The varieties of Salad
There are many varieties of salad on the international fruit and vegetable market, different in species and shape, colours and different cultivation techniques used.
As mentioned before, most of the plants of salad can be divided in three main botanical families: chicory, edive and lettuce.
The production of the three varieties of salad in all the international fruit and vegetable sector continues without any interruption all over the year: in fact, some varieties of salad are typical of winter (curly endive, escarole, lollo, head lettuce, trocadero), while other are typical of summer and fall (romaine lettuce, iceberg).
CHICORY: the chicory salad species includes several very different varieties of salad, usually harvested in fall and winter.
Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteracee family: it can be of annual, biennial or perennial cultivation. Chicory is very common wild, in fields where you can enjoy its intense blue flowers.
The typical bitter taste of this variety of salad is particulartly pleasant in young plants, which are therefore recommended. Red chicory or red radicchio can be consumed raw in salads or cooked, grilled or stewed.
The red radicchio is considered to be highly prized and, actually, it received the PGI certification. Chicory salad is usually diveded into:
- GREEN CHICORY. The most popular varieties of green chicory are:
- CHICORY URANUS F1: variety of green hybrid chicory, with perfectly cylindrical plants and leaves that allow very long storage. This plant of chicory salad can reach up to 40 cm and has a beautiful green colour. It is resistant to cold and can be harvested 80 days after transplantation.
- WHITE CHICORY PLUTO F1 FROM MILAN: variety of green chicory cultivated from March to October. It is an early season chicory salade, with really tasty long and enveloping leaves. Very hardy and resistant to disease, this variety is harvested about 55 days after transplantation.
- WHITE MANTUAN CHICORY: excellent variety of chicory salad, characterized by broad and rounded light-blond leaves, which form a white and compact head. Very resistant to cold, this variety is harvested 90 days after transplantation.
- EARLY SEASON VARIEGATED CHICORY OF CASTELFRANCO: variety of chicory with light-green leaves and red dots that become more and more evident with the arrival of winter. Starting from October, it is possible to tie the tops of leaves to whiten the heart, which in this way will become cream-yellow variegated with red. It is harvested 100 days after transplantation.
- LATE SEASON VARIEGATED LUCREZIA CHICORY OF CASTELFRANCO: excellent variety of chicory suitable for winter harvesting. The external leaves are light-green with red dots that become more and more evident with the arrival of winter. Starting from October, it is possible to tie the tops of leaves to whiten the heart, which in this way will become cream-yellow variegated with red. It is harvested 100 days after transplantation.
- EARLY SEASON VARIEGATED ADRIA CHICORY OF CHIOGGIA: early season variety of chicory of very high quality. It is very resistant to cold and has a very big-sized head with yellowish-green leaves and red variegations. It is a plant of salad really suitable for winter production, from Genuary on. Can easily reach 700-800 gr. The early season variety is harvested 120 days after transplantation.
- LATE SEASON VARIEGATED CHICORY OF CHIOGGIA: late season variety of chicory of very high quality. It is very resistant to cold and has a very big-sized head with yellowish-green leaves and red variegations. It is a plant of salad really suitable for winter production, from Genuary on. Can easily reach 800-100 gr. It is harvested 120 days after transplantation.
- EARLY SEASON VARIEGATED CHICORY OF LUSIA: variety of chicory whose leaves, after ripening, are light-green with red variegations. Leaves form a head that weights about 300-400 gr. The early season variety is harvested 60 days after transplantation.
- LATE SEASON VARIEGATE CHICORY OF LUSIA: variety of chicory whose leaves, after ripening, are light green with reddish variegations. The plant has a head, which weights about 400-600 gr. THe late season variety is harvested 90 days after transplantation.
- WINTER WHITE CHICORY, SELE CAVAZERE: late season variety of chicory of excellent quality, extremely resistant to cold. it has a very big-sized head, which can weight up to 1 kg. Its leaves are light green with red variegations. It is ideal for winter harvesting and it is harvested 100-120 days after transplantation.
- RED CHICORY or RADICCHIO : chicory with red or variegated leaves, commonly called radicchio, is today the most widespread variety. In their cultivation a particular method called, forcing, is used: it consists in several actions, which serve to give to the vegetable its typical colour: plants with roots are pulled up and the leaves are severed above the collar; plants stored in piles, produce new leaves with their typical red colour.
Its common name Radicchio, comes from the latin radicula, diminutive of root.
On the international fruit and vegetable market there are 2 rather valuable varieties: the red radicchio of Treviso, with long and fleshy leaves, and the radicchio of Chioggia, round-shaped. Typical of radicchio, as well as of all chicory salalds, is their bitterish taste, due to the presence of acid chicoric.
