History Of Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce, previously known as Crisphead, came to prominence in the USA in the 1940’s. In a time before refrigerated railroad cars, it was difficult to transport lettuce without it turning into a rotting mush. Iceberg lettuce, with its long shelf life and loose temperature requirements, could be simply packed in tons of ice and shipped anywhere in the country.
Hence the name, Iceberg Lettuce.
The impact of this innovation cannot be understated. By the 1950’s, lettuce was widely available. If you ordered a salad at a diner you would in all likelihood get a big slab of Iceberg covered in bacon and dressing.
These days, a much wider selection of lettuce is available. Many turn their nose up at Iceberg. I have heard all sorts of claims that it is not healthy or otherwise devoid of nutrients. My favorite is the statement that Iceberg is “mostly water”, as if that’s some kind of problem. This common claim doesn’t, ahem, hold water, considering that every type of lettuce is mostly water by weight.
Iceberg Lettuce Nutrition
According to the USDA, 100 grams of Iceberg has 14 Calories, 141 mg of potassium, 2.6 mg of Vitamin C, 25 ug equivalent of Vitamin A, 24.1 ug of Vitamin K, and modest amounts of many other nutrients. In terms of overall nutrition, certainly doesn’t compete with something like nutrient-rich cod liver — or does it?
Iceberg lettuce is a low-calorie food. Not only that but it is filling, tasty, and adds some interest and crunch to meals. And it’s a good source of potassium, a very important nutrient that many Americans don’t get enough of.
Iceberg Lettuce Potassium Content
A healthy diet includes 4,700 mg of potassium per day. Many people don’t hit this target. It’s a myth that you can just eat a banana every once in a while and get enough potassium. You have to eat potassium-rich foods all day every day to even come close.
And if you think back to high school biology, every cell in the human body has to balance potassium against sodium. With so many high-salt foods in our diet it is even more important to consume a decent amount of potassium. Iceberg lettuce is a great way to get some potassium without getting a bunch of unwanted calories too.
Would you rather eat a cup of bitter Lollo Rosso or a cup of crisp crunchy Iceberg? And which ones goes better with your steak? They both count as a serving of vegetables. Sometimes I choose Iceberg.
Iceberg Lettuce Has A Long Shelf Life
Officially, Iceberg lettuce has a shelf life of 7-10 days. That’s more than spinach and much more than Lollo Rosso. The cool thing about Iceberg is that it tolerates near-freezing temperatures. In fact its shelf life actually increases when it’s packed in ice.
Iceberg is the perfect lettuce for camping, boating, overlanding, or van life — any time you don’t have a proper refrigerator. Need something to toss on your burgers at your next tailgate party? Throw a head of Iceberg in the ice chest and you’re good to go.
Iceberg Lettuce Is Economical And Healthy
Owing to its long growing season and loose shipping requirements, Iceberg is routinely the cheapest green veggie at my local grocery store. And it’s long shelf life means you won’t have to throw out the leftovers. They’ll keep until tomorrow. A great way for an individual or a family to eat healthy while saving money. Ignore the naysayers and get some Iceberg in your diet today.