Lettuce Types

NutriNeat Staff Oct 16, 2018
There are different kinds of lettuce types cultivated across the globe, which are used in salads, hamburger, sandwiches, tacos, etc. Read this information on the different types of lettuce.
Did you know that there are several types, colors, textures, sizes and shapes of lettuce? The supermarket seems to house only the iceberg variety, nevertheless, different types of lettuce do exist.
This delicate vegetable that adorns and adds crunch to salads and sandwiches, is loaded with vitamin C, iron, folate, beta-carotene and dietary fiber. It also furnishes the body with carbohydrates, proteins and a slight trace of fat.
However, the highlight of the nutrition package is vitamin A and potassium. The darker the lettuce, the greater the amount of nutrition loaded in it. Let's have a look at the different lettuce types.

Types of lettuce

The crispy, crunchy lettuce can be divided into four main categories. The different categories are as follows:

Romaine Lettuce

Also known as Cos, Romaine lettuce or Manchester lettuce, this type of lettuce has its origins from western Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region.
Romaine lettuce is one of the oldest varieties of cultivated lettuce and has been consumed for over 5000 years or so. Can be identified by its distinctive elongated head, coarse texture and long, narrow, crispy, dark-green leaves with a distinctive rib at the tip of the leaf.
The outer older leaves should be discarded due to their bitter taste, stemming from the presence of a milky fluid present in their thick leaf ribs. The inner leaves are lighter in color with a delicate flavor and are wonderful for Caesar salads.
Some Romaine varieties come with red tipped leaves and taste sweeter than the regular Romaine lettuce variety. This type of lettuce is regarded to be the most nutritious of all lettuces, as its dark green color speaks for the nutrition loaded within. Romaine lettuce contain 5 times more vitamin C than iceberg lettuce.

Crispheads

These bear semblance to cabbage with their tight, dense heads brought together in the form of a ball. The famous iceberg variety that we are all familiar with falls under this category.
Besides the iceberg variety, some of the other varieties are the imperial, western, vanguard and great lake. These types are valued more for their crispy, crunchy texture than their flavor. As far as flavor goes, these types of lettuce are less tasty.

Butterheads

It is called butterhead lettuce due to the smooth, buttery texture of its leaves. They form a loose head and feature thicker leaves than the other regular lettuce varieties. The color of the leaves may vary from light green to dark green, to a reddish-purplish color. The smaller loose-headed leaves are tender, soft and sweeter in flavor.
They have a mild taste and are used in salads.
Butterhead lettuce is known to be an excellent source of vitamin K. The Boston lettuce variety of butterheads appear like a blooming rose. The other butterhead lettuce varieties are the bibb, buttercrunch, limestone lettuce, etc.

Leaf Lettuce

It is also rich in vitamin K and vitamin A and are used for taco fillings, salads, etc. These lettuce feature loose clusters of leaves forming a rosette, rather than tight heads of lettuce. The leaves are mostly lightweight, ruffly, wrinkly with a velvety texture.
Their colors mostly range from bright green to reddish-bronze. The cascade of loose leaves due to open growth, makes it possible to pick the leaves without cutting the whole plant. However, this lettuce type is not as crunchy and crispy as some other types, instead are more soft and delicate.
Consuming one and a half cup of red lettuce leaves furnishes the body with 40% of vitamin A, 6% of vitamin C, 4% of calcium, and 1 gram of protein.
All these types of lettuce should be harvested in their young and tender stage, however, they should have attained their full size. Picking over-mature lettuce only yields woody and bitter salad greens. As it's a delicate vegetable, it should be selected and stored carefully.
Select lettuce that are fresh and crisp with no dark spots or wilts. Also have an eye for the darker types of lettuce as they are far more nutritious. Place the lettuce leaves in plastic bags and store them in the refrigerator. When you need them, take them out and enjoy a fresh, crunchy salad.