The late season red radicchio has rather long and slender leaves and, when eaten raw, is very crunchy. However, it can be consumed also grilled or fried in pan.
The red radicchio of Treviso, is considered to be very valuable, in fact, it received the EU G.P.I. certification.
The most popular varieties of red chicory are:
- EARLY SEASON RED CHICORY OF VERONA: variety of radicchio from the type "Cotogna Veneta", with round-oval head, bright red leaves with very visible ribs. The early season variety is harvested 80 days after transplantation.
- LATE SEASON RED CHICORY OF VERONA: variety of radicchio from the type "Cotogna Veneta", with round-oval head, bright red leaves and very visible ribs. This variety of red chicory weights about 400 gr. It is very resistant to cold. The late season variety is harvested 100 days after transplantation.
- VERY EARLY SEASON RED ORCHID CHICORY: variety of radicchio loved by connoisseurs for its earliness and its beautiful wined red colour. The head of this variety of red chicory is very big, similar to a lettuce and slightly open. Suitable for most cold climates, it is harvested 50 days after transplantation.
- VERY EARLY SEASON PERSEO CHICORY: early season variety of radicchio bright red, with a round and compact head. It is an excellet variety of salad, suitable for early cultivations in open field (but is advisable to protect the plants with non-woven fabric). It is harvested 50 days after transplantation and weights about 300-400 gr.
- EARLY SEASON ZEUS RED CHICORY: early variety of radicchio with a large head that can weight also 400 gr. The head is dark red, with white veins. It is harvested 70 days after transplantation.variety of salad resistant to cold and it is harvested 70 days after transplntation.
- EARLY MIDSEASON CHICORY 3040®: Early variety ofradicchio with a large head, which can weight also 400 gr. The head is dark red with very white veins. It is a variety of salad resistant to cold that is harvested 80 days after transplantation.
- LATE MIDSEASON CHICORY 4050®: late variety of radicchio with a large head, which can weight also 500 gr. The head is dark red with very white veins. It is a variety of salad very resistant to cold that is harvested 90 days after transplantation.
- LATE CHICORY 506®: late variety of radicchio with a large head, which can weight also 500 gr. The head is dark red with very white veins. It is a variety of salad very resistant to cold that is harvested 110 days after transplantation.
- EARLY SEASON CHICORY APUS OF TREVISO: early season variety of radicchio of Treviso, whose head is dark red that hoods before ripening. It is medium resistant to cold and is harvested 80 days after transplantation.
- LATE SESASON RED CHICORY SILE® OF TREVISO: variety of radicchio whose leaves are forced. This variety of chicory ripes after about 15 days: external leaves are eliminated and the root is cleaned, leaving only a piece of 5/7 cm, It is harvested 110 days after transplantation.
- RADICCHIO JUPITER: long variety of radicchio which opens in spring . It is a variety of red chicory large-sized and of a bright cherry red colour, with a bitter flavour without excess and a completely white rib, crisp on the palate. It has original ribs for a long radicchio
- CHICORY CATALOGNA: it is a variety of chicory, also called in some regions of Italy, chicory asparagus , and whose leaves remind those of the taraxacum. It is different from the other varieties of salad for its typical bitter taste, due to a particular sugar contained in the long and narrow leaves.
Chicory catalogna can be eaten raw in salads or with "pinzimonio", but it is excellent also cooked.
Generally, there are two two types of chicory catalogna on the market: the first with green and jagged leaves (suitable to be cooked) and the second with a large and white rib or with "puntarelle", which are the sprouts of the plant of chicory catalogna, that have to be eaten raw.
Chicory catalogna is a salad with a high content of phosphorus, calcium and vitamin A. It received some Eu certifications: the Italian region Lazio, for example, has included this type of salad among the traditional food products, as well as Veneto, to which was recognized the typical product chicory catalogna of Chioggia.
The most popular varieties of chicory catalogna are:
- CHICORY CATALOGNA CLIO F1 OF CHIOGGIA: green hybrid variety of chicory that can be cultivated thoughout the year. It is an erect and vigorous plant, with a large and white rib and quite jagged leaves. It is harvested 60 days after transplantation.
- CHICORY GALATINA CATALOGNA WITH PUNTARELLE: green variety of chicory with a very large head. It is a plant whose leaves are consumed cooked, while the sprouts, called "grugni" are eaten raw and they are very tasty. It is harvested 60 days after transplantation.
- ENDIVE SALADS: variety of salad nowadays more and more present on the tables of consumers. It is a type of salad used as a key ingredient in salads prepared by processing companies for 4th range products.
