Lettuce is a temperate plant grown for its leaves, which are used in salads, sandwiches, and several other dishes. Lettuce is generally used raw and in cold dishes, but in South-East Asian cooking it is used as a 'wrap' around a hot filling.
There are many varieties of lettuce commonly available, including:
- Iceberg (head lettuce)
- Red leaf
- Green leaf
- North Pole
- Romaine lettuce or Cos
- Butter lettuce
Some lettuces (especially iceberg) have been specifically bred to remove the bitterness from their leaves. These lettuces are largely water with very little nutrient value. The more bitter lettuces and the ones with pigmented leaves contain anti-oxidants. Consider replacing lettuce with spinach or alfalfa sprouts if you wish to have high nutrient value; these replacements also last longer in the refrigerator.