There are a large variety of lettuces that are mostly available year round and strive in spring. But, other than the looks, who actually knows the differences between say a green oak and a radicchio? Here is a beginners guide to fancy lettuces. Rule number 1 - green lettuces seem to have a slightly longer lifespan after being picked.
Whether they are green or red, oaks are a loose head lettuces with rounded leaves. Soft and great for salad mix, with reds having a slightly sweeter flavour and greens having a slightly fresher, more bitter flavour profile.
Loose heads with spikey leaves that dressings love to stick to and hold in. Coming in bright green or a dark rich purple, corals have a very light, watery, bitter flavour.
Ranging from darker red varieties through to green heads with red speckles. Radicchio generally has a bitter buttery flavour, and the easy thing is the redder the bunch is the stronger the flavour.
The larger the cos heart, the more crispy and stronger the flavour. In general, Cos lettuces are very watery and subtlety flavoured. Best used when mixing with other strong flavours and heavier dressings.
Dark green, either long and spikey or round and short. Rocket leaves have a strong bitter peppery flavour. In general, larger leaves have a stronger flavour, hence the popularity of baby rocket as it has all the properties of larger bunches but with a more subtle profile.
Has some similarities with iceberg lettuce, with a softer, rounder leaf and a less dense head. The leaves are often described as delicate and are perfect for salads using lighter dressings.