It is a herbaceous plant, similar to chicory, also referred to as curly chicory, and typical of winter months (even though available thoughout all the year). Endive plants have flattened heads, with green leaves inserted in a short tender stalk. The central part, called heart, is more clear in colour and tends to yellow.
Endive salads are divided into two groups: endive crispum curly and endive latifolium or escarole. .
- ENDIVE CRISPUM CURLY: it is a type of endive salad easily recognizable for the crepe and very jagged leaves, which must be compact and well-turgid, also to the outside. The curly endive is always eaten raw, even better if combined with other varieties of salads, to which it adds a delicate touch of bitter and a certain roughness, that could be considered too much if it is consumed alone.
There are several varieties of curly endives, fact that ensures a certain continuity in the production, creating a high suitability to the industrial processing for the 4th range and the packaging of salad.
Among the more traded varieties of curly chicory there are:
- CURLY ENDIVE DUCALE WITH FULL HEART: variety of curly endive characterized by very heavy heads and a bery beautiful full heart. If tied, the heart of this variety of salad, becomes even more white and crisp. Its leaves are finely jagged and very crisp. it is harvested 60 days after transplantation.
- GIANT ENDIVE WALLONE OF GARDENERS: variety of curly endive characterized by very heavy heads and very long leaves. It is a variety rather resistant to cold and it is harvested 70 days after transplantation.
- BLOND ENDIVE SAMOA WITH FULL HEART: variety of curly endive with a large head, thick pale-green leaves and a full heart that easily whitens. It is a variaty suitable for summer harvesting and it is harvested 60 days after transplantations.
- ENDIVE ARTICA OF ASCOLI: variety of curly endive with a vigorous and large head, large an thick leaves and a full heart that easily whitens. It is the most resistant to cold variety and it is harvested 80 days after transplantation.
- CURLY ENDIVE PANCALIERI: variety of curly endive very hardy, suitable for cultivation in open field, with summer sowing and fall-winter harvesting. The head is large, flourishing and has a rose-shaped heart, compact and tight.
- WHITE CURLY CUTTING ENDIVE: variety of curly endive with pale-yellow/yellow avory, quite diveded and curly leaves.
- GREEN CURLY CUTTING ENDIVE OR ROMAINE: variety of curly endive with intense green, curly leaves, more developed in hight compared to the previous variety, and with a more clear central rib.
- CURLY ENDIVE DORANA variety of curly endive with a compact, uniform and large head that has a high percentage of whitened part, which guarantees little waste from the processing and high trade yealds. It is suitable both for the fresh market and for the 4th range.
- CURLY ENDIVE MIDORI variety of endive with a summer cycle. It has wide ribs and is finely curly, the head has a high specific weight, is large and has a rather rounded bottom.
- CURLY ENDIVE SNOOPIE (S&G) variety of curly endive with an early season plant that has a dark green, medium-sized head with a pale-yellow internal part.
- CURLY ENDIVE WOODIE (S&G) early season variety of curly endive, plant with a intense-dark, mid-sized head, whose internal part is light yelllow, with medium suceptibility to seeds growth.
- CURLY ENDIVE MYRNA: vieriety of salad curly endive of Italian origins, with a late cycle. It is very reliable and hardy and has an intense yellow colour, which can be very interesting for the 4th range production.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE: with escarole endives, from the spring "Tarquinis", through the summer variety "Bomber", the fall varieties "Dimora" and "Seance", to the winter "Santel" and to finish with the spring variety "Quartana", a full supply of the fruit and vegetable product "endive salad is available throughout all the year: the introduction of new varieties, in fact, allowed that some characteristics, such as rusticity, healthiness, productivity, typical of some fall and winter varieties, can be found throughout alls the year.
Escaroleendive (Cichorium endivia latifolium) is probably the most important variety among all the endives, both for its appearance andfor its permeation. Acconrding to some sources, this type of chicory salad would be native to India and is different from the chicory itself , for the more open shape of the head. The plant has wide and smooth leaves, with slightly jagged edges, characterized by a crunchy texture and a slight bitter taste. This variety is consumed both raw and cooked and is particularlly used in the Italian cuisine.
