of fresh produce Dole moves on a daily basis is astonishing, and as such, I was more than pleasantly surprised while enjoying their butter lettuces. Though the packaging does seem a bit overkill, you do get a perfectly shaped head of lettuce to enjoy. Simply cut off the core and rinse… you’re heading for a good salad.
Eric: “I don’t get it,” was my initial reaction when opening up the absurdly overprotective packaging that housed varieties of different Dole “Hand Picked Selections” head lettuce. “What is so special about this lettuce?” was my second reaction when staring at the myriad varieties of lettuce heads gracing my kitchen counter. “What do I do with all this lettuce” was my third reaction while trying to find room in my fridge. “I will never eat any other lettuce again” was my final reaction after having made a salad with the red and green butter varieties.
It was as if I were almost eating lettuce greens that were smothered in butter (the namesake should say enough); the taste was pure — like biting into a freshly picked farm-grown tomato, or that feeling you get when the juice of a fresh peach drips down your chin. Dole Hand Picked Selections are a return to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle — except the product is stored in an overwhelming amount of plastic packaging. Reassess that part of the market matrix, and you have yourself one heck of a product….
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