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HappyHealthy Newsletter: Lettuce

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Publication Number: P3610
View as PDF: P3610.pdf

Did you know that lettuce was one of the first vegetables brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus? There are five types of lettuce: leaf (loose-leaf lettuce), romaine (cos), crisphead (iceberg), butterhead, and stem. Most lettuces are green, and some have red tips. Lettuce has vitamin A to keep our eyes working and our bodies healthy. The vitamin K in lettuce helps our bodies heal.


Plant your lettuce in the early spring or late summer. Lettuce plants do not like Mississippi’s hot summer heat!

  • Pick the crisp, green leaves when they are big enough to eat.
  • When you shop for lettuce in the grocery store:
    • Choose crisp, firm lettuce with a deep green color.
    • Avoid lettuce that is wilted, moldy, or rotten.


  • Wrap fresh, unwashed leaves in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Apples, pears, and bananas can cause brown spots on lettuce stored next to these fruits.
  • If your lettuce has wilted, put the leaves in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes and soak for about 15 minutes.
  • Clean, dried, and torn lettuce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours before eating.


  • Rinse lettuce in very cold water just before serving.
  • Pat dry with a towel.
  • Tear into bite-size pieces.
  • Using a knife to cut lettuce can cause the edges to turn brown and lose some of their vitamin C.
  • Remember, lettuce is best eaten fresh!
  • To learn more about preparing leafy greens, visit HappyHealthy.MS and click on Tips and Videos.
    • Prepare Leafy Greens

Chopped Salad

  • 1 head green leaf lettuce (6 to 8 oz)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 small bunch radishes
  • 1 tablespoon HappyHealthy Italian dressing*
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

    * Recipe found at HappyHealthy.MS

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Wash lettuce, cut off stem end, and remove any wilted or damaged leaves. Pat lettuce leaves dry with paper towels, then chop or tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Add bite-size pieces to a large bowl.
  3. Wash, peel, and cut carrots into small pieces. Add carrots to bowl.
  4. Wash celery, cut off rib ends, and cut into small pieces. Add celery to bowl.
  5. Combine water and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. Wash, core, and slice apple. Cut into small pieces and add to lemon juice and water mixture.
  7. Remove radishes from leafy greens. Wash, cut off stem and root sides, and cut into small pieces.
  8. Drain apple pieces in a colander and add to bowl.
  9. Place radishes on top of the salad.
  10. Top each salad serving (about 11/2 cups) with dressing and cheese before serving.
  11. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Children can help

  • In the garden preparing the soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting.
  • In the grocery produce section by selecting fruits and vegetables.
  • In the kitchen washing, drying, and tearing the leaves.
  • Making the salad.

Children can learn

  • Food safety by storing and cleaning lettuce.
  • The different ways to prepare lettuce.

happy healthy

@happy healthyms

happy healthyms


Publication 3610 (POD-09-21)

By Dottie Kenda, Mississippi State University Extension Service.

This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Department: Nutrition Education
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