Lettuce always has a habit of expiring way before it’s meant to. Why not learn some great tips for how to keep it fresh for way longer in your fridge?
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How to Keep Lettuce Fresh
There are few things more annoying than opening the fridge to make a quick lunchtime salad and finding that your lettuce has turned brown and soggy, leaving you with no base for your salad and frustration at the wasted food.
Luckily there are several ways that you can extend the life of your lettuce so that you have fresh, bright green leaves on hand whenever you need them. With these super simple tips, you can keep a head of lettuce fresh for weeks rather than days!
Remove From Plastic Wrapping
You can easily extend the life of any fruit or vegetable that comes in plastic wrapping by simply removing it from the plastic. While there is nothing wrong with storing lettuce in a plastic container, for example, store wrapping is very different.
Lettuce typically comes in a super tight plastic wrap that does not allow for airflow or for built-up moisture to escape. You want to be removing this plastic wrapping almost as soon as you get your lettuce home.
The main purpose of the tight wrapping is to make sure that the lettuce reaches you in as presentable a state as possible and that it is not damaged during shipping.
Also, industrial and shipping storage for fresh produce creates a very different environment than a home fridge which is why this type of wrapping works up until the point that the lettuce reaches your kitchen.
Loose leaf lettuce that comes in a bag rather than a wrapping is not so bad but it is still a good idea to open a small hole at the top of the bag for airflow.
Always Store Lettuce In The Fridge
To preserve your lettuce and keep it crisp for as long as possible you are going to want to store it in the fridge. While lettuce is not like meat and won’t always make you ill if you accidentally leave it out on the counter overnight, it will noticeably shorten its shelf life.
This advice might seem confusing given that lettuce heads are often not refrigerated in stores but when you start to think about the average temperature of your local grocery store and the fact that most fresh produce is only on the shelf for a few days at most, it doesn’t seem so strange.
Fridges provide the ideal temperature and moisture level for lettuce helping it to stay fresh and crisper for longer. This is important when storing lettuce for weeks rather than just a few days that it might spend on a store shelf.
Loose leaf lettuce bags will almost always be found in the refrigerated section as they go bad much quicker than whole lettuce heads and so even a few days is enough for them to start to turn.
To minimize access to moisture make sure to store lettuce in the vegetable drawer or crisper drawer of your fridge. Storing lettuce alongside other fridge foods runs the risk that the leaves will absorb moisture from them leading to soggy lettuce heads.
Prevent Moisture Building Up
Moisture is the enemy when it comes to lettuce so anything that prevents its build-up is going to extend the life of your lettuce.
A paper towel works great for absorbing excess moisture. Just place a single sheet alongside your lettuce in the fridge and you will be shocked at how much longer your lettuce stays fresh and crisp. Just make sure that you switch the towel out for a fresh one after about a week when it has reached its moisture limit.
Another option, if you’re worried about wasting paper towels, is to use a dry dishcloth instead. The downside is that a dishcloth will take up more space in the fridge and requires washing after use but it is a much more sustainable option that works just as well!
Wrap Your Lettuce In Aluminum Foil
A fun trick for keeping lettuce fresh is to wrap it in foil before putting it in the fridge. This only really works for lettuce heads as it would be hard to contain loose leaves in foil in quite the same way.
Once you have removed your lettuce from the store’s plastic wrap you ideally don’t want to leave it open in the fridge. Leaving anything open in the fridge is a bad idea as it allows for bacteria to spread. Plus it does not take much for strong or pungent foods to leave their mark on the milder foods in your fridge which is something you definitely want to be avoiding.
Aluminum foil works great as it allows lettuce just enough of an airflow that moisture is able to escape while also preventing foods in your fridge from coming into contact with it. Foil can also be easily opened up and resealed multiple times meaning that you only need one sheet for the entire lettuce head.
How Long Can You Expect Lettuce To Last?
When stored correctly in the fridge lettuce can last much longer than you would expect. A full head of lettuce can last up to a month while loose leaves are generally good for between 7 to 10 days.
To maximize the life of your lettuce and ensure that it stays as crispy as possible for as long as possible try combining some of these tips.
For example, remove lettuce heads from their plastic wrapping as soon as you get them home and place them in the fridge with a paper towel. You really will be pleased with the results especially when you still have fresh crispy salads after several weeks!
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How to keep lettuce fresh
- Prep Time
- 5 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 paper towel
- 1 large plastic container
- Remove any tight plastic wrapping from whole lettuce. Place in a large container or loose open bag. If its chopped lettuce, open a small hole in the bag at a corner.
- Store the lettuce in the fridge. To minimize access to moisture make sure to store lettuce in the vegetable drawer or crisper drawer of your fridge. Storing lettuce alongside other fridge foods runs the risk that the leaves will absorb moisture from them leading to soggy lettuce heads.
- Reduce moisture build up. A paper towel works great for absorbing excess moisture. Place a single sheet alongside your lettuce in the fridge and replace in about 5-7 days.