Among the most popular varieties of escaroleendive traded, there are:
- GREEN ESCAROLE ENDIVE OF FLORENCE: variety of escarole endive native to Italy (Florence), characterized by its good resistance to cold. It has a large and developed head, is a vigorous plant with crisp ribs, light-green long leaves and a tight and white heart.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE TARQUINIS: variey of escarole endive that is harvested in spring.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE BOMBER: summer variety of escarole endive, blonde, erected and good-sized. It does not require tying.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE ALLURE: variety of escarole edive exported to the northern Europe; erected, dark green salad, suitable for late fall and winter harvesting.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE LISUNA: summer variety of escarole endive, with a good volume and a roundedn and full bottom. The heart becomes well filled an white without need of tying.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE SARDANA: summer variety of escarole endive, blonde and medium-sized, but with a high specific weight. Has an erected posture, an healthy bottom and a good tolerance to black heart.
- GREEN ESCAROLE ENDIVE BUBIKOPF WITH FULL HEART: variety of escarole endive, characterized by very heavy heads and light-green leaves. It is very resistant to cold and is harvested 60 days after transplantation.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE SEANCE: Early midseason variety of escarole endive, suitable for fall harvesting. Medium-sized plant, with a semi-erected posture and streche, undivided leaves with a good structure.. It is bright green.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE SANTEL variety of escarole endive, of the type "gigante degli ortolani", with a late ripening for winter harvesting up to March. It has an excellent volume, with a more erected posture compared to the traditional "giganti". Its leaves at the base do not touch the ground. Great resistance to low temperatures, it is also suitable for the production of 4th range.
- ESCAROLE ENDIVE FULL HEART variety of escarole endive, particularly suitable for sprin-summer cultivations. It has dark green round and wide leaves: the internal leaves form a large heart, which is well tight, facilitating in this way its whitening. It has a diameter of 35-40 cm and has a great tolerance to warm temperature and to the growth of seeds.
- ENDIVE SOLERA "GIGANTE DEGLI ORTOLANI":vvariety of escarole endive with giant and very heavy heads. its leaves, form a really full heart. It is a variety of salad very resistant to cold and it is harvested 70 days after transplantation.
- ENDIVECORNETTO DI BORDEAUX: variety of escarole endive with a large head and leaves enveloped in the traditional "cornetto". they are very crisp and light-gree. It is harvested 60-90 days after transplantation.
- BELGIAN ENDIVE: variety of fresh vegetables with the typical long shape. The belgian endive has white and tight leaves, with light-yellow shades: those that tend to be green have a more marked bitter taste.
LETTUCE SALAD These are the most delicate varieties of salad both for the consistency of leaves, and their storage.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a plant belonging to the Compositae family: its name derives from the Latin lac, lactis (milk), in reference to the white liquid cntained in the stalk.
The stalk of lettuce can reach considerable hights, up to 130 cm.
The production of this type of lettuce salad, is virtuaaly uninterrupted thoughout all the year, because there are so many species thateach season has its variety of lettuce: this helps all the farming entrepreneurs, the producers od salad and the fruit and vegetable companies that waant to cultivate lettuce salad with perseverance and productivity during the year. Lettuce is usually eaten raw, but there are also recipes in which it is boiled or stewed.
There are many varieties of lettuce on the international fruit and vegetable market, but usually they are divided into three major families: head lettuce, cutting lettuce, cos lettuce with wavy leaves.
- HEAD LETTUCE round shaped variety of lettucewith large, concave and wrinkled leaves. it is the mostused, consumed and traded type of lettuce on the fruit and vegetable market.
Among the severale different varieties of head lettuce the most popular are:
- TROCADERO LETTUCE: variety of lettuce that stands out for strenght and its crunchy texture, has a mesium-sized head, with intense green leaves with pink shades and a white-yellow heart. It is suitable for fall-winter harvesting.
- ICEBERG LETTUCE OR BRAZILIAN LETTUCE (also Californian): variety of lettuce particularly resistanto to heat and, therefore, often used in the preparation of hamburgers. It is a type of lettuce which remains rounded, with a shape similar to the cabbage, with very large, concave and wrinkled leaves an a crunchy texture. It is a sweet, juicy and crispy type of salad.
- QUEEN OF MAY LETTUCE:variety of lettuce with light-green round leaves with pink shades at the edges. It has a round and well-tight head.It's and early season variety that is sown in March and April and is harvested from half May to half June.
- LETTUCE AUGUSTAvariety of lettuce of medium size with intense green leavase, suitable for the fresh consumption.
- LETTUCE APPIA: variety of lettuce with green and bright leaves, suitable for both fresh consumption an for the 4th range salad production.
- LETTUCE ANALENA: variety of head lettuce suitable for spring and fall harvesting in open field. It has a very beautiful head, large and with bright leaves, and of the bottom, quite large and with reduced collar section and thin and straight ribs. It is suitable both for the fresh market and for the production of lettuce hearts and has a wide period of harvesting, thanks to the slow ripening.
