How well do you know iceberg lettuce? You’ve surely enjoyed it, but the sweet taste and crunchy texture make it great for so much more than just salads! Here’s everything you need to know.
Our newest and freshest (is that a pun in this case?) spotlight ingredient is a classic kitchen staple that can be used in nearly all of your favorite recipes — iceberg lettuce!
Iceberg is one of my favorite ingredients because of its versatility plus the fact that it makes every dish that much better. Include it in tacos and that crunch makes them complete. Use it for salads, and its slightly sweet flavor compliments the other ingredients just perfectly.
What’s not to love? Let’s dive into everything you need to know, from cutting, washing, and storing it to using it in your favorite recipes.
Iceberg Lettuce Benefits
Though iceberg lettuce may come with a shorter list of minerals and vitamins, it’s still green, and it still has its benefits. It’s actually loaded up with calcium, Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and potassium! Plus, it has a very high water content which ups your water intake and also does a great job of making you feel full and satisfied (without the calories). That high water content is great for digestion as well! Eat up!
Iceberg lettuce vs. Romaine & More
Iceberg lettuce is its own category, with stark differences from kale, spinach, and even romaine.
For starters, it’s round! About the size of a small soccer ball, iceberg has a circular shape. This makes it all the more appealing, not to mention easy to cut! But more on that in a minute.
In terms of flavor, iceberg is sweeter than most greens, like spinach or kale (which are often bitter), and it’s way crunchier, too! The texture alone makes it one of my favorites for salads, as it doesn’t get soggy as quickly and can even make for a tasty leftover salad.
What iceberg lettuce tastes like
Iceberg lettuce fans love it for its crunchy texture, not to mention its subtly sweet taste. The flavor of iceberg does have watery roots, but if you really pay attention it has a flavor that pairs perfectly with your favorite salad fixings.
Bitter iceberg lettuce? Oh no! You may have an overripe head of lettuce. You can either toss it or, if the lettuce is still good to eat, use it as an excuse to use an extra portion of your favorite dressing!
Ways to use iceberg lettuce
Iceberg is great for… everything! It’s probably the most versatile type of lettuce. Make an iceberg lettuce salad with your favorite dressing and toppings, or keep the quarters in tact and enjoy a wedge salad! You can use a piece atop your favorite burger or sandwich, or use it shredded in tacos. I’ve even used the large pieces as a tortilla for flour-less, lettuce-based tacos and wraps!
How to cut iceberg lettuce
Cutting iceberg lettuce is an art in the cooking world, but it’s one that’s easily learned.
- First, cut off the stem of the lettuce.
- Inspect the outer pieces and remove any that you don’t wish to eat. I usually go 2-3 layers deep.
- From here, cut the head of lettuce in half, and then cut the halves in half so you’re left with four quarters.
- Take a quarter and place it face-down on the cutting board. Press down on the quarter to open up the inner pieces (this makes loosening the pieces easier in step 6).
- Cut the quarter into slices. I usually end up with 5-6 slices per quarter.
- Loosen the pieces with your hands and toss into a bowl or strainer. Repeat with the remaining 3 quarters.
How to wash it
For a really thorough iceberg lettuce washing, I find it easiest to wash it after I’ve sliced it. Though this isn’t necessarily a must (you can easily rinse off the head and the outer layers before slicing it), I like include this step as an extra measure.
- After slicing, just toss your lettuce pieces into a strainer and run under the water, moving around with your hands to ensure that each piece is washed.
- Then, give the lettuce some shakes in the strainer or press with paper towels to remove any excess water.
How to store iceberg lettuce
Iceberg lasts for a good amount of time compared to other produce, and there are a few ways to stretch out its shelf live even further.
- Uncut: Full heads of iceberg should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and then placed back in the plastic or in a new plastic bag. This keeps moisture locked in and helps them stay fresh for a few extra days, sometimes even two weeks!
- Shredded lettuce: Cut lettuce should be kept in a lidded container. It should stay fresh and crunchy for around a week.
- Salad: It will depend on the other ingredients used, but most iceberg salads will stay good for 1-2 days when kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. If you keep the dressing separate, it won’t get as soggy.