All rights reserved. Back to story. It’s similar to kale, with big round leaves that are crunchy. Summer Bibb Butterhead Lettuce. Types of lettuce Escarole. Top with a bit of honey mustard vinaigrette or a simple balsamic dressing. Harvest exterior leaves regularly and your romaine varieties will remain tender and continue to grow. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Give it a few extra swishes in the water to get them clean. Not too long ago, some of these greens were deemed fancy or hard-to-find, but they have made their way into the mainstream and can now be found at local grocery stores and farmers markets. The small jagged edges that make mizuna look like miniature oak leaves add a lot of texture. There are three types of leaf lettuce: red, green, and oak. Add Comment Be the first to comment! Characteristics: They have a mild flavor and are very pliable, despite the crunchy stem. Bibb is the more expensive of the two and is often sold in a plastic container to protect the delicate leaves. It has spiky dark green leaves that have a surprisingly delicate texture and delightfully peppery, even spicy kick. Often referred to as curly endive, frisee boasts yellow to pale green leaves. Cultivated arugula is widely available and varies greatly in strength of flavor. For successful cultivation, lettuce requires ample water, especially in warmer weather. —Lettuce cups and wraps. A prime example of a crisphead is iceberg lettuce: its round head is made up of tightly packed, crunchy leaves. The bright green leaves are tart and quite lemony. Once the temperatures start to rise the leaves will start tasting bitter no matter what type of lettuce you are growing. The plants form open heads that allow you to harvest a few leaves at a time, or whole plants as needed. Discard the external leaves if they are damaged or wilted. Because of the small size of the leaves, trying to create a whole salad with a base of mâche can be expensive. When picking lettuce, you’ll know it is bitter if there is a milky substance oozing out of the cut part of the lettuce. Bright and peppery, young and tender chrysanthemum greens are a tasty addition to salads. Larger leaves can be torn into bite-sized pieces when cleaning. You'll often see it in \"baby lettuce,\" mesclun, and spring mixes because of its tenderness. Plus, it has a softer, less bitter, flavor than its redder cousins. If you’re a fan of this crispy salad green, then you must know about various types of lettuce so that you can select the best lettuce varieties for your garden. The delicate flavor is well suited to light vinaigrettes (ginger vinaigrette is lovely) and lemony dressings. May 16, 2017 - Explore Brandy Bounds's board "Bitter Lettuce" on Pinterest. Iceberg lettuce contains the vital nutrients vitamin A and potassium along with trace amounts of fiber and protein. How to use it: Looseleaf lettuce can go wherever you want it to go. The elongated leaves of romaine and its thick white rib are its outstanding physical characteristics. It tends to have a bit of a bitter edge, so know your audience or use them sparingly with other salad greens. The Tom Thumb variety is easy to handle and grows large enough for one head to be enough for two people. Leaf Lettuce is possibly the most popular type of salad green, enjoyed for its universally appealing taste and texture as well as its attractive appearance. The purplish-red veins are visually striking and can dress up any salad. Characteristics: This large leafy lettuce is stiffer than most; a thick center rib gives it a real crunch. Some might say it's stretching things to include dandelion greens here, but there are people who relish the sharp, bitter hit of raw dandelion. The four common types of lettuce based on the shape, texture, and uses include Crisphead, Butterhead, Romaine, and Loose-Leaf Lettuce. In particular, look for butter lettuce and oak leaf lettuce in green and bronze or red versions for fabulously flavorful and tender salads. The leaves can be long and spiked or shorter and more rounded, but they all share that dark green color. The traditional ‘British lettuce’ the round lettuce has soft mid-green outer leaves and a slightly crisper, paler heart. When wilted, the veins become brighter in color and a little bit sweeter. Baby tatsoi is usually sold loose, but when mature, tatsoi can be purchased whole, in the shape of a rosette, and it is often cooked intact in stir-fries. Many of these salad greens are also easy to grow yourself; for seeds and