A lettuce wrap that is! With an abundance of lettuce growing in the patch lets take a look at fun facts about lettuce and gain some nutritional knowledge about the second most popular fresh vegetable consumed in America.
Did you know, California produces 75% of the head lettuce for the United States? What is head lettuce you may ask? Well, it is the lettuce that grows to form a head, such as Iceberg or Butterhead lettuce. Other types of lettuce are Loose-leaf lettuce such as red leaf or green leaf and Romaine lettuce.
Before lettuce was cultivated on farms it was a weed in the Mediterranean basin where it was collected and used in traditional dishes for over 4500 years. Lettuce images have also been found engraved on Egyptian tombs a fun fact for 6th graders who have just finished learning about Egyptians. Lettuce came to the United States via Europe and since its humble beginnings, it has had a successful history as the star ingredient in many a salad.
Iceberg, the lettuce consumed most frequently in the USA got its name right here in California. Farmers used to ship the lettuce by railroads covered in a mountain of ice to keep it fresh, and so the name stuck. Even though iceberg lettuce has the highest consumption it cannot boast about nutritional value seeing it has one of the lowest of the lettuce family. But not to be discouraged, of the 19 different lettuce varieties plenty offer a power punch of nutrition. An easy way to help identify what lettuce has the most nutrients is by the color of the leaves. The darker the lettuce leaves the higher the nutritional value. Generally, lettuce has some fiber, a high water content, and depending on the color of the leaves an assortment of Vitamin A, K, and C, a small amount of calcium, protein, and Omega-3s.
And the most surprising fact about lettuce is that it is a member of the daisy family. That makes it a distant cousin to the glorious sunflower.
In our little patch, the second-graders have been busy harvesting and tasting the lettuce they have grown. I have to say it looks very impressive what they accomplished. Well done second grade!
Miss Cho’s class harvested an abundance of lettuce
Miss Ohlig’s class sampling lettuce they just harvested
Miss Klivan’s class in action harvesting their crop of lettuce