Use Your Head When it Comes to Lettuce

Buying Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce? Which Lettuce is best to buy?/ #BestLettuceDeal/ #BuyingLettuce/ #BuyingProduceCheap/ #BuyingProduceOnABudget

Do you know which costs more: Head or Leaf Lettuce? 

We compared leaf lettuce and head lettuce to determine what the real cost is and which one gives you the best deal. Calculating the cost of lettuce isn’t as simple as you might think. Just looking at the price per head doesn’t tell you the whole story.

Did you know that one of them costs about 60% less than the other?

In our book, Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half, we chronicled Steve’s test of weighing more than 200 pounds of produce to determine if bulk packed or loose produce was a better deal. We discovered savings as high as 54 percent!

But in this blog post, we ask the question How much does a head of lettuce cost?

And how can you get the most for your lettuce dollars?

The other day, we were buying some produce and Steve decided to compare leaf lettuce ($.89 per head) versus iceberg / head lettuce ($.99 per head). Lettuce prices fluctuate widely depending on the time of year. We’ve seen prices as high as $2 per head and as low as $.50 per head. And there are many varieties of lettuce: Iceberg, Romain, Boston, Bibb, Butterhead, Red Leaf, Green Leaf, and they all vary in price also. We usually look for the greenest and least expensive lettuce, but there is one more factor to consider . . . the weight of each head.

How much does that head of lettuce weigh?

We know that leaf lettuce contains more nutrients, but what we hoped to discover was the actual cost per pound for each. It was an amazing discovery.  

Leaf Lettuce Weight and Cost

Steve weighed several heads of leaf lettuce and discovered that the average weight was 16.75 ounces per head (just a touch over one pound each). At 89¢ per head, the actual cost per pound was $.848.

A Head of Leaf Lettuce on an aluminum produce scale.

Head Lettuce Weight and Cost

He was amazed at the difference when he weighed the round heads of iceberg lettuce. Each head weighed nearly two pounds, but only cost 11 percent more.

The average weight was 30.75 ounces. At 99¢ per head, the actual cost per pound was only 51.5¢. Pound for pound, iceberg head lettuce is a whopping 60% less than the cost of leaf lettuce.

A head of iceberg lettuce wrapped in plastic, sitting on an aluminum produce scale.

Leaf Lettuce

Steve weighed several heads of leaf lettuce and discovered that the average weight was 16.75 ounces per head (just a touch over one pound each). At 89¢ per head, the actual cost per pound was $.848.

Head Lettuce

He was amazed at the difference when he weighed the round heads of iceberg lettuce. Each head weighed nearly two pounds, but only cost 11 percent more.

The average weight was 30.75 ounces. At 99¢ per head, the actual cost per pound was only 51.5¢. Pound for pound, iceberg head lettuce is a whopping 60% less than the cost of leaf lettuce.

The Choice: Our decision on that day was to buy a few heads of the more expensive and nutritionally superior leaf lettuce and supplement with a couple heads of the less expensive iceberg. 

How do you use your head when it comes to lettuce? What would you have done?

If you want to learn more about the nutritional differences between leaf lettuce and head lettuce, check out these links.

The University of Arizona Department of Agriculture has a great article on growing lettuce. 

LiveStrong.com – Nutritional Value of Iceberg Lettuce

WebMd.com has a great slide show on the nutritional value of different green vegetables. 

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