Let’s Talk About Lettuce!
Let’s talk about how there are a lot of different kinds of lettuce grown in Florida! There are four major types of lettuce: Crisphead, Leaf, Butterhead, and Romaine. Crisphead lettuce has large, round, and firm heads. Leaf lettuces have loosely formed heads. Butterhead lettuce has smooth, soft leaves that make up the head. Finally, Romaine lettuce has leaves that are loosely gathered with prominent central ribs. While all of these types can be grown in Florida, leaf lettuce types grow best as they more suited for our mild climate. It is best to plant lettuce from September to October and February to March in North Florida, September to March in Central Florida, and September to January in South Florida. The highest production time of lettuce in Florida is during January and February. Lettuce can be harvested as soon as two months after planting because it grows super quickly. The best varieties of lettuce to grow in Florida are Bambi, Red Sails, Deer Tongue, Parris Island, Black Seeded Simpson, and Buttercrunch. Other popular Florida varieties include endive, Chinese cabbage, romaine, curly parsley, and escarole.
Adding vegetables like lettuce to your diet can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, some cancers, and heart disease. Something interesting about lettuce is that the darker the leaves are, the higher the nutrient content is! Lettuce contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Interestingly enough, the vitamins and nutrients in lettuce are located in the leaf, while fiber is found in the spine and ribs.
When picking out lettuce, look for leaves that are darker green, firm, and springy with no signs of discoloration. It is best to keep lettuce in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about three days. Always make sure to wash your lettuce under cold, running water before eating it. Lettuce has many uses, being great in salads, wraps, on sandwiches and much more! It pairs well with vinaigrettes, citrus, cheese, nuts, sage, basil, thyme, and dill.
For your enjoyment, try out a lettuce recipe courtesy of Fresh From Florida! https://www.followfreshfromflorida.com/recipes/grilled-florida-romaine-salad/
Did You Know?
- One cup of romaine lettuce contains less than 10 calories!
- Wrapping lettuce in a damp paper towel can help to keep it fresh and crisp.
Content compiled from the following websites: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services and University of Florida IFAS
Information compiled by: Avianna Liuzzo