Friday 22 April 2022

Keep Lettuce Fresh Longer

In recent conversations