While looking for BOGOs in the produce section, this label caught my eye: “The cleanest lettuce in the world.”
That’s quite a claim. How do they know? Who studies this? Does it really matter when you wash your vegetables at home? What about the lettuce package that boasts, “Triple washed”?
Skeptical, I did a little bit of research. Kalera brand lettuce is hydroponic. Rather than being grown in the dirt, it’s grown in water. As long as the water is clean, the product is clean from germination to harvest. In my research I did find a story about Kalera’s recall of lettuce in Florida in the fall of 2022 because of some salmonella contamination. The cleanest lettuce in the world isn’t necessarily germ-free.
My dad grew a lot of lettuce, spinach, and other vegetables in the big garden on the side of our house. He washed it, but it could still be a little gritty to the teeth. Definitely not in the running for cleanest. Sometimes we would just eat it right from the garden, along with green beans, peas, or a tomato. Wipe it off on your shirt and you’re ready to go. Dad didn’t use any pesticides, so that wasn’t a problem.
The label also claims the lettuce has “50% superior nutrition.” Hmm. Superior to what? To other brands of butter lettuce? To lettuce grown in soil? To Doritos? I did learn that butter lettuce is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, along with minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and manganese. You’ll also get flavonoids and antioxidants in a salad made with butter lettuce.
It ain’t cheap, that’s for sure. With a unit price of $.70 per ounce, it goes for about $11.00 a pound. That’s more than a lot of the beef for sale. And even though the label doesn’t specify, I’m sure it is gluten-free, just like the arugula on the shelf above it. Just so you know.
I may not be doing myself any favors, but I generally choose the cheapest dark-leaf lettuce I can find. Never iceberg. Spring mix is a favorite. I used to find amazing locally grown lettuce at the farmer’s market near us. Sadly, that market closed.
I half-heartedly rinse it off, so I doubt if my efforts bring my lettuce anywhere close to being the cleanest.
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