How to use lettuce
Most commonly used raw as a salad, base, there are many different varieties that take well to roasting and grilling.
How to buy lettuce
Look for healthy, crisp looking greens. They should be void of browning or wilting, and look fresh.
How to store lettuce
Place unwashed leaves in a glass container lined with paper towels. Seal and store in the refrigerator, changing out paper towels every few days. Fresh lettuce should stay crisp for over a week. Do not wash or cut lettuce until ready to use. When ready, wash and dry leaves thoroughly before using (a salad spinner is a handy kitchen tool if you use a lot of lettuce).
There’s a part of me that was hesitant to have a page on lettuce, but over the years I’ve learned that not all lettuce is created equal. Different varieties of lettuce have different flavor profiles that work well for mixing together, eating alone, and experimenting with flavor combinations. While there are popular varieties in grocery stores, such as iceberg, romaine, or spring greens, the real gems are often found at the farmers market. You’ll find some with deeply colored leaves, which have more nutrients (and why I rarely recommend iceberg).
Looseleaf lettuce is just that, lettuce not grown in large heads. Romaine is taller, with long crisp leaves, while crisphead lettuce is where iceberg lands. Butterheads are creamier, have less compact leaves. And summercrisp looks like a stockier romaine head that has been opened.
I recommend checking out Johnny’s Seeds, which has a long list of lettuce varieties (and you can buy seeds to grow your own). I tend to always fall in love with butterhead lettuce because of the soft, rich leaves. While lettuce is of course a wonderful salad green, I love using lightly dressed greens to top a pizza or use in wraps.