The Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a temperate annual or biennial plant of the daisy family. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable. In many countries, it is typically eaten cold and raw, in salads, hamburgers, tacos, and many other dishes. In some places, including China, lettuce is typically eaten cooked and use of the stem is as important as use of the leaf.
There are six commonly recognised Cultivar Groups of lettuce which are ordered here by head formation and leaf structure; there are hundreds of cultivars of lettuce selected for leaf shape and colour, as well as extended field and shelf life, within each of these Cultivar Groups:
- Butterhead, also called Boston or Bibb, forms loose heads; it has a buttery texture. Butterhead cultivars are most popular in Europe.
- Chinese lettuce types generally have long, sword-shaped, non-head-forming leaves, with a bitter and robust flavour unlike Western types, appropriate for use in stir-fried dishes and stews. Chinese lettuce cultivars are divided into “stem-use” types (called celtuce in English), and “leaf-use” types such as youmaicai or shengcai.
- Crisphead, also called Iceberg, which form tight, dense heads that resemble cabbage. They are generally the mildest of the lettuces, valued more for their crunchy texture than for flavour. Cultivars of iceberg lettuce are the most familiar lettuces in the USA. The name Iceberg comes from the way the lettuce was transported in the US starting in the 1920s on train-wagons covered in crushed ice, making them look like icebergs.
- Looseleaf, with tender, delicate, and mildly flavoured leaves. This group comprises oak leaf and lollo rosso lettuces.
- Romaine, also called Cos, is a head-forming type with elongated leaves.
- Summer Crisp, also called Batavian, which form moderately dense heads with a crunchy texture; this type is intermediate between iceberg and looseleaf types.
How much does one cup of lettuce weigh?
Estimated US cup to weight equivalents:
|75 grams||3 ounces|
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