8 Things You Didn’t Know About Lettuce
Lettuce can be found all year round and is a staple in salads. As it is so readily available, it is often regarded as a common food and not much to think about, but there is more to this leafy green than meets the eye. These fun facts about lettuce will prove that it is not just another veggie in the fresh produce section!
China is the world’s largest producer of lettuce and almost 50% of the lettuce being consumed today around the world is grown in China.
There are dozens of lettuce varieties across the globe, but these can be categorized into four main types: butterhead, crisphead, loose-leaf and romaine.
According to historical documents, lettuce was cultivated in Ancient Egypt as far back as 6 000 years ago. There are even several Egyptian hieroglyphs and artwork that portrayed lettuce.
The lettuce that was eaten by the Greeks and Romans many years ago was believed to have had sleep-inducing properties. These properties, however, have apparently already been bred out of the current varieties of lettuce.
If you want to get the most out of your lettuce and maximize the health benefits, choose leaves that are darker in colour as these contain more nutrients.
Lettuce is always eaten fresh and because of its high water content of 95%, it cannot be frozen or canned.
When storing lettuce, keep it away from fruits that emit ethylene, such as apples and bananas. Ethylene is a gas that speeds up the ripening process of certain fruits and will cause the lettuce to go off much faster.
The word ‘lettuce’ is a modern derivative of the term ‘lactuca,’ which was what the ancient Greeks and Romans used to call the vegetable.
With so many lovely types of lettuce available, this vegetable is far from simple and common. It makes delicious salads and we use it in our wraps and shwarmas, adding a fresh taste to them!