08 Oct 2019

A cos lettuce that keeps Caesar salads looking fresh

Everyone’s heard of Caesar salad – it is one of the most widely eaten salads in the world, whether at home, as a ‘salad to go’ or at fast-food outlets. Foodservice companies in particular find it challenging to keep Caesar salad looking fresh, because the key ingredient – cos lettuce, or romaine lettuce as it is also known – tends to turn pink around the edges after cutting. Vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan, which is the market leader in leafy crops, has the solution.

Knox™ in cos lettuce

Rijk Zwaan introduced its first lettuce varieties featuring the Knox™ trait in 2015, and even won the Fruit Logistica innovation award for this achievement. Knox™ delays pinking in fresh-cut lettuce and hence extends the shelf life. Since then, the Rijk Zwaan breeders have crossed the natural trait into all lettuce types, including cos lettuce. This has resulted in the Tuccadona RZ Knox™ variety, for example – a cos lettuce that enables foodservice businesses to reduce waste, which is an important aim for them.

See the difference

Bauke van Lenteren, Specialist Convenience at Rijk Zwaan, has noticed growing interest in cos lettuce with the Knox™ trait: “Our cos varieties will be on display at our demo field in Fijnaart, the Netherlands, until 25 October. Various convenience and foodservice companies have already arranged appointments for a guided tour. Other companies are also welcome to come and see the difference with conventional varieties for themselves. When we presented this Knox™ cos lettuce to the foodservice channel in the USA, Australia and Spain in the summer, the feedback was very enthusiastic. Together, we can ensure not only great-tasting but also fresh-looking Caesar salads.” That’s how we share a healthy future.

For more information about Knox™, see www.rijkzwaan.com/solutions/knox

The history of the Caesar salad

The Caesar salad isn’t actually named after Julius Caesar, but after a chef called Caesar Cardini (1896-1956) from Tijana in Mexico. The story goes that he had to improvise one day when things got very busy, so he made a salad using the ingredients that he had left: cos lettuce, some stale bread, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. When people started visiting the restaurant especially for the salad, Caesar realised that he had invented something special. The characteristic flavour comes from the dressing made using egg, oil, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Since then, a whole range of variations have been developed featuring ingredients such as anchovies, avocado, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and chicken.



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