Planting lettuce in your garden is not only simple but also beneficial, and growing red leaf lettuce adds an extra element of fun. Red leaf lettuce not only adds color to salads and wraps but also matures faster and is more nutritious than green leaf lettuce. While you could opt for iceberg or romaine lettuce, sometimes shaking things up with a splash of color is a nice change. There are many different types of lettuce to choose from, but let's focus on 5 varieties.

Is Red Leaf Lettuce Healthier?

Both green and red leaf lettuces are rich in nutrients (low in calories). The red color of red leaf lettuce comes from the pigment anthocyanin, which is said to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest that anthocyanins may also help in treating cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes.

However, in terms of nutritional value, green leaf lettuce actually surpasses red leaf lettuce. It has higher levels of vitamins A and K, fiber, and micronutrients compared to red leaf lettuce. That being said, both are excellent choices to add to a healthy diet.

The Most Delicious Types of Red Leaf Lettuce

The most delicious lettuce truly is a personal preference. I lean towards cos or romaine lettuce because I enjoy their crispness and crunchiness. By the way, there's a variety of red romaine lettuce as well.

red romaine lettuce

The taste of green leaf lettuce and red leaf lettuce is similar; slightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. Red leaf lettuce is delicate and wrinkled, making it visually appealing, but it lacks the crispness or crunch of romaine or iceberg. It has a bittersweet aroma, which becomes slightly bitter in mature leaves. Its shelf life is also noticeably shorter compared to green leaf varieties.

The Most Beautiful Types of Red Leaf Lettuce

Choosing the most beautiful type of red leaf lettuce is as subjective as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just the various shades of red are worth a look. Pair that with delicate, often wrinkled leaves, and they all look stunning.

Red sails might be the most common red leaf lettuce. Developed in 1985, it's bolt-resistant, cold-hardy, maintains flavor without bitterness, and forms large, frilly heads.

Red sails

Red deer tongue, not only has a wonderful name but is an heirloom variety that forms loose heads of long leaves. It matures quickly, so it's best planted in spring or fall.

Ruby gem forms beautiful rose-like heads with a green center. This red leaf lettuce grows to about 10 inches (25 cm) wide and looks great in containers and window boxes. It also has bolt resistance, thriving in hot summers.

Merlot is said to be the darkest of red lettuces. It has crisp, wavy leaves, is bolt-resistant, and has excellent cold tolerance. This one is great for crops from late fall to winter and can be cut or harvested.

Galaxy is a Burgundy-colored red leaf with glossy, broad leaves and a hint of green at the base. It's an open-pollinated variety often used for baby leaf production. It's resistant to downy mildew.

Does Red Leaf Lettuce Taste Different from Green Leaf Lettuce?

Both have a similar taste; slightly sweet with some nuttiness. As leaves mature, red leaf lettuce tends to become more bitter and is described as slightly sweet and bitter, with a hazelnut flavor.

Is Red Leaf Lettuce a Perennial Plant?

No. Red leaf lettuce is an annual plant that thrives in cool weather, growing best when temperatures are between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (16-21 degrees Celsius). However, some varieties can be harvested on a cut-and-come-again basis, or you can plant a second crop in the fall to extend the harvest time.

March 25, 2024

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