Lettuce Red Oakleaf Class 1 - Great Britain £1.39 Alton United Kingdom Www.getfreshandfruity.co.uk

Lettuce Red Oakleaf

Class 1 - Great Britain

  • £1.39
  • Save £1.10


Red Oakleaf Lettuce

Pronounce it: lett-iss

Lettuce are available in a vast number of varieties, and are either crisp or floppy, growing from a central stalk to form a spherical or lozenge-like head. Most of them have green leaves, some with red tinges, and they all have a delicate, clean flavour.

Lettuce is mainly eaten raw in salads, though you can also add them to soups or braise them as a side dish. Crisp leaves work well with robustly flavoured dressings, while the floppier types need to be partnered with something more subtle.

Among the most commonly available floppy lettuces in the UK are Round, Butterhead, Lollo Rosso, Escarole, Oak Leaf and Little Gem. Crisp include Iceberg, Cos, Curly Endive (also known as Frisée), Web's Wonder and Romaine.

Availability

All year round. British lettuce are in season from early May through to December.

Choose the best

Lettuces need to be really fresh to taste good, so avoid any that show any signs of wilting (though the outer leaves of the crisp varieties often reveal fresher leaves beneath when removed) or yellowing.

Prepare it

Pull off as many leaves as you need from the base, then wash, drain and shake well (but gently, as they bruise easily) to dry them. It's worthwhile investing in a salad spinner if you eat a lot of lettuce, as it dries them much more efficiently. Don't allow lettuce to soak in water, as it softens the leaves.

Store it

In a perforated bag in the fridge. Soft lettuces will last around one or two days, crisp varieties a day or two longer.

Cook it

Dress and serve in a salad. Shred and add to a spring or summer vegetable soup just before the end of cooking. Braise with peas (20-30 minutes). Brush with marinade, then grill halved crisp lettuces like Romaine on a barbecue, three minutes each side.

Low in calories, one cup of shredded lettuce contains about 10 calories, plus provides vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and some iron.

Lettuce recipes

Lettuce

Lettuces are the most popular of all the salad leaves. They come in a wide variety of colours and shapes, from pale green to rich russet or bronze and with frilly leaves, round, thin or thick leaves.

Buyer's guide

Buy lettuces that look bright, firm and crisp, with leaves that are not starting to brown at the edges and show no sign of slime or insect damage. Although lettuces are available virtually year-round, home-grown ones are at their best throughout the summer. Whole leaves attached to the butt of the lettuce will keep much longer than broken, chopped and washed leaves.

Storage

Store most lettuces loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the salad drawer of the refrigerator. However, once wilted, lettuce will not recover even in the fridge. Most need to be used within a couple of days, although a few such as Iceberg and Little Gem can be kept up to a week. All salad leaves, whether bought or picked, will perk up after being soaked in cold water for a couple of hours before using. But dont forget to dry them really well. Pre-packaged bags of lettuce leaves must be used quickly once opened as the leaves quickly spoil. Lettuces are unsuitable for freezing.

Preparation

When preparing whole lettuces, discard any wilted outer leaves and gently wash and dry thoroughly on a clean tea towel or in a salad spinner. Lettuce is mostly eaten raw as part of a salad or as a garnish. Its also added to sandwich fillings. In summer, when they are plentiful or you have a glut in the garden, use them in a creamy soup or braise them as a vegetable accompaniment.

Other considerations

To prevent decay, many pre-packed bags of salad leaves are soaked in a chlorine solution that removes most of the nutrient value and flavour. Look for organic bags of lettuce and/or those washed in spring water instead. Bags of prepared salads are also filled with MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging), a process whereby oxygen is removed in order to stop the leaves browning. Once the bags are opened, the leaves will wilt quickly.

Article by Clarissa Hyman


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