Lettuce

Credit: RaeA/Flickr

Did You Know?

Lettuce contains a very mild opiate-like substance known as Lactucarium, which in several cultures has been used to aid sleep at the end of a meal.

Nutrition Facts

This low-calorie vegetable is also a good source of vitamin A and folic acid.

Shopping and Storage

When shopping for lettuce, avoid the pre-packaged, pre-washed kinds you find in supermarkets. Studies have actually found more bacteria in bagged lettuce than fresh, local lettuce that you can easily wash at home. This is because vegetables from industrial producers are often rinsed in a chlorine wash and handled by many people before being packaged. Look for fresh, bright green leaves without spots or wilting.

Wash your lettuce and then thoroughly dry the leaves. Store it in a dry, airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator. Condensation can gather on the inside of the bag so line the bag with paper towel. This can keep a head of lettuce fresh for up to a week.

Preparation

Lettuce is most often eaten raw, like in salads or on sandwiches or burgers.