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5+ A Day

Lettuce

Lettuce
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Availability

With the new varieties and the use of hydroponics and greenhouses, lettuces are now available all year round.

 

Storage and Handling

Store in the refrigerator, try not to squash the leaves. Handle all fresh produce with care and wash before eating.

 

History

Lettuce is one of the oldest known vegetables – dating back to the ancient Greeks. Lettuce originated in the Mediterranean area and was first introduced to the USA by Columbus in 1442.

 

Facts and Varieties

  • Lettuce is a member of the daisy and thistle family
  • Varieties can be totally green to multi-coloured, leafy and crisp to dense and firm, mild and subtle to piquant and intense – there are literally hundreds of lettuce combinations of taste, variety, texture and nutrition :-

Iceberg:  sometimes called ‘normal’, ‘crisphead’ or ‘standard’ lettuce

Butterhead or buttercrunch:  a green lettuce with loose leaves  

Red oak, Red salad bowl, Red sails, Green oak and Green salad bowl:  these are loose leaf lettuces and have no heart 

Green coral, Green frill, Lollo bionda, Red coral, Red frill, Lollo rossa:  these are very similar lettuces.  All have attractive crinkly leaves that stand up on a plate 

Cos:  old-fashioned winter lettuce that is also known as Romaine.  It has an elongated head with coarse leaves that are crunchy and sharp in flavour 

Endive:  the endive is often classed as a lettuce but is actually from the celery family.  There are two main types, curly endive and fine leaf.  They have a slightly bitter flavour

  • Besides lettuce there is a vast array of other leaves, often loosely termed ‘salad greens’. See Salad Greens

 

Growing Facts

  • Lettuce is easy to grow year round in most regions in New Zealand
  • They require regular watering and some shade during the hottest months

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 18g - 1/2 cup torn, raw

Avg Quantity per serving Avg Quantity per 100g
Energy (kJ/Cal) 16/4 89/22
Protein (g) 0.3 1.9
Fat, total (g) 0.05 0.3
- saturated (g) trace 0.1
Carbohydrate (g) 0.3 1.8
- sugars (g) 0.3 1.7
Dietary Fibre (g) 0.3 1.7
Sodium (mg) 2 13
Folate (µg) 10 55
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 16 89
Iron (mg) 0.18 1.0

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 8th Edition, Plant & Food Research

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