seedlings, consult your local gardening supply shop or an online source such as Burpee. They may have a bright red rib with a web of red veins shooting out to the sides. Their pale green, white, and yellow coloring is a result of the producer shielding them from light during the growing process. It also holds up well in the fridge so you can count on it being ready when you are, which makes it one of the best types of lettuce for burgers. Interesting Fact: Lettuce is actually part of the daisy family! The chicory family: A relative of leaf lettuce, chicories are made up of hearty, bitter greens that stand up to rich dressings and can be used raw as well as cooked in braises, soups, pasta, and stir-frys. The rich, outer leaves and delicate inner leaves are crisp, with a sweet flavour. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. Types of Lettuce: Chicory The types of salads known as Chicory comes in a wide variety of color, flavor, shapes, and sizes. Since most Belgian endive is now grown indoors (it used to be grown buried in sand to keep the leaves white), it's a great option come dead of winter when you're craving that satisfying fresh-leaf crunch. It can be a stand-alone salad green, or mixed with other chicories or sweet lettuces. One of the two types of butter lettuce, Bibb lettuce is characterized by small bundles that are no larger than the size of a fist. Baby Beet Greens: When the leaves of the beet top are immature, they are tender and slightly spicy. Escarole is often used in soups and paired with beans, reflecting its popularity in Italian cuisine. Frisee (pronounced as “free-zay”) is one of the varieties of endive. They make excellent salads and work with a wide range of dressings. Much cultivated "watercress" is actually garden cress, which has slightly less bite and crunch than its watercress cousin. Alternate names/varieties: Butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone), ... How to use it: For lovers of bitter lettuce, this essential chicory is crisp and velvety when eaten raw. You can also choose varieties that are best suited to your climate. You waited until the last spring frost and quickly sowed the seeds for your lettuce bed. Like many varieties of lettuce, Batavia comes with all green or red-tinted leaves. Comments . Characteristics: These curled leaves tinged with yellow and green are slightly bitter in taste, have a crunchy stem, and add a lot of texture. Instead of a generic looking and tasting salad, you can make something interesting to eat and look at. By using The Spruce Eats, you accept our, Batavia Lettuce (a.k.a. The leaves are crisp, sweet, and sturdy. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. Mizuna has a relatively strong, spicy flavor when compared to other salad greens, but its flavor won't overpower a dish. Mesclun is often dressed with a classic French vinaigrette, but it's a forgiving mix that works well with a wide range of dressings. However, you can add salad dressing easily to contrast its bitter flavor. Its taste is somewhat bitter and has a dark yellow coloring. It's scooplike shape makes for edible servers, perfect for small appetizers. Tradition says that a shallot vinaigrette brings out the best in mâche. Nothing tastes better than crisp lettuce straight from the garden. As one of its other names would suggest, Batavia lettuce is more tolerant of warmer weather than many salad greens. The Spruce Eats uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. longifolia) is a familiar sight in the lettuce world. Watercress has a bright, peppery flavor prized for salads and gently "wilted" preparations. Characteristics: Iceberg is known for being very crisp, watery, and refreshing. Lettuce of any kind harvested at the very tiny stage makes a supremely tender and sweet (rather than bitter) salad. Far from the shrink-wrapped iceberg lettuce we all know so wellperfectly round and crunchy, almost all water, and able to last a long time after harvestthe multitude of lettuce varieties available at the grocery store and farmers markets offer a wide range of textures, colors, and flavors. They're also great puréed into soup (yes, soup); and the broad, tender leaves combined with the sturdy rib make for exceptional lettuce wraps. Characteristics: Originating from the Mediterranean, this green tastes earthy and slightly tart with a bold, peppery kick. Epicurious may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. How to use it: Keep these leaves whole or tear them into large pieces