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Iceberg lettuce is a variety of crisp head lettuce which is widely consumed across the world. It is characterized by tightly furled, crunchy leaves and a mild, sometimes watery flavour. It is sturdy with a large, firm head that looks like a small green cabbage .The rather thick leaves are nicely crispy and have the advantage of remaining firm long after being picked.There are many uses for iceberg lettuce, including salads, some ethnic cuisine, and garnishes.
Many grocers carry iceberg lettuce, and it is also possible to grow the food at home. There are six basic categories of lettuce, divided roughly by their physical properties. he high water content and crisp texture can make iceberg lettuce seem very refreshing; it is often cut into wedges and ribbons for salads and to garnish foods which might be lacking in greens otherwise.
Blanched iceberg lettuce
Cut the large leaves in pieces. Blanching can be done by boiling or steaming. Put the leaves in a wire basket, submerge them completely in the boiling water, cover with a lid, and blanch for 3-4 minutes. To blanch by steaming, put the vegetables in a steamer basket and suspend it above an inch or two of boiling water. Cover the pot, and begin timing(3-4 minutes) as soon as steam starts to escape from under the lid. With either method, shake the basket a couple of times to ensure that all vegetable surfaces are exposed to the heat. After the allotted time, remove the basket, and plunge the vegetables into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove them, drain thoroughly and add to your recipe.
Chopped iceberg lettuce
Lettuce should be washed very well since the leaves and stems tend to collect sand and soil. Hold the head of lettuce in both hands with the root end toward the counter. Smack it hard right on the root end and the core will come right out, leaving you with nice leaves. Put the washed leaves on a chopping board and chop them in small 1-2 inch sized pieces.
How to select
Shredded iceberg lettuce
The leaves can be shredded coarsely in a shredded or manually, using a sharp knife. Cut the greens in thin slices and then break up the pieces in shreds using fingers. Shredded lettuce is used as a garnish , in coleslaws or merely to reduce the cooking time.
When you select a head of iceberg lettuce in the store, look for a firm head which has no slime or areas of discoloration. They should be displayed in a chilled section in the refrigerator case to prevent them from wilting and becoming bitter. Culinary Uses
· Drizzle iceberg lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice and serve as a salad.
· Iceberg lettuce makes a beautifully crisp, fresh and tasty base for salads.
· Serve steamed lettuce with black-eyed peas and brown rice for a Southern inspired meal.
· Use lightly steamed, cooled and chopped iceberg lettuce as a filling in your sushi vegetable rolls.
· Healthy sauté iceberg lettuce with tofu, garlic and crushed chili peppers for a meal that will definitely add spice to your life.
How to store
Store unwashed lettuce in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag. They should be placed in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep for three to five days, but the sooner they are eaten, the better they will taste.Health benefits
· Low in saturated fat and cholesterol (practically none) it's a good source of iron, vitamin B6, K, A, and C.
· Iceberg lettuce are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of vitamin B6 and antioxidants called both of which are needed to keep levels of homocysteine, a potentially dangerous molecule, low.
· Iceberg lettuce is high in dietary fiber, and contains traces of omega fatty acids, which is important for allover health. Folate is another benefit that iceberg lettuce provides, which helps fight heart disease.
· In addition, lettuce are a very good source of riboflavin, another important B vitamin for cardiovascular health since it is necessary for the proper functioning of B6.