Did you know that lettuce was one of the first vegetables brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus? There are five types of lettuce: leaf (loose-leaf lettuce), romaine (cos), crisphead (iceberg), butterhead, and stem. Most lettuces are green, and some have red tips. Lettuce has vitamin A to keep our eyes working and our bodies healthy. The vitamin K in lettuce helps our bodies heal.
Plant your lettuce in the early spring or late summer. Lettuce plants do not like Mississippi’s hot summer heat!
- Pick the crisp, green leaves when they are big enough to eat.
- When you shop for lettuce in the grocery store:
- Choose crisp, firm lettuce with a deep green color.
- Avoid lettuce that is wilted, moldy, or rotten.
- Wrap fresh, unwashed leaves in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Apples, pears, and bananas can cause brown spots on lettuce stored next to these fruits.
- If your lettuce has wilted, put the leaves in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes and soak for about 15 minutes.
- Clean, dried, and torn lettuce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours before eating.
- Rinse lettuce in very cold water just before serving.
- Pat dry with a towel.
- Tear into bite-size pieces.
- Using a knife to cut lettuce can cause the edges to turn brown and lose some of their vitamin C.
- Remember, lettuce is best eaten fresh!
- 1 head green leaf lettuce (6 to 8 oz)
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 medium apple
- 1 small bunch radishes
- 1 tablespoon HappyHealthy Italian dressing
- 1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash lettuce, cut off stem end, and remove any wilted or damaged leaves. Pat lettuce leaves dry with paper towels, then chop or tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Add bite-size pieces to a large bowl.
- Wash, peel, and cut carrots into small pieces. Add carrots to bowl.
- Wash celery, cut off rib ends, and cut into small pieces. Add celery to bowl.
- Combine water and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
- Wash, core, and slice apple. Cut into small pieces and add to lemon juice and water mixture.
- Remove radishes from leafy greens. Wash, cut off stem and root sides, and cut into small pieces.
- Drain apple pieces in a colander and add to bowl.
- Place radishes on top of the salad.
- Top each salad serving (about 11/2 cups) with dressing and cheese before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Children can help
- In the garden preparing the soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting.
- In the grocery produce section by selecting fruits and vegetables.
- In the kitchen washing, drying, and tearing the leaves.
- Making the salad.
Children can learn
- Food safety by storing and cleaning lettuce.
- The different ways to prepare lettuce.
Publication 3610 (POD-09-21)
By Dottie Kenda, Mississippi State University Extension Service.
This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Department: Nutrition Education
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