Information about Vegetables: Lettuce

About lettuce, information about the vegetable, production, history and varieties in the world.

Lettuce

Of the 4 distinct types of lettuce, the most popular in the U.S. is the iceberg or crisp-head variety. However, remember that the greener the leaves, the higher the vitamin A and C content. Cos or romaine is a tall, narrow type, with almost furled leaves. Butter-head lettuce is a delicate lettuce which is fairly perishable. A popular type of butter-head is Bibb, whose leaves are edged with red. The 4th type is loose-leaf, with slightly scalloped, curly leaves. All lettuce should be kept in the refrigerator and used as soon as possible. By far the most popular use is in salads, and a tip to remember is that for successful salads, the lettuce must be dry. If the salad is tossed while still wet, the dressing cannot adhere to the leaves, and the result is a soggy, wet mess, with all the dressing at the bottom of the bowl, a sight familiar to all of us. Another reason why salads wilt so quickly is that they are tossed with previously prepared dressing. The oil should be added first, and the salad tossed so that all surfaces are covered completely. Not only does the oil seal off oxygen which can destroy vitamins, but it also prevents salt from drawing the moisture out of the ingredients, which causes wilting immediately, especially of the lettuce leaves. When every single ingredient in the salad bowl is glistening with oil, then add the vinegar or lemon juice. In Europe, lettuce is popular in cookery, being braised with green peas, or made into a delicious summer soup.

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