Packed with provitamin A!
A serving of lettuce is enough to cover half your daily value of provitamin A and beta-carotene! The body transforms the latter into vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a role in iron metabolism, skin and mucous membrane health, eyesight, immunity, and growth.
Lettuce is also:
- a source of vitamin B9 (for cellular renewal, particularly important for pregnant women for fetal development, for growing children, and for convalescents).
- a source of fiber (for bowel movement regulation, satiety)
It also contains:
- vitamin C
- antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin
When is the right
time to eat it?
Spring and summer.
The heart of lettuce season runs from May to September.
Vegetable patch or
Choose your lettuce well:
- Leaves should be firm, not wilted, and should not be spotted.
- The base should be white and moist.
Properly store your lettuce:
- Away from light: otherwise it will rapidly lose its vitamin C and vitamin B9.
- In the refrigerator: Three to four days in the vegetable drawer, in a perforated bag. Storing lettuce chopped in a sealed container will help it keep longer.
- In the freezer: only if it is cooked!
How to cook lettuce
First cut out the core and remove any damaged leaves. Quickly wash it at the last minute and be sure to spin-dry it thoroughly; vinaigrette will stick better to dry leaves (and will have more taste).
Yes, you can eat cooked lettuce too—and it’s delicious!
- 2 to 3 min: steamed
- 5 min: in a saucepan
Did you know? A vinaigrette increases the nutritional benefit of lettuce! Why? The body can better absorb carotenoids, including beta-carotene, when a small amount of fat is consumed at the same time. You’ll benefit even more if you pick an oil such as soy, walnut, or canola oil, which all provide alpha-linolenic acid, an important omega-3 fatty acid.
Lettuce goes well with…
Raw: The possibilities are endless! Lettuce can simply be eaten with a vinaigrette and aromatic herbs, but it also goes well with many other ingredients: ham, seafood, warm goat cheese, camembert, tomatoes, carrots, red beets, corn, avocados, apples, dried fruits, and more.
Cooked: It can be combined with peas and carrots as a side dish with lamb or added to a soup with other vegetables (leeks, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, etc.).
A great combination: steak and salad When eaten together, beef and lettuce provide you with two compounds that your red blood cells need, iron and vitamin B9 (folic acid) respectively. The fiber in the lettuce makes the meat easy to digest.
Lettuce is difficult to chew and therefore should not be fed to infants before the age of 12 months. Alternatively, you can feed it to them cooked, for example in a soup.
And everyone else
No matter your tastes, you’re sure to find a lettuce recipe that’s right for you!
Where does it come from?
Origins and varieties
Origins: China is the number one lettuce producer in the world, followed by the United States, India, and Europe. The top three lettuce producers in Europe are Spain, Italy, and France.
Varieties: The Lactuca genus has over 100 species. However, there are five main varieties of cultivated lettuce:
- Head lettuce is the most commonly eaten and has a very dense, apple-shaped heart.
- Batavia lettuce, a close relative of head lettuce, is distinguished by its thicker leaves and its resistance to drought.
- Oakleaf lettuce has very tender leaves and Lollo Rossa has beautiful curly and colorful leaves.
- Romaine lettuce has long leaves with wide, curved sides.
- Celtuce or stem lettuce, sometimes also called Chinese lettuce, is mainly eaten in eastern Asia. Its stems are eaten cooked or raw, while the leaves are eaten cooked. This lettuce has a rich taste of celery and asparagus.