- LETTUCE PRONTO: variety of head lettuce of a medium green and always bright colour. It is suitable for cultivation in open field for late spring, fall and summer harvesting in Abruzzo (Fucino). It is a bulky and heavy plant with a full and large bottom; small taproot. Leaves areslightly wavy and smoothe and of good thickness.. It is bright even during periods with an increased light intensity.
- CUTTING LETTUCE OF "LATTUGHINI", SMALL LETTUCE WIT LONG RIBS:LATTUGA DA TAGLIO O LATTUGHINI A COSTA LUNGA: Commonly called also cutting lettuce is of different types, with long and greenish leaves, or tender and white, or grouped in small curly heads. The plants has a lot of tender leaves that can be cut twice or three times during the growing season, because they reform rapidly. They are consumed raw in salads, but also cooked in soups.
Among the most popular several different varieties of cutting lettuce there are:
- ROMAINE LETTUCEvariety of lettuce characterized by long and narrow leaves; its plant is oval, it has intense green leaves, slightly blistered, with smooth margins, tightly overlapping around the heart, which is not completely closed.
- BLONDELETTUCE "DEGLI ORTOLANI": variety of lettuce whose head islong and bulky. It is harvested only when it is completely compact and full.Leaves are bright green outside and white insede, with white and red ribs.
- GREEN WINTER LETTUCE: variety of lettuce whose head is right green outsiede, while it is white insede.
- LETTUCE "PASQUALINA" variety of lettuce with small indented leaves, belonging to acephalous lettuce; it is harvested in spring.
- LETTUCE "TRENTINA" (OF TRENTO) variety of lettuce with a good-sized head and indented leaves, excellent for its gastronomic qualities. It is a very hardyquality, that produces well even in poor condtions.
- RED LOLLO LETTUCE: type of lettuce with light red or greenish or bright red in the "Triple Red" version. Heads weight 200 gr on average and are usually short and semi-spherical Its flavour is slightly bitter and it is suitable to the 4th range production.
- BLONDE LOLLO LETTUCE: it is a veriety used as a cutting lettuce or a a head variety. The plant is medim-sized , with light-green, hin, curly leavesÃ with jagged margins.
- CURLY BLONDE LETTUCE: Early season variety of lettuce with a rustic lant characterized by a open head with erected and consistent blonde leaves with curly margins.Thi variety of salad grows again after the cutting.
- LETTUCE SALANOVA®: it is a particular variety of lettuce with the trademark "Rijk Zwaan", currently divided into two types:with jagged leaves (incised, blonde and red, siilar to "Lollo", or blonde and red multileaves that form a head.This variety of lettuce is produced for the fresh market as whole head product of for the 4th range product in bags with single leaves. These lettuces are chracterized by the fact that with a sincle cut, the head is separated into many leaves of the same appearance.
- WAVY LEAF LETTUCE: variety of lettuce, whose main characteristic is to have intense green wavy leaves,tending to red, particularly sweet and crisp.
Among the most popular varieties of wavy leaf lettuce there are:
- GENTILINA LETTUCE:variety of lettuce with wavy leaves and a fresh and delicate flavour.
- CORANY LETTUCE: variety of gentilina lettuce, native to Italu and cultivated in open field for harvesting from June to October. It has a jagged foliage, easily to hanfle, with a head always open even in case of low light. he bottom mantains a fresh colour and does not whiten during ripening. High resistance to the formaion of double heads, together with te resistance to the most recent patogenous strain fo Bremia, make this variety a good choice.
- LETTUCE BATAVIA: variety of gentilina lattugalettuce suitable for fall, winter and early spring harvesting. It is a hardy and remarkably productive salad, even in cold conditions and with low light. Its head is elegant, open and bright green. The bottom is tight with a very small core. This variety of salad has a high resistance to adversities and parasites. It is suitable for the fresh fruit and vegetable market.
- LETTUCE ESTONY: variety of green "gentilina" lettuce.It is suitable fo cultivation in open field for summer harvesting and in he North also in greenhouses.. The head is always open, with medium green leaves, very tolerant to yellowing ogf the edges. The leaves are very elastic, not subjectto breakage in handling. Small-sized bottom. Particularly interestingis its resistance to aphids and handlings.
Nowadays, worldwide, there are a lot of companies that produce salad, certified companies for the production of salad, producers of salad, companies that produce organic salad, companies that deal with the trade of salad (packagingn of fruit and vegetable products, 4th range salad), retailers of salad, importers of salad, exporters of salad and wholesares of salad that use of the many varieties of salad available in the fruit and vegetable sector, obtaining great succes and a constant production throughout all the year.