Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family. In China, it is most often eaten cooked. Lettuces contain lactucarium, a mild opiate-like substance. Aware of this quality in lettuce, the ancient Romans and Egyptians ate it at the end of their meal to induce sleep.
Choose lettuce that looks alive and firm. The leaf ends should be unwilted and especially not slimy.
Store unwashed lettuce in a perforated bag or in an unsealed plastic bag. Alternately, you can wrap the lettuce in a damp paper towel and seal in a zipper bag.
Wash lettuce thoroughly and dry in a salad spinner. Alternately, place washed lettuce in a tea towel, gather the loose towel ends and swing the towel sharply to drive the water off the leaves and into the towel. Please be careful you don’t strike a family member or dinner guest.
Lettuce is high in vitamin A and vitamin K as well as potassium, calcium, iron, and manganese. One head of red leaf lettuce contains only 49 calories. One head of romaine lettuce only contains 106 calories … and, what’s more, it contains 13g of fiber.