Lettuce Nutrition, Selection, Storage and Availability Although lettuce offers few nutritional benefits, some types can be a good source of Vitamin A and folate. The four main types of lettuce include butterhead, crisphead (iceberg), looseleaf, and romaine. Whatever type of lettuce you are looking for, select lettuce that is fresh and crisp. Avoid lettuce with brown or slimy spots and wilted greens. Choose heavy, compact iceberg heads and smaller romaine heads to avoid bitterness. After purchase, immediately refrigerate lettuce, as it is a highly perishable product. Keep lettuce in a damp cloth or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Crisphead and romaine lettuce keep up to 10 days while leaf and butterhead only keep 4 days. Before using lettuce, rinse carefully in cool water and let dry well. Do not store lettuce near products that emit ethylene gas (such as apples and bananas), as it causes brown spots to develop on the lettuce. Fresh lettuce is available in Wisconsin from mid-June through September.
Lettuce Extras The cultivation of lettuce dates back over 4,000 years when ancient Egyptians grew it along the Nile River valley. Lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable after potatoes in the United States. Today the average American eats five times the amount of lettuce per year than a person in 1900. Greeks used to serve lettuce at the end of a meal, as they believed it induced sleep. Lettuce is different from most vegetables because you cannot preserve it—you cannot freeze, dry, can or pickle it.
Information from the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.