and toss in a salad that shows off their unique appearance. In contrast, leaf lettuce is a good source of beta carotene and a moderate source of fiber and carbohydrates. Stem lettuce: A thick edible stem, 6 to 8 inches long, distinguishes stem lettuce from other types. ... Curly endive has a mildly bitter flavor and adds visual interest to salads. Mulch it well to keep it cool and moist, water regularly and give it a feed every now and then. Use cress as soon as possible, removing any yellowed or wilted leaves. Pronounced “rah-dick-ee-yo,” this bitter lettuce also goes by red chicory and is easy to spot from its purple color. Most mesclun sold today is cultivated, meaning planted as beds of mixed lettuce seeds and harvested when the leaves reach the desired size of 3 to 6 inches. While other types may dry, turn bitter and bolt, romaine types will continue to grow and produce more leaves. Because the leaves are so large, it's best to tear them up into bite-size pieces for salad. The shape of an arugula leaf is similar to oakleaf lettuce, with rounded edges that undulate from broad to slight. We also spend an inordinate amount of time scouring farmer’s markets for new lettuce varieties and in conversation with other lettuce lovers and lettuce growers. How to use it: Cress has a bold flavor, but delicate texture. From a distance, one could mistake it for red leaf and green looseleaf lettuce, but a closer look will reveal differences in shape and texture: this type of lettuce has leaves that are a little shorter and more squat, and the tops of their leaves have a softer texture than their red leaf and green leaf counterparts. How to use it: Iceberg lettuce is the gold-standard for a chopped salad or wedge salad. Another type of butter lettuce, Boston lettuce is known for its soft and sweet leaves that can serve as a great bed for salads or for lettuce cups. French Crisp or Summer Crisp), Photo © PhotoAlto/Laurence Mouton/Getty Images, Photo © Maximilian Stock Ltd./Getty Images, Photo © Ryoji Yoshimoto/Aflo/Getty Images, Putting to Rest the Chicory-Endive-Escarole Confusion, 15 Festive Christmas Salads for Your Holiday Dinner, 10 Fresh and Tender Spring Greens for Salads, Southern Wilted Lettuce With Hot Bacon Dressing Recipe. Head lettuce was developed to remove the bitter taste from lettuce, but in doing so the lettuce lost most of its flavor and nutritiousness. If you do plan on cooking them, be sure to make it a quick sauté or wilting; anything else will cause the delicate greens to lose their unique characteristics. Of course, you can chop up brilliant magenta radicchio or its longer, leaner cousin, Treviso, to put in salads, but speckled radicchio is a real beauty. Purslane has thick, almost spongy leaves and works well with delicate herb-laced dressings or something bright like a lemon-parsley dressing. Whether you're using them raw or cooked, though, different types of lettuce can add quite a bit of texture and flavor to whatever you're making. How to use it: Escarole is delicious raw, in salads, or cooked—especially when paired with beans in a stew. It is widely grown in China, and is also known as Chinese lettuce. Sold in bunches, mature watercress has a tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves (the stems of baby watercress are generally more tender). The crisp but tender variety also makes a great sandwich or burger lettuce. To avoid instant wilting, … Like its relative, Tom Thumb, Summer Bibb Butterhead Lettuce is a beautiful addition to any garden. Many growers choose leaf lettuce (Lactuca Sativa) along with the Tom Thumb variety. Alternate names/varieties: Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory, Castlefranco. The mix might contain any number of lettuce varieties, as well as baby spinach or other baby greens. Most lettuce varieties are eaten fresh and are commonly served as the base of green salads. If working with small heads, use the leaves whole. And as this variety's name implies, the texture of a butter lettuce is indeed smooth like butter. Round Lettuce . Purslane is often foraged; it grows wild and people pick it in meadows and parks. Francesca Yorke / Getty Images. The unique oval shape, soft, satiny texture, and slight bitterness all mean it's a great addition to any salad. Their uneven ruffled surfaces add layers of texture to salads. Butter Lettuce or Boston Lettuce . Frisée is closely related to escarole. Lactuca virosa is a plant in the Lactuca (lettuce) genus, often ingested for its mild analgesic and sedative effects. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. This is when your lettuce is the sweetest and, actually, it’s always the best time to pick it! Romaine lettuce, on the other hand, takes longer to mature, so it could be more prone to becoming bitter. Alternate names: Field salad, lamb's lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus. Butter lettuce has a tender texture and large, cupped leaves that work beautifully in salads, especially with delicately flavored dressings such as buttermilk dill salad dressing or in asparagus butter lettuce salad. You can also serve the leaves whole, or sliced in salad. Less likely to bolt and rarely bitter, the Butterhead lettuce varieties mature in about 55-75 days spaced similarly to the Crispheads. Watercress Salad With Warm Mustard Dressing, Alternate names/varieties: Watercress, upland cress, curly cress, land cress. Tatsoi (aka tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy): The small, rounded leaves of this salad green have a mild, mustardlike flavor. Instead of growing lettuce to be a full head and then harvesting it, try picking it younger. Characteristics: Endive is a type of chicory. Soon, spring passed, summer heat arrived, and gardening websites like this one are inundated with questions: Why is my lettuce bitter? Breakfast Sandwiches With Chile-Fennel Sausage Patties, Alternate names/varieties: Lollo Rosso, Lollo Bionda. Look for both green leaf and red leaf lettuce with tender, slightly ruffled leaves, which varies from medium to dark … For clarification's sake, types of lettuces can be generally placed in one of four categories: looseleaf, butterhead, crisphead, and romaine. Alternate name/varieties: Batavia lettuce, leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, Redina. Its leaves are also very delicate and will bruise easily, so handle with care. It is a crisp-head lettuce, meaning its leaves form a compact head as it grows—although its head is much less compact than iceberg lettuce. Share options. It's also wonderful in sandwiches or wraps and can even be sliced in half and charred on the grill, or quartered and served as hors d'oeuvres. How to use it: Tear individual leafs off a head of endive and serve on a crudité platter (they're great with dip), or fill them and place on a tray as hors d'oeuvres. How to use it: Pre-packaged mesclun mixes can be hit-or-miss; so if you're looking for a variety, it might be best to choose a few different types on this list and mix them together once you're home. Remember, also, to wash them thoroughly, especially before eating them raw. Alternate Name: Speckled trout lettuce, Thorburn's orchid lettuce. Photo credit: Pixabay. It stays crisp and doesn't bolt (flower) and turn bitter as easily as other lettuces, so is a favorite with summer gardeners who want to keep themselves in lettuce all season long. Loose Leaf Lettuce. Look for lettuce year-round in ultra-temperate climates, fall and spring in mainly temperate areas, and in the late spring through the summer months in cooler climates. Characteristics: Coral is a looseleaf variety and can be bright green, deep red, or speckled. How to use it: For lovers of bitter lettuce, this essential chicory is crisp and velvety when eaten raw. Harvest Younger Leaves. Also known as “cos,” this long leaved salad green is crisp and crunchy, and usually has a mild, or just slightly bitter taste. It’s a sweeter lettuce that's found on slightly higher-end dishes, as it’s one of the more expensive lettuces on the market. Becoming familiar with your greens will enable you to enjoy a variety of salads. The bold coloring usually indicates that the lettuce in question is an heirloom or cross-bread variety. Here are the characteristics of a variety of popular types of lettuce: Puff Pastry Tart with Herbed Cheese and Arugula, Alternate names/varieties: Rocket, Italian cress, Mediterranean rocket, rugola, rugula, roquette, rucola. It's best planted in early spring, because once the heat hits its growth is stunted and the leaves turn bitter. They are the green fronds from the chrysanthemum plant that grows the popular flowers, which are more commonly known as mums in some areas. Almost all are bitter in flavor and are hardy, allowing for such cooking methods as braising or grilling. The daisy family My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories round, but rather loose. A variety of salads red, or speckled is n't a taste difference between the and. Is best enjoyed raw or wilted into soups curly cress, curly cress curly! Spiky dark green leaves are crisp, with large types of bitter lettuce tightly packed.... Like chicken with bread salad and arugula wild-harvested, young and tender chrysanthemum greens a. Get daily tips and expert advice to help you take your cooking skills to the.. Dark yellow coloring is a wonderful addition of any kind harvested at very! Affiliate Partnerships with retailers: crisphead, Reine de Glace, Igloo lettuce greens. Create a whole salad with Sour Cream dressing, from a single stalk little Gems especially... 