Salads are divided into two groups, the lettuce salads and the chicory salads. The milky juice that the leaves excrete when cut is characteristic of lettuce salads. It contains light bitter substances that have the purpose of deterring predators. There are only annual or biennial plants. These include, for example, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce and batavia lettuce. The chicory salads also exude a milky liquid that contains even more bitter substances. It can be annual, biennial, but also perennial plants. These plants include, for example, radicchio, endive and chicory.


The lettuce is a local leaf salad. In the past, the salad, also known as “butter salad”, has fallen into disrepute due to its high nitrate levels. In addition, new types of lettuce are always tempting buyers, so that the traditional lettuce sometimes proves to be slow, but it doesn’t deserve it. However, care should be taken that the lettuce offered comes from field cultivation. Whoever pulls it in the garden can enjoy it wholeheartedly.

  • The hearts of the salad are particularly popular
  • However, there are more healthy nutrients in the outer leaves
  • Buttery consistency
  • Fine, slightly spicy taste
  • Open-air salads on offer from May, all summer long
  • It is best to consume quickly, can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days
  • About 95 percent water content

Iceberg lettuce

Iceberg lettuce impresses with its crispness. It comes from the USA and is often referred to as “cracking salad”. Iceberg lettuce is one of the most durable varieties. Not only can it be kept on the head, it also stays crunchy in a salad. This is a huge advantage over most other strains. Usually only the green varieties are available in stores, but there are also red-leaved ones. The so-called ‘crisp salad’, which has curled outer leaves and a very intense green color, is also very popular.

  • Originally from the USA, California
  • Taste like lettuce, only more hearty
  • Firm, fleshy leaves
  • Is offered all year round
  • Outdoor cultivation only from May to October


Romaine lettuce is usually offered as ‘Romana’ or ‘Sommerendivie’. It is often called “cooked salad”, which shows that this salad can be used in a variety of ways. In the Mediterranean countries it is mostly used as a vegetable, less as a raw food. Since the cultivation is similar to that of other types of lettuce, it can also be cultivated well in our Central European gardens. Most salad lovers like the tender hearts of the salad offered as ‘Romana salad hearts’.

  • Almost all year round in stores, but tastes best outdoors (late summer)
  • Taste – spicy and slightly tart
  • Dark green leaves with distinctive white ribs
  • Tolerates a little longer storage
  • In the USA it is an ingredient in the famous Caesar’s salad
  • Comparatively high levels of vitamins A, C and iron

Oak leaf salad

The oak leaf lettuce is a special breed made from lettuce and endive. With its long, narrow and serrated leaves, it is a visual highlight. There are green and red, quite different varieties. Some varieties have decidedly large heads. Oak leaf lettuce is easy to grow in your own garden.

  • Pleasant nutty taste
  • More hearty than lettuce, milder than endive
  • Originally from the USA
  • Available from outdoor breeding from June until autumn

Lollo Rosso / Lollo Bionda

Lollo Rosso can be easily recognized by its deep red, curled leaves, Lollo Bionda by its grass-green, also wavy leaves. It is a cut and picked salad, not a lettuce. The individual leaves form a rosette. There are different varieties, some only have red leaf margins, others are completely red and many have larger green and red areas. Lollo Rosso can be grown well in the garden.

  • Strong taste with a slight bitter note
  • Darker leaves contain more phytochemicals. These are considered to be free radical scavengers in the body.
  • The outdoor season runs from May to October

Otherwise the salads are mostly imported from Italy.


Batavia lettuce is quite new to the salad shelf and is a mix of lettuce and iceberg lettuce. The shape reveals the lettuce, the consistency is reminiscent of the crispness of the iceberg lettuce. The sight of such a salad is extremely interesting. The leaves are very crinkled at the edges and have green and reddish-brown markings.

  • Hearty taste, spicier than lettuce
  • Crunchy consistency, not quite like iceberg lettuce
  • Originally from France

Arugula rocket

Although frowned upon as a weed a few decades ago, this salad is one of the most popular today. This leafy vegetable convinces with its extraordinary taste. You buy arugula packed in a bunch or in transparent plastic bowls. As a rule, the plants are bred, so-called garden rocket. In contrast, there is also the wild rocket, which can be recognized by its particularly narrow, dark green leaves.

