Spring brings tender, sweeter baby lettuces, but crisp, refreshing mature lettuces are at their peak in summer. From May through July, try Boston lettuce, which comes in bright-green heads with soft leaves that grow more vibrant in color away from the white stalk and make perfect "bowls" for cupping cold salads. Romaine, the top choice for Caesar salad, is a large and crisp variety that grows at its best during the summer; its crunchy texture makes it a wonderful accompaniment in sandwiches. Unlike their tender predecessors, summer lettuces are able to withstand the heat of cooking, so they don't necessarily have to be eaten raw; thinly sliced romaine is a great last-minute addition to a stir-fry.

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  • While romaine lettuce can be purchased large or small without sacrificing tenderness, avoid romaine that has yellow leaves or a protruding stalk.
  • Boston lettuce may be grown in gritty, dark soil, so wash the leaves thoroughly before use.
  • Look for heads of lettuce with tightly packed leaves that feel dense and heavy for their size.

Where to Buy

Look for lettuce year-round in the produce section of your local supermarket, or at farmers' markets and farm stands during the summer months.

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