Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians who turned it from a weed, whose seeds were used to produce oil, into a plant grown for its leaves. The Romans referred to lettuce as lactuca (lac meaning milk in Latin), an allusion to the white substance, now called latex, exuded by cut stems. Lettuce appears in many medieval writings, especially as a medicinal herb. By the late 1900s the consumption of lettuce had spread throughout the world. Lettuces have a wide range of shapes and textures, from the dense heads of the iceberg type to the notched, scalloped, frilly or ruffly leaves of leaf varieties. Some varieties are used at the baby leaf stage for salad mixes or allowed to develop into the familiar head lettuce.
Availability may vary by variety and with weather conditions.
Store green and red leaf lettuces unwashed in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for 2 to 3 days.
Store Romaine lettuce unwashed in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Romaine should last for up to a week.
Store Butter head lettuce unwashed in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. It should keep for 2 to 3 days. If you wash the leaves, dry them thoroughly, and refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag, Boston lettuce will last for about a week.
Place lettuce into a bath of cold water will re-hydrate lettuce that has wilted slightly;
Head lettuces can be used as salad greens by hand tearing leaves into bite sized pieces;
Use instead of bread for sandwiches and wraps;
Cook butter head lettuce with spring peas and mint for a traditional French dish;
Make lettuce pesto by using half herbs and half lettuce, nuts of your choice, a little lemon juice, and plenty of olive oil;