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Friday, 8 January 2016

Lettuce

HISTORY

Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who turned it from a weed into a plant grown for its leaves.

The leaf vegetable was popular with both the Greeks and the Romans because of the milky sap it exudes when cut. They gave it the name "lactuca", from which the modern "lettuce" derives.

For centuries the Greeks believed that lettuce induced sleep, so they served it at the end of the meal. The Romans continued the custom.

The dictatorial Emperor Domitian served lettuce at the beginning of his feasts, so he could torture his guests by forcing them to stay awake in the presence of the Emperor.

The varieties developed in Europe in the 16th through 18th centuries can still be found in gardens today. The consumption of lettuce has now spread throughout the world.


In 1924 California growers started shipping crisphead lettuce covered with heaps of crushed ice. They renamed it iceberg lettuce and the vegetable proved popular in salads.

In Brazilian Portuguese, iceberg lettuce is called "alface americana," or "American lettuce," because it's the lettuce McDonald's uses.

FUN LETTUCE FACTS

Lettuce is the only vegetable that never sold frozen, canned, processed, or cooked.

Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.

Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That's about five times more than what they ate in the early 1900s.


The first food grown in space was a crop of red lettuce.

Dark green lettuce leaves are more nutritious than light green leaves.

Greenhouse gas emissions from lettuce production are three times higher per calorie than from bacon.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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