Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My lettuce trick - Finally as promised, how to keep lettuce fresh longer!

I know I have been promising and promising my lettuce trick to my readers for some time now, well wait NO longer!

Question, how long does lettuce stay fresh for you?  For me, I have learned a way to extend the life and freshness of my lettuce.  This is great because sometimes we just don't go through a lot of lettuce and I really hate having to throw food away.  I cannot take credit for learning this method on my own.  Credit goes to my mother in law for teaching me this great trick.
I took a head of green leaf lettuce and took pictures of it just about every time I pulled it out of the fridge (at least I tried to remember to.  This is the life cycle of that 1 head of lettuce:

Day 1 came home from the store:

Day 18 (we just don't always eat much lettuce, lol):
Day 30:
Day 38:
Day 47:

Ok, as you can see, it really has quite a few bad spots at this point and we tossed at this point, but have you ever had lettuce last 38 days and still look crisp(picture before the last)

So how did I achieve this?????  Well, I will admit I have the fruit and veggie Tupperware, but I don't really think you need to get that fancy since you seal off the vents for lettuce.  Any plastic container with a lid should work.  When you get home DO NOT wash the lettuce.  I don't wash the lettuce until I am peeling off the leaves I am using and then those get the scrub down.

Grab some paper towels and moisten them.  I typically just put them under the faucet with cold water and then ring them out so they are moist but NOT dripping wet.  Completely wrap your lettuce in these paper towels and set in your plastic container.  It should look something like this:

 Seal the container.  When you need lettuce, pull off what you need and wash that and then rewrap the lettuce in moist paper towels(either new ones or the same ones as long as they are still in good shape).  Do that until you have consumed all the lettuce or you just have gone too long and your lettuce has gone south.  When unwrapping and finding wilted leaves or "juicy" leaves(you know what I mean) remove these to keep from spoiling the rest of your lettuce.

Remember the lettuce I purchased on April 26th? (I purchased 2 heads of green leaf that day, see this post)
This is what the remaining one looked like yesterday(that is 27 days later!):

don't understand my lingo? Go here.
see my disclosure statement here.


Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

How come you don't eat more lettuce ?

Stephanie (aka zoeys_mom, ZM) said...

Just too lazy to make a salad most nights and I don't like lettuce on my sandwiches. I do however love tacos and need the lettuce for that and a few other dishes I make. Just never been a huge lettuce eater.

Anonymous said...

Does your trick work on all types of lettuce or just green leaf lettuce? Because my fav is romaine.

Stephanie (aka zoeys_mom, ZM) said...

Anon, I imagine it will work with Romaine and red leaf since they have similar structure to green leaf. In my experience there are 2 reasons lettuce goes bad:
1. Too moist and so it rots(that is why I suggest NOT washing it before storing, you might be trapping to much water inside making it rot faster)
2. Not moist enough. This causes lettuce to wilt. That is why you wrap in moist towels, helping the lettuce maintain its moisture in the dry refrigerator air.

cluiss1 said...

We do something similar that I learned from Rachel Ray. I moisten some paper towels like your method and wrap it around the lettuce, but I put it in a ziploc bag. I prefer to use the veggie bags because they are bigger, but any will do. When we get lettuce from our garden, I wash and then lay each leaf down. I then roll it up and put it in a bag. Great tip!

Kathryn said...

Oh my goodness...your m-i-l is a genius!

We go through lettuce faster and typically wash about 1/2 a head at a time and then wrap the leaves (shake first) on a tea towel. Wrapped leaves are then put in the refrigerator. The lettuce is then clean and crisp when we want a salad or salad. The washed lettuce is good for over a week and can go longer if the towel is kept a bit moist.

That being said...I am floored and bow to your m-i-l for getting lettuce to last over a month. Way to go! Awesome job.

BTW, we sometimes get the washed spring mix in a large plastic container from Sam's. Once opened we wrap the top (including corners) with a couple of paper towels (Rags in the Box are my favorite). The lettuce will stay fresh over two weeks with very little, if any, spoilage. The lettuce is wrapped dry.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas
I use a salad spinner (less than$5) to dry my lettuce after washing it comes our really dry - I also store it and other veggies in the bags from my cereal - I have kept califlower (use in my salad) for 3 wks without turning brown
I also use the bags as freezer paper and to put between meat before I freeze it - learned this from my Mom years ago - she was the original recycle queen - wish I had enough sense to use her ideas to make $$ - I'd be rich now

Anonymous said...

Creal bag idea is GENIUS!!!!! Thanks for all the great tips everyone!!

Stephanie (aka zoeys_mom, ZM) said...

I love the cereal bag idea with the frozen meat! I used to use the tupperware hamburger patty containers but too hard to quick thaw, but wax paper can start getting pricy. Thanks Anon for those extra tips.

Linda, great idea to use just ziploc bags too if you don't have containers :)

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