Do you know how iceberg lettuce got its name? In this article, we give you a brief history behind that name. We also define head lettuce and how it is the same or different from iceberg lettuce. Lastly, we compare the nutritional benefits of iceberg and romaine lettuce varieties.
Why is Lettuce Called Iceberg?
Iceberg lettuce got its name because farmers, particularly California growers in the 1920s, transported the vegetable with heaps of crushed ice to preserve it. This variety of lettuce was previously called Crisphead lettuce. Today, however, Iceberg is the more commonly known name for it.
Is Iceberg Lettuce the same as Head Lettuce?
Iceberg lettuce is an example of a head lettuce, as the latter is an umbrella term of other varieties of lettuce.
Lettuces are classified as either head lettuce or leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce, as the name suggests, is distinguished “by leaves arranged in a dense rosette which ultimately develops into a compact head suggesting that of cabbage.” Full definition found here.
Iceberg lettuce satisfies this distinction, hence, it is an example of a head lettuce. Besides iceberg, other examples of head lettuce include butterhead lettuce and romaine lettuce.
Can I Eat Iceberg Lettuce Raw?
Just like other varieties of lettuce, you can eat iceberg lettuce raw. It is generally safe. But be aware that there are proper handling procedures to be followed.
First, do not just toss the first iceberg lettuce you see at your supermarket into your shopping cart. Check for any visible dirt on it, and also, read the label. Some supermarket lettuce is labeled “ready-to-eat” or “washed.” Otherwise, it is important to wash your lettuce properly before putting it in your salad or sandwich.
What is Healthier, Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce?
Romaine lettuce is healthier than iceberg lettuce. Each serving of romaine lettuce contains 15 calories, while the iceberg variety has 13. Romaine lettuce also has substantially more vitamins and minerals. It is richer in Fiber, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, and Vitamins A, C, and K. When comparing the two varieties, romaine lettuce is the clear winner. This comparison is further detailed in this article.
Iceberg lettuce is arguably the most famous variety. It got its name from the way its growers back in the 1920s transported it – that is, with heaps of crushed ice to avoid damage during the shipping. Iceberg lettuce is an example of a head lettuce, as its leaves develop into a compact head similar to that of a cabbage. It can be eaten raw, as long as it’s handled properly. Between iceberg and romaine lettuce, romaine is the healthier option.