Lettuce is typically a leafy vegetable that is most often used as a fundamental component in salads. There are countless varieties of lettuce and it is eaten in practically all countries around the world. How many of these fun lettuce facts did you know?
- China is the world’s number one producer of lettuce, with the nation growing around half of annual world output: In 2013, China produced around 12.5 million tonnes of lettuce. That’s enough to make enough salad to feed everyone on earth!
- The United States is the world’s second-largest lettuce producer, with an annual crop of around 3.6 million tonnes: California and Arizona produce the bulk of the nation’s lettuce requirements.
- The first civilization to grow lettuce in human history was Ancient Egypt, who managed to convert it from a weed to an edible plant: From this early beginning, lettuce spread across other civilizations in Europe.
- A fellow by the name of Henry Roseman holds the world record for lettuce speed eating: The American man ate an iceberg lettuce weighing over 700 grams in under seven minutes at a school event in 2016.
- Meanwhile, another world record involving lettuce was set in Moscow in 2016 when the world’s largest salad was prepared: The record-breaking dish was a Greek salad weighing over 20,000 kg!
- There’s currently no world record for the largest lettuce ever grown: However, there is a world record for the world’s largest green cabbage, which tipped the scales at amazing 62.71 kilograms – over 131 pounds – in 2012.
Fun Lettuce Facts:
- Some ancient civilisations had mixed feelings about the impact of eating lettuce: The Romans believed that lettuce could increase sexual potency, while the Greeks believed the exact opposite and warned men not to consume it.
- There have been plenty of folk medicine ‘cures’ involving lettuce which are somewhat dubious: Eating lettuce has been suggested as a cure for everything from smallpox to insanity!
- In France and China, there’s a popular dish involving lettuce, but not in a salad: In these nations, chefs prepare lettuce into a soup! It can be served either hot or cold, and some varieties involve cream being added.
- If you want your lettuce to last for longer in the fridge, avoid storing it near certain types of fruits: Placing a lettuce next to bananas, pears or apples can expose it to gas which causes the lettuce to deteriorate quickly.