Red Oak leaf lettuce is the complete package. It is delicious when you eat it, and it looks good on your garden because of its amazing foliage. This kind of lettuce possess certain characteristics. The leaves are lobed, elongated, and loosely serrated. You will notice the burgundy color on the leaves forming a semi-tight rosette.
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Trivia
- They are called red oak leaf lettuce because the leaves of this kind of lettuce resembles an oak leaf. Lonnie Lynch, in the book Romance Cooking: Unlocking the Secrets of Seducing Mars Or Venus, describes oak lettuce as having “deeply notched leaves that look like true oak leaves.”
- There are different Red Oak lettuce varieties. They vary in terms of shape, frill, color, and flavor. Here are some Red Oak lettuce varieties:
- Red Coral
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Buying Guide
When buying lettuce, remember these tips.
- Check the condition and quality of the leaves. Slimy or soft leaves are indications that the lettuce is not in great condition, and possibly starting to rot or go bad. Do not buy lettuce with slimy or soft leaves.
- The smell is also a good indicator of the quality of the lettuce. Smell it. A fresh lettuce will have a fresh or neutral smell. If there is a bad smell, do not buy this lettuce.
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Production & Farming in Texas
A good time to start planting in Texas is around October when the temperature is normally under 75 degrees F or 25 degrees C. You can still sow until March. Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette, in the book Twelve Months of Monastery Salads, described Red Oak Leaf lettuce as “easy to grow in the garden, especially during the spring and fall months.”
Lettuce is a cool weather plant. Lettuce growing in a very warm or hot temperature will bolt or go to seed. Lettuce likes the the sun, but during the summer, it is best to provide partial shade for lettuce to mitigate any potential ill-effects of the heat. As an annual plant, expect to replant lettuces every year. When it comes to watering, lettuces prefer light but frequent watering.
The upside to growing Red Oak Leaf lettuce: this plant holds up well under hot conditions and it displays good disease resistance.
If you are planting Red Oak Leaf lettuce, you can plant beets, onions, strawberry, carrot, radish, and cucumber as well. These are ideal companion plants for Red Oak Leaf lettuce.
Expect Red Oak leaf lettuce arriving in stores during the spring and early summer months.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
One of the issues when it comes to commercially-grown lettuce is the amount of pesticides found in this green, leafy vegetable. This explains why many people opt for organically-grown lettuce grown in farms that do not use pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, or any other forms of chemicals.
In a journal article Pesticide Residues in Commercial Lettuce, Onion, and Potato Samples From Bolivia—A Threat to Public Health?, a study published at Environmental Health Insights, among the pesticides found in lettuce include cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos, λ-cyhalothrin, and difenoconazole.
Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, in the 2013 book Encyclopedia Paranoiaca, wrote: “lettuce is among the “dirty dozen” foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found.”
Pesticides help farmers manage the threat of pests and diseases that can destroy an entire harvest if left untreated.
An online article from North Carolina State identifies aphids, beet armyworm, cabbage looper, cutworms, leafhopper
imported cabbageworm, and whitefly as some of the common pests that attack lettuce plants.
Pesticides and other chemicals are used against these pests.
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Beet armyworm – Use natural insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt-azaiwi strain) and spinosad. This has proven effective against against young armyworms, preventing them from maturing and doing more harm to the lettuce plants.
- Cabbage looper – To kill this pest, use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spray, insecticidal soap spray, or anti-parasite spray spinosad.
- Cutworms – Pesticides such as carbaryl will kill cutworms. Pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and the insecticide permethrin are also useful for this purpose.
- Leafhopper – Use pyrethroid insecticide like bifenthrin, organophosphates insecticide like malathion, pyrethrins, or any systemic insecticide (acephate, imidacloprid or disulfoton).
- Imported cabbageworm – Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad are organically acceptable methods of controlling imported cabbageworm infestation.
- Whitefly – Malathion or Pyrethrins are effective against whiteflies.
According to Health-promoting Properties of Fruits and Vegetables, Red Oak Leaf lettuce is found worldwide.
Red Oak Leaf lettuces are sold in loose plastic bags. Clean, ready-to-eat heirloom head lettuces are sold in plastic containers with a lid.
Some come in round or rectangular waterproof transparent clamshell boxes with a lid made of PET material that can be used both for storage or display.
Some companies prefer to use a sealable and reclosable transparent vented plastic produce bag made with high-clarity lamination film. The stiff material provides strength for product protection. This is important because lettuce leaves are tender and susceptible to bruising.
You’ll also find lettuces sold in plastic packaging with a Grab and Go handle for convenience.
Another packaging option is the vented stand-up produce pouch. The design of the bag allows it to stand upright, which is ideal for display and storage purposes.
Companies that seek to be environment-friendly opt for packaging made from recycled materials like recycled PET and post-consumer recycled PET.
It may not be explicitly stated in some packaging, but some lettuce packaging are made from plant-based plastics (PLA).
Lettuces aren’t individually packed yet if you buy in bulk. These are usually in bushels, cartons, or crates.
Red Oak Leaf lettuce seeds are sold in pouches.
Enjoying Red Oak Leaf Lettuces
People who enjoy eating greens love red oak leaf lettuce because of its buttery texture and its mellow, nutty, and sweet flavor.
When it comes to eating lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns consumers to be stay updated on news about cases of contaminated leafy greens like lettuce, which, when ingested, can be the cause for potential foodborne illness. A food website article warned the public about how “lettuce and other leafy greens can increase our risk of food-borne illness.”
Wrap unwashed red oak leaf lettuce in a loose bag lined with a paper towels and store in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, with a temperature that ranges between 40 and 45ºF. Properly stored, the lettuce will retain its freshness for 3 to 5 days.
An important reminder: make sure there is no fruit there that can cause the lettuce to wilt faster. Fruits like bananas, apples, and pears can do this, as a result of the natural gas these fruits release.
While it is common for lettuce to be eaten raw, lettuce also has its place in the kitchen when it comes to cooking green leafy vegetables.
Rule number one (and the only rule) when it comes to cooking lettuce – any kind of lettuce – is to cook it quick. Lettuce is easily overcooked and when this happens, you will end up with soggy leaves which are, oftentimes, unpleasant to look at.
To cook, you can either put the leaves whole or slice the lettuce leaves into smaller pieces.
Lettuce leaves can be used for making garden hamburger, sandwich, or wrapped food like rolls and burritos. Because of its color, taste, and texture, lettuce is used in a wide variety of culinary applications, especially in salads. Myra Goodman, in the book The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet, wrote: “Red Oak Leaf lettuce is tender and delicate with a beautiful claret color that adds drama to any salad.”
Lettuce is good for recipes that require braising, boiling, or sautéing. Use it when making soup. Prepare lettuce using olive oil or champagne vinegar.
The flavor of the lettuce goes well with salt and pepper, arugula, Dijon mustard, garlic, shallots, cumin, parsley, and chervil. Use it alongside fruits like oranges or pears. It is also delicious with carrots, green peas, walnuts, or almonds, with poached eggs or crusty bread, or with seafood like tuna and shrimp.
Lettuce is known for its vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Lettuce is a low-calorie, low-fat, high-nutrition food that contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, folate, fiber, protein, molybdenum, and anthocyanins that contain health-boosting antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Adding lettuce in your diet can help you in lowering your blood sugar.