- The Plate
From Ancient Egypt to Outer Space, the Delicious History of Lettuce
The crew on board the International Space Station just got their first taste of locally-grown lettuce. The green (well, red) stuff in the astronauts’ salad bowls was a cultivar of a bright-red romaine lettuce called Outredgeous, edible either as youthful baby lettuce or as mature upright leaves.
The lettuce was planted, cultivated, and harvested entirely on board the station, sprouting in a collapsible growth chamber adorably known as Veggie from “rooting pillows” under red, green, and blue LEDs. (See Gardening in Space Gets Ready for Liftoff.) Served with a classic oil-and-vinegar dressing, the space leaves were a wild success. Astronauts dubbed them “awesome.”
It turns out that romaine lettuce was a great choice for a first cosmic munch.