When choosing a lettuce for a salad which one is the best. There
really isn’t a good , better and best when it comes to lettuce. Some
lettuces have more nutritional value that others, remember the darker
the leaf the higher the vitamins and minerals. Almost all lettuces or
salad greens are available year round without any interruption in
availability. Many salads can be found mixed in 4 oz to 3 lb bags.
This is a great way to get a variety of lettuce in one bag, reduce waste
and save money. Just remember once the bag is opened many greens
will brown quickly if not sealed tightly Lets’s look at six of the most
popular lettuces or salad greens that you should be able to find in
nearly every supermarket.
Iceburg Lettuce: Most popular used lettuce for both home and
restaurant use. Firm head, some darker outer leaves, the rest of the
head is light green. Cut what you need, keep remaining lettuce
wrapped tightly. Cut only with a stainless or ceramic knife. Iceburg
lettuce has very little nutritional value. It will add water and fiber to
your diet, but little to no vitamins.
Romaine Lettuce: En-longed, loosely packed head, dark green course
leaves, keeps well. Popular and main ingredient in a “Caesar salad “.
Also used for bases for prepared salads such as fruit salad cups.
Loose Leaf Lettuce: Found in loose leaf bunches, 10-12 inches long,
soft fragile leaves with curly ends. May be all green or with red leaf
tips (some stores call this red tip lettuce), wilts easily and does not
keep well. Has dark green leaves that add flavor and variety to a
Escarole or Broad Leaf Endive: Found in loose leaf bunches, 10-12
inches long, broad thick dark green leaves. Leaves are courser and
more bitter than most salad greens. Used best when mixed with other
greens. Escarole is braised with oil and garlic and served as a
vegetable in Italian cuisine.
Baby Mixed lettuce (Mesclum) A mixture of tender, baby lettuces.
Has a variety of colors and shapes, assorted dark green, red and
sometimes purple leaves. This has become a very popular lettuce,
sometimes a little pricey. Holds well, longer self life than some other
lettuces if kept cold and dry.
Spinach: (“You didn’t know spinach was a lettuce”, surprise) Either
small baby leaves labeled “baby spinach ” or larger winkled looking
leaves. Popular as salad by its shelf with mushrooms bacon and
croutons. Mixes well with other salad greens, longer shelf life than
some other lettuces if kept cold and dry. Dark green leaves, with baby
spinach you can eat the stem, larger leaves remove the stem.

Lettuce Nutrition

As said above the darker the leaf, the higher the nutritional
value. Lettuces are a great source of vitamins, minerals and
fiber. Pile on the fresh vegetables when making that salad, this
is one of the best ways of getting your daily allowance of
veggies. Danger ! Danger ! Watch the dressing that you are
putting on this garden delight salad. The fat content in some
dressing can make this health meal a disaster.