Romaine Lettuce

romaine heads

By Kurt Nolte

• In Yuma County, romaine lettuce is grown for romaine hearts, whole intact heads and for use in packaged salads.

• Good-quality romaine lettuce will have fairly large, moderately firm heads and thick leaves. The leaves will be medium to dark-green in color blending to nearly white ribs or veins. Large, even-shaped heads with broad, fairly loose leaves are considered by many to be the best.

• This lettuce has gained tremendous popularity in the past decade as the key ingredient in Caesar salads. It has a loaf-like shape with darker outer leaves. It’s strong taste and crispy texture has been favored by those who prepare salads

• Romaine varieties of lettuce can be kept in a refrigerator for up to a week after purchase. Do not store lettuce next to bananas, apples, pears or tomatoes. The ethylene that these fruits give off will brown lettuce prematurely.

• Romaine varieties of lettuce can be kept in a refrigerator for up to a week after purchase. Do not store lettuce next to bananas, apples, pears or tomatoes. The ethylene that these fruits give off will brown lettuce prematurely.

• One pound of romaine lettuce leaves equals roughly six cups.

• Lettuce is one of the more popular vegetables in America, after the potato.

• Romaine is the second most important type of lettuce grown in Yuma County, iceberg lettuce being the first.

• The interior leaves of romaine are paler in color, and more delicate in flavor. There is also a milder tasting variety with red tipped leaves and, a sweet romaine, which is even sweeter than regular romaine.

• Romaine lettuce matures in roughly 70 to 75 days. It is slower to bolt (go to seed) than other varieties of lettuce, and also ships fairly well.

• Many feel that soil grown romaine has a much better flavor than romaine grown in a greenhouse.

• Avoid heads with an over-sized stem base and older plants with large, strong milky ribs. Choose heads that are cut close to leaf stems and are free from browning.

• Like all lettuces, romaine has a vary high water content and very few calories (about 10 calories per cup).

• Romaine is an excellent source of vitamin C, (more than 5 times that of iceberg lettuce).

Source: Kurt Nolte is an agriculture agent and Yuma County Cooperative Extension director. He can be reached at knolte@cals.arizona.edu or 726-3904. For additional information please visit https://extension.arizona.edu/yuma.