These days, there are more than 100 varieties of lettuce available, giving us an endless assortment of colors, textures and shapes to adorn our plates — and countless ways to work more healthy greens into our diets. (Read more here about creative uses for leafy greens.)
In addition to traditional lettuces, unique, heirloom varieties are often offered at farmers’ markets, and they’re definitely worth a try. Don’t be shy: When perusing lettuce, ask questions such as, “Is this lettuce more like a buttery Bibb or sharp arugula?” The grower will love bragging about the taste and textural qualities of the leaves!
And for those times when you don’t have the opportunity to ask, use this cheat sheet!
Butter Oak: Varieties include Flashy and Blushed; the oak-shaped, super soft leaves are achieved by crossing butterhead-type lettuce with oak leaf lettuce.
Buttercrunch: Bibb-type lettuce with thick, juicy leaves and subtle buttery flavor.
Cimarron: Large, tender, red romaine with orange-yellow center; flavor resembles blend of red lettuce and romaine.