Lettuce is familiar to most people, but what you may not know is that it is in the same family as the daisy! Due to the fact that about 95% of lettuce in the US is grown in California and Arizona, many people have not had the opportunity to enjoy the taste of truly fresh lettuces, nor the variety that you will receive as part of your share. Unlike iceberg lettuce, which contains almost no nutrients, other types, such as romaines and even butterheads, contain 50-75% of vitamins C, A and K in a 2 cup serving.
- Romaine: Also known as Cos, this variety of head forming lettuce has deep green, long leaves with a crisp texture and deep taste.
- Crisphead: With green leaves on the outside and whitish ones on the inside, this variety of head lettuce has a crisp texture and a watery, mild taste. The best known variety of crisphead lettuce is iceberg but you are likely to see other types at the farm.
- Butterhead: These types of lettuce feature tender large leaves that form a loosely arranged head that is easily separated from the stem, a sweet flavor and a soft texture. The best known varieties of Butterhead lettuce include Boston and Bibb.
- Leaf: Featuring broad, curly leaf varieties that are green and/or red, the leaf lettuces offer a delicate taste and a mildly crispy texture. Best known varieties of leaf lettuce include green leaf and red leaf.
Storing / Preserving:
Storing lettuces is fairly simple. A rule of thumb is that the tougher greens, such as romaine, are best stored dry, so place them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.The more tender greens, such as butter types and leaf, prefer more moisture, so wrap in moist paper towels and then place in a perforated plastic bag in the refridgerator.
Preparation / Use Suggestions:
Salads can be prepared in so many ways and everyone has their favorites. Check out the website recipes for some ideas. Whatever salad combinations or dressing you choose, make sure the greens are dry. Wash them well to make sure to remove any grit. If you do not already have one, invest in a salad spinner. It can be used for all of your greens or veggies to wash and then spin the water off of them.
The superfresh delicate greens of early season do not need much. Try whisking together salt, pepper, a little bit of dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice and/or red wine vinegar with olive oil -- I find the best ratio is 1 part lemon juiceor vinegar to 3-4 parts olive oil. Try this and then adjust oil up or down to your liking. You can add fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, chives and/or basil -- mix it up how you like it and vary the acid to different vinegars, or citrus juices!