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Seasonal Produce: Romaine Lettuce

As the weather warms up, salads and sandwiches gradually replace soups and stews on our tables. We crave lighter, fresher foods, like lettuce. Dark green, elongated heads of romaine lettuce are an excellent choice for all types of spring meals.

Purchasing

  • Select heads that are firm and heavy for their size with tightly closed leaves.
  • The outer leaves should be crisp and dark green with no signs of a rusty or brown color. Avoid heads with wilted leaves.
  • When purchasing torn leaves or romaine hearts packaged in cellophane bags, check the freshness date and inspect the lettuce for any discoloration.
  • Refrigerate romaine lettuce unwashed or washed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Unwashed lettuce will keep for 7 to 10 days and washed lettuce for 3 to 5 days.
  • Whether washed or unwashed, leaves should be dry before storing to prevent mold and rot. Dry the leaves before refrigerating or add paper towels to the bag to absorb excess moisture.

Preparing

  • Remove and discard any bruised, wilted or discolored leaves. Wash thoroughly under cold running water, separating the leaves to expose any buried grit or dirt.
  • Dry leaves thoroughly by using a salad spinner or by patting them between layers of paper towels. Excess moisture prevents dressings from coating the leaves and may reduce storage time.
  • Although it is usually best to tear lettuce into bite-size pieces by hand to prevent the cut edges from browning, romaine leaves are less delicate and consequently can be cut with a knife.
  • To easily shred romaine lettuce, stack several washed and dried leaves, roll up to form a cylinder and slice crosswise at 1/4- to 1/2-inch intervals.
  • For best results, do not toss lettuce with dressing until just before serving as the dressing wilts the leaves.

Nutrition

  • Low in calories and an excellent source of vitamin A.

Serving

  • Tuck whole or shredded romaine leaves into your favorite sandwiches, including pita breads and wraps, for extra color and crunch.
  • Mix crisp romaine with softer lettuces, such as green or red leaf, then toss with your favorite KRAFT Dressing and OSCAR MAYER Real Bacon Bits.
  • Line serving plates or bowls with lettuce leaves for a special touch. A plate of appetizers, a JELL-O salad, or a potato or pasta salad will look even more appetizing.
  • Turn a Caesar salad into a main dish by adding LOUIS RICH Grilled Chicken Breast Strips.
  • Toss sturdy romaine leaves with your favorite PLANTERS Nuts and cut-up seasonal fruits or vegetables for a tasty side-dish salad.
Romaine Lettuce
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romaine lettuce
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