For more than a century, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce has remained one of the most popular lettuce varieties worldwide. This tasty, versatile, heirloom vegetable is easy to grow and has a bevy of uses in the kitchen.
Keep reading to learn everything you might need to know about buying, growing, and eating this delicious veggie!
Characteristics of Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is a light-green, upright, loose-leaf variety. Unlike tight head lettuce varieties, it is characterized by frilled rosettes and crumpled leaves.
Regarded as one of the best-tasting varieties, this lettuce has a mild, sweet, and yet full flavor. Unlike other types of lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson is rarely bitter—thanks to its heat-resistant qualities.
Although this lettuce possesses crunchy stem, the outer leaves are quite pliable and maneuverable. Overall, the variety’s texture is both crisp and juicy, and leaves are generally firmer toward the plant’s stem.
About Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce’s slightly sweet flavor and crisp texture makes it a great option for many dishes.
It’s worth noting, however, that this lettuce does not preserve well. Its high water content causes it to spoil faster than many vegetables and even sooner than some other lettuce varieties. After harvesting or purchasing this lettuce, keep it stored in an air-tight container and use it within five days.
Like most lettuce varieties, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce boasts enormous health benefits. To start, it is high in fiber, which can help regulate your digestive system and lower the risk of heart disease.
It is also packed with various vitamins and minerals—including vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and folic acid.
Lettuce is also considered healthy because of what is omitted. This leafy green is low in not only fat and cholesterol but also sodium. As its makeup is roughly 95% water, it is also able to hydrate the body like few foods can.
Because of the vegetable’s fresh and mostly neutral flavor, it can be integrated into all kinds of dishes. Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is often used in salads, wraps, and sandwiches, as its ruffled leaves provide a different texture.
As for hot dishes, this lettuce pairs well with various soups and stir-fries. It is also the perfect the addition to tacos. As Black Simpson’s leaves are full-sized, however, you will need to chop them down to a more manageable size.
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is a vigorous grower that thrives in zones 2a – 11b. It reaches maturity in approximately 30 – 50 days and may be harvested in as little as 40 days. Because it is more weather-resistant than the average variety of lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is often able to survive light frost and drought.
With that said, cool weather is most ideal for growing this variety, and hot summer weather may cause bolting. Avoid temperatures that exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep an eye out for any large flowering stalks.
For the best results, start sowing in early spring. Plant your lettuce seeds a few inches apart and your rows roughly 18 inches apart. After spreading the seed, gently cover it will a thin layer of soil and water the area twice per week. Watering should be consistent yet relatively brief, as lettuce plants have shallow root systems.
Make sure your entire crop has access to full sunlight during the spring and fall. During the late summer months, however, limit excessive sunlight by partially shading the area.
Transplanting allows your crop to avoid competition with weeds while your seeds are still vulnerable. To successfully transplant seedlings from an indoor location to an outdoor location, however, there are a few steps you should take.
First, start lowering the temperature and reducing water roughly three days before you plan to move your crop. Next, choose an overcast day that will cause minimal shock to the plants. Make sure it is approximately three or four weeks out from when you sowed the seed.
Finally, you may apply an organic fertilizer to promote growth, reintroduce water, and gradually expose your crops to more sunlight.
Because Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is considered a cut-and-come-again, loose-leaf variety, there are two common options for harvesting.
The first option is to cut and remove only the outer leaves as you need them. This is essentially a method of pruning, and it will cause the plant to continue growing all season long.
The second option is to cut the entire plant at the soil line. If you plan to maximize your harvest, this option is best left until the end of fall.
History of Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
This lettuce variety is believed to have originated in 1850, most likely in the Asia Minor region. In the 1870s, Henderson and Company brought it over to the United States, bred it, and popularized it.
Today, it is one of the most common loose-leaf varieties throughout the world. A favorite among growers, this heirloom vegetable continues to be passed down through generations of farmers.
Where to Buy Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce Seeds
This is a relatively common household variety. You may be able to spot it at your local grocery, farmers market, or nursery.
If you want to grow your own Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, there are a few places to find seeds. You can currently purchase seeds online at HOSS Tools.
Wrapping Up Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Are you looking to buy Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce or even try your hand at growing it? Whether you pull it from the garden or the grocery shelf, this leafy green can be used in various dishes.
Visit our lettuce page for more information about other types of lettuce and how to grow them!