What’s the Difference Between Iceberg Lettuce and Romaine?

Is there a clear winner in the iceberg vs romaine debate?

I love to make enormous salads for dinner. But every time I head to the market, I have to wonder, what type of lettuce is best? So I did some quick research on the two most popular options, iceberg and romaine, to see which one comes out ahead.

Iceberg Lettuce vs Romaine Lettuce

Shelf Life

Look for leafy greens at the grocery stoere and you’ll come across a multitude of packaging styles. It has to do with the shelf life of each type of lettuce.

Iceberg lettuce, like most other full heads of lettuce, tends to last longer. Iceberg lettuce was bred specifically for cross-country travel before the invention of refrigerated train cars. (That’s also how it got its name!)

Post-WWII, shrink-wrapping vegetables was the norm to keep food fresh. This practice is still used today and allows iceberg lettuce to travel long distances and maintain its crispness.

Romaine lettuce tends to stay fresher with airflow. Each type of lettuce has a different lifespan and, thus, different shelf life and packaging.

Nutrition Benefits

We adore lettuce for its health benefits and adaptability in salad recipes. Both iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce contain vital nutrients that help us live our best lives. Iceberg is about 13 calories per serving while romaine is about 15 calories. However, romaine tends to have more nutrients than its cousin. It contains fiber, folate, iron, potassium, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin c and vitamin K. It also contains calcium, magnesium and several other key vitamins.

How to Store

To store iceberg lettuce, grab some damp paper towels and a plastic bag. Take your head of lettuce and wrap it in the damp paper towels and place it in the plastic bag. The paper towels help to keep the leaves crisp and fresh. Remember to change out paper towels as needed!

To store romaine lettuce, put the unwashed head of lettuce in a plastic bag and stash it in a produce drawer. Find more tips and tricks to keep lettuce fresh.

Both iceberg and romaine should last for 7-10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.

Which Do You Prefer?

I grew up with iceberg lettuce, but I’ve slowly become a romaine lettuce gal. The hearty taste and crunch make all my Caesar salads unforgettable. If you’re a fan of wedge salads and wraps, iceberg may be the way to go. But for healthy salads, bowls and even taco night, pick up romaine!

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Melany Love
Having always wanted a career in writing, Melany couldn't have found a better place than Taste of Home to begin. When she's not scribbling in her notebook or working at her computer, she can be found experimenting with new recipes or relaxing with a book and her cats.