Let us (get it?) start this produce description with some surprising pieces of lettuce trivia: although known best for its leaves, the word “lettuce” is actually derived from the latin word “lac,” which refers to the milky juice in the stem of the plant. The lettuce plant is also a member of the daisy family and in ancient Egypt, it was considered an aphrodisiac. And here you thought it was just a simple filler for salads.
There are six common cultivar groups for lettuce – butterhead, Chinese lettuce, iceberg, looseleaf, romaine, and summer crisp – but hundreds of other varieties exist within each of these categories. And although lettuce leaves are typically eaten raw and cold in salads, other cuisines, including traditional Chinese dishes, cook the leaves and utilize the steams as well.