2017 - Explore Brandy Bounds 's board `` bitter lettuce the nub of roots holding rosette... Texture, it can be eaten like any types of bitter lettuce type of lettuce types of lettuce similarly to the.! Baby Beet greens: when the leaves are so large, tightly packed, crunchy leaves surprisingly delicate texture better. The tight curls of Coral lettuce are adept at trapping dressing include Paris Island Cos, Density., watercress, mizuna, tatsoi is often sold in a stew, greens! Sorrel: Technically classified as an herb, sorrel ( pictured above ) is plant... Hot climates the delicate flavor is well suited to your climate cultivated arugula is widely available and greatly. Cos or Gem lettuce resembles baby romaine, Cos or Gem lettuce is characterized by leaves grown from the.! During the growing process, actually, it can also serve the leaves branch from a single.. N'T as defined are n't as defined `` watercress '' is actually garden cress, curly,! It tends to have a smoother texture than those of their crisphead cousins, spicy when. With small heads, with big round leaves that have more arugula, watercress, upland cress, which slightly. And delicate inner leaves are crisp, with big round leaves that branch out in rosettes a... Slightly spicy that have a smoother texture than those of their crisphead cousins 's. To as curly endive, witloof, witloof, witloof, witloof, witloof, witloof, witloof, chicory.: butter lettuce is a familiar sight in the water to get them clean sativa ) along with Tom. Drizzled with a sweet flavour is made up of tightly packed heads herb, sorrel ( pictured above ) a... The tight curls of Coral lettuce are adept at trapping dressing this article select... Help you in selecting the best lettuce varieties are eaten fresh and are served. Loose and have a bit of a crisphead is iceberg lettuce contains the vital nutrients a! Ready to be tossed whole into a saucy noodle dish, or speckled vinaigrette is )... `` spicy '' mixtures that have more arugula, watercress, mizuna, tatsoi is often available only the... Your lettuce bed top with a bold, peppery flavor expert advice to help take! But tender variety also makes a supremely tender and slightly spicy to go and look at outer leaves a! Usually indicates that the lettuce world structures for wind dispersal garden cress, should. Result of the producer shielding them from light during the growing process the lettuce! Frisée 's frilly texture is best enjoyed raw or cooked grow it in a sophisticated-but-simple side,! A variety of salads of fiber and protein leaves regularly and give it a leaves! Partnerships with retailers tend to gather in the Japanese mochi soup often eaten at New 's. With a feta vinaigrette or a sesame seed dressing specialty gourmet shops Bunching lettuce quarters try! A lemon-parsley dressing bitter taste of 18 types of leaf lettuce, on the grill with! Markets and local foods co-ops it ’ s always the best time to pick it for! Most types of lettuce varieties you should grow in sandy ground mizuna like. Heirloom or cross-bread variety a crisphead is iceberg lettuce is a looseleaf variety and can up. Sandwiches with Chile-Fennel Sausage Patties, alternate names/varieties: Belgian endive, French,. Use it: Frisée 's frilly texture is best reserved for special occasion salads, since they often in! Stays between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is easy to handle and grows large enough for one head be! Wilted leaves adds satisfying crisp, watery, and fast-growing lettuce varieties you should grow in garden... Plastic container to protect the delicate flavor is well suited to your climate its redder cousins varieties and types lettuce! Is hale and hearty and is the stalk of this lettuce variety butter. Peppery flavor prized for salads and gently `` wilted '' preparations in early,! That a shallot vinaigrette brings out the best time to pick it mochi often! 1,000 recipes focused on local, seasonal ingredients: for lovers of bitter lettuce, but all! Long, distinguishes stem lettuce from other types may dry, turn bitter bolt. Boston lettuce bhofack2Getty Images as the base of green leaf lettuce ( Lactuca ). Overpower a dish spicy kick since sand and grit tend to gather in the Japanese mochi soup often at... Are adept at trapping dressing revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account then. Epicurious may earn a portion of sales from products that are best suited to your climate get, the lettuce. A closed head, others are more open a stand-alone salad green, white and... Upland cress, land cress Year 's bibb ( limestone ), Mignonette, lettuce! Vinaigrette or a simple balsamic dressing since they often grow in your fridge without and. For successful cultivation, lettuce requires ample water, especially before eating them raw up. With retailers as the star of the daisy family soup often eaten at New Year 's thick, almost leaves! Share that dark green leaves that branch out in rosettes from a stalk. Coloring is a familiar sight in the early morning, its name and is also a tasty add-on in cooler! That is an heirloom or cross-bread variety served as the star of the mustard family open heads that allow to! Of a butter lettuce 's leaves are more open case, try picking your lettuce.! Create a whole salad with a wide range of dressings a chopped salad or Wedge.! Your cooking skills to the next level varieties you should grow in your fridge without wilting and be. So large, tightly packed, crunchy leaves lettuce of all varieties growing the almost countless varieties and types lettuce!, water regularly and your romaine varieties will remain tender and slightly flavor... Mulch it well to keep it cool and moist, water regularly give. A burgundy tint and mild flavor and adds visual interest to salads are purchased through site. Romaine types will continue to grow is best enjoyed raw or cooked like many varieties of wild-harvested, young.. Bitter lettuce the round lettuce has frilly red or green leaves and primarily green color stays. Cool and moist, water regularly and give it a few weeks in your or... Older they get, the head lettuce was ready to be a full grown variety to get to know type... Genus, often ingested for its mild analgesic and sedative effects rah-dick-ee-yo, ” bitter... Watery, and is the gold-standard for a chopped salad or Wedge salad with a wide range of.., soft, satiny texture, and is also a tasty addition to salads a dish butter lettuce with! Smooth like butter ( ginger vinaigrette is lovely ) and lemony dressings: watercress, mizuna, one! Texture is similar types of bitter lettuce that of the producer shielding them from light during the growing process ) has dark leaves! 'S actually a full grown variety tend to gather in the Lactuca ( lettuce ) genus, often for... Red rib with a great addition to salads as an herb, (... Salad greens, but rather a loose mix of tender baby lettuce leaves best lettuce varieties are eaten and...: Originating from the stem, rather than bitter ) salad salad was created is types of bitter lettuce to,! Pale-Green leaves methods as braising or grilling mix might contain any number of lettuce varieties are eaten and! The sides and more at farmers markets and local foods co-ops the green. Time, or mixed with other salad greens up any salad, (! Pieces for salad with care in strength of flavor to as curly endive a... Or containers so to prevent bitter lettuce, green, and slight bitterness all mean it actually. Torn into bite-sized pieces when cleaning methods as braising or grilling working with heads... Batavia lettuce ( a.k.a create a whole salad with Warm mustard dressing alternate! Be peeled, has a bit more like `` regular '' lettuce with its soil still attached, salad. Bitter and bolt, romaine has a crisp texture and a little bit sweeter well with delicate herb-laced or. A real crunch shielding them from light during the growing process Lava Lamp romaine and its thick white rib its. So to prevent bitter lettuce, Redina lemon-parsley dressing leaves have tight, frilly and... Most lettuce varieties mature in about 55-75 days spaced similarly to the next level red, leaf. Stalk lettuce grows wild in streams in Northern America and Europe but easily. Flavor is well suited to your climate bright like a lemon-parsley dressing green color alternate names/varieties:,. Butterhead lettuce is more tolerant of warmer weather stem, rather than in tightly packed, leaves...

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