Early Spring – Late Summer Planting Is Best For Leafed Salad Greens

Most salad leaf plants are cool weather loving and do not do well in the summer heat or in the southern or southwest U.S. unless planted early in the spring and again late in summer or early fall. They can be harvested at any size but leaf cuttings are best while the leafs are rather small and very sweet and tender.

Select a few assorted salad greens to make a salad that is healthy, tasty and can be served with or without a salad dressing.

Chard also know as Swiss chard
Chard, seen to the left of the carrots, has colorful stalks of red, white, magenta and orange.
Chard is actually a beet vegetable. Unlike the beet, chard is cultivated for its broad leaves. It is an ornamental garden plant as well as an edible green. It produces red, yellow and white stalks with wide green leaves that can be harvested all season long without damage to the central bulb. Additional names for this plant include Swiss chard, leaf beet and spinach beet. Nutritionally, chard contains high quantities of sodium and vitamin A. Eat chard raw on sandwiches and salads or cooked and used as a spinach substitute.

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce
Red or green leaf lettuce is a large leaf lettuce. The leaves are thick and appear crumpled along the tips. Red leaf lettuce will have dark plum coloring on the leaves while green leaf lettuce remains a uniform green color. Both varieties have thick white stalks. This type of lettuce is commonly used in salads, sandwiches and tortilla wraps. According to Produce Oasis, these leaf lettuces are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.

Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce heads are tightly wrapped and columnar in shape. This is a difficult type of large leaf lettuce to grow because it has not adapted well to hot climates and poor soil conditions. Despite its challenges, when grown correctly romaine lettuce is called the sweetest variety of lettuce. Its thick stalks are crisp and sweet in flavor. This is a classic lettuce used to make Caesar salad according to Better Homes and Gardens.

Spinach is high in protein and low in calorie content.
Spinach is not a lettuce but a leaf vegetable. Spinach leaves are not broad like loose lettuce or romaine, but it is considered a leafy green. In a culinary context, spinach is used in many of the same ways broad leaf lettuces are used. Eat it raw in salads, sandwiches and dishes and cook into casseroles, pasta and soups. Spinach leaves are high in iron, fiber, protein, vitamin A and vitamin C. It grows in cool climates for harvest throughout the warm season and is canned for winter storage.

Radicchio leaves have a striking red color that accents any salad or dish.
Radicchio is a leafy form of chicory. It looks like a small head of cabbage with thick, waxy broad leaves. Its bitter flavor and chewy texture set it apart. It is named after the area in northern Italy where most radicchio comes from. According to the New York Times, many chefs fail to appreciate the true flavor of radicchio and use it simply as a garnish or for color. It can be eaten raw with olive oil and salt, canned, pickled or cooked. Self Nutrition Data writes that radicchio is a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Butterhead Lettuce
It it also sometimes referred to as butter crunch lettuce. Butterhead lettuces have small, round, loosely formed heads with soft, buttery-textured leaves ranging from pale green on the outer leaves to progressively smaller pale yellow-green on the inner leaves. The flavor is sweet and succulent. Because the leaves are quite tender, they require gentle washing and handling. There are 2 main varieties of butterhead lettuce. The first is Boston or butter lettuce and the second is Bibb or Kentucky limestone. Both varieties lend themselves to lighter dressings because of their soft texture and mild flavor.

Arugula is also called rocket or rucola. When young, the dark green leaves are small and tender, but as
they mature they become large and a bit tough. Arugula is a member of the mustard family but it is not
as bitter as mustard greens. Its taste is peppery and a little nutty. The best dressings for arugula are
citrus based or those enhanced with sweeter vinegars like balsamic.

Belgian Endive
Belgian Endive is in the chicory family. It grows in compact torpedo shaped heads about 5 inches long with white leaves tipped with pale yellow green. The leaves have a mild crunch and are bitter in taste. To use, cut off the end and separate the leaves. Endive does well with a dressing that tempers the bitterness. It does well with creamy dressings, mustard based dressings, or with sweeter citrus dressings.

Chicory is also known as curly endive or frisee. It has jagged spidery leaves that grow in open heads from a compact center. The leaves are crunchy and assertive in flavor can be considered bitter, but not as bitter as Belgian endive or radicchio. Chicory needs a strong flavored vinaigrette, preferably based on red wine or sherry vinegar.

Escarole is also in the chicory family. It has broad flat dark-green leaves in compact heads and has a bit of a crunch. Escarole can be eaten raw or cooked and needs a full-flavored dressing.

Mache is also known as lamb’s lettuce. It is mildly sweet with little round dark-green leaves. Mache needs a mild dressing.

Iceberg Lettuce
Best used as chicken and hog food.
Iceberg lettuce is not fit to be placed on any American dinning table.
It is a watery{up to 90 percent water}, tasteless, useless commercially grown lettuce promoted by it’s growers because it is easy to grow, harvest and stands up to processing and shipping well.

Why is common sense so uncommon?
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