  • Available all year round, as the plants are mostly grown in greenhouses
  • Nutty to spicy taste
  • Particularly aromatic when exposed to sunlight
  • Contains a lot of mustard oils, giving it a more intense, tangy, tangy and slightly hot taste
  • Comes from the Mediterranean area
  • Only grows here in milder areas
  • Harvest from June

Lamb’s lettuce

Lamb’s lettuce is characterized by a spicy, very delicate taste. The leafy vegetables, also known as “field salad” or “rapunzel salad”, are harvested by hand and come on the market in bunches with their delicate roots. So the papers remain nice and crisp, even if you have a lot of work to do with them when cleaning. When it comes to lamb’s lettuce, it is important that it is fresh. The leaflets collapse quickly. On the other hand, this salad tolerates lower temperatures than any other, down to – 15 ° C is no problem for it. However, it is usually grown under glass. But it can be found in stores all year round.

  • Two groups of varieties – one with fairly large and one with smaller leaflets
  • Originally from Eurasia
  • Winter salad (harvest between November and February)
  • Available all year round
  • Spicy, very intense and delicate taste
  • Essential oils provide a slightly nutty taste
  • Crunchy bite
  • Contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, folic acid, magnesium and calcium, more than many other salads
  • Goes well with cheese, smoked fish, ham, bacon, but also with sweet fruit
  • Not long-lasting, not even in the refrigerator


Radiccio contains a lot of bitter substances, which is why not all salad lovers like it. In addition, the small heads of lettuce are quite expensive. Radiccio is the classic Italian salad and is also called “red chicory”. The shape is round, the outer leaves are oblong to round and there is a delicate lettuce heart in the middle. There are different types. Radiccio comes from Italy and that is where the main growing areas are. It can also thrive in our garden, but only in a mild climate.

  • Slightly to distinctly bitter taste
  • Herbwüzig
  • Most of the bitter substances are in the stalk
  • There are also milder varieties
  • Contains many minerals, vitamins, iron and phytochemicals
  • Harvest in summer months
  • Keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week


Endive is one of the late summer salads and is characterized by its rather bitter taste. A distinction is made between two types, the smooth escarole and the curly-leaved friseé. Salads grown outdoors, which are offered from late summer until November, taste best. Endive is not only delicious, it is also rich in minerals and beta-carotene than other salads. Folic acid is also abundant. But the healthiest thing is the bitter substance, which ensures that high-fat dishes can be digested well. The fabric sits mainly in the lower parts of the leaf.

  • Two types of endive
  • Friseé salad contains the healthy bitter substance lactucoprikin (especially in the stalk)
  • Also many other good ingredients
  • Available as outdoor cultivation between September and November
Tip:  Caution – endive from conventional agriculture often contains nitrates. These can cause skin rashes in sensitive people. In addition, gout-inducing purines are represented, even if only in small amounts.


Chicory is one of the winter salads. The slightly bitter taste is typical. The lettuce can be recognized by its elongated, oval shape and firm leaves. Like radiccio, chicory belongs to the chicory family. Cultivation is not that easy, but it is also successful in our climate. The leaves taste good in mixed salads, with creamy dips, gratinated, steamed, fried and particularly good with nuts and fruits, e.g. in fruit salads.

  • Comes from the Mediterranean area
  • Tastes best in winter
  • Bitter, bitter taste
  • Harvest from October to April
  • Available all year round
  • Contains potassium, magnesium, calcium and beta-carotene
  • Keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week

Cut and pick lettuce

Salad and lettuce are becoming increasingly popular because you can always harvest just as much as can be eaten fresh. The harvest lasts all summer long. The attachment is child’s play and even works on the balcony, even in the balcony box. Salad does not form heads. The leaves are gradually harvested from the inside out. Two to three harvests are possible. A popular variety is baby leaf salad.

  • It was grown a lot in Italy, now almost everywhere
  • Not long-lasting
  • Light, not so intense salad flavor

Frequently asked questions

Which salad is the healthiest?
The healthiest of all “greens” is watercress, but it doesn’t count as a salads, although it often ends up in a dressed salad. Swiss chard and spinach are also very healthy, but they are also not part of the salads. When it comes to the healthiest salads, the experts differ. On the one hand, experts complain that a lot of lettuce is grown in greenhouses, never sees the sun and hardly contains any good ingredients. Salads grown outdoors are much better. Then a lot of the good materials are lost during the sometimes long transport. On the other hand, the experts do not agree on the ingredients. Some prefer lettuce, others lamb’s lettuce. Wild herb salad is also very healthy.

Which types of lettuce are particularly high in nitrate?
Many leaf salads contain nitrate. It always depends on the soil, on the nitrogenous compounds. However, the storage capacities are different. Most of the time, nitrate can be found in the outer green leaves. Nitrate is actually harmless as long as it is not converted into nitrite.

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