What is it and why is it not just another iceberg?
Lettuce is the prominent member of the family Asteraceae. This family also includes endive, artichoke and chicory. Two popular styles of loose leaf include red oak leaf and green oak leaf with the former slightly higher in nutrients. This slightly bitter, ever-so-tender leaf lettuce is high in Vitamin A and K, along with Vitamin B-complex vitamins and a variety of minerals. Like bok choy, this also has high levels of phytonutrients. These are important in keeping your body working at optimal functioning and preventing disease. Another fun fact with lettuce is the looser the leaf, the better the nutrition (sorry, iceberg). For those who find the slight bitterness unappealing, don’t hesitate to mix with other greens, a naturally sweeten a vinaigrette, avocados or fruit.
Storage and Preparation
The labor intensive approach for storage is to separate the leaves individually, soak in cold water 10 minutes, spin or pat dry, and place in a resealable bag with 10-20 holes poked with a toothpick. Alternately the whole head can be placed in the drawer until it is separated, washed, and devoured. Of course it is best kept in a crisper drawer and these tender leaves are happiest eaten sooner than later.