Lettuce happens to be a leafy herbaceous annual or biennial plant in the family of Asteraceae, mainly grown for its leaves. They generally vary in size, shape, and leaf type with a dense head or loose rosette. The stem of the plant is stunted, with larger leaves settled at the bottom that progressively turn smaller further up the stem. The leaves are usually green or red in colour. They generally grow to a height of 30-100 cm and is typically grown as an annual plant that is harvested after only one growing season. Their origin is said to be from Asia Minor and the Middle East. There are generally four botanical varieties of lettuce that are cultivated, first is the celtuce or the asparagus lettuce that has narrow leaves and a thick succulent, edible stem. Second is the head or cabbage lettuce that has leaves folded into a compact head. Third is the leaf or curled lettuce that has a rosette of leaves, which is curled finely and has a finely cut, smooth-edged or oak-leaved in shape. And the last one happens to be cos or romaine lettuce, which has smooth leaves that form a tall, oblong, loosehead. Likewise, there are two classes of head lettuce, one being with soft heads of thick oily-textured leaves, and the other ones happen to be crisphead types, such as iceberg lettuce that has a brittle-textured leaves with a very hard head. Lettuce is regarded as a cool-weather crop but is cultivated all around the year, hence it is available in almost every season.
Avoid lettuce that are wilted or have brown-edged or slimy leaves. The lettuce leaves should be firm and always select lettuce with bright, crisp and tender leaves.While storing them clean and dry thoroughly, then roll them in the kitchen towel wrapped in a plastic bag and store them in the hydrator of the refrigerator. Hence, storing them in the said manner would keep them fresh and usable for a week or so.
Lettuce may cause allergic reaction in some people like skin rashes and itching. It may also cause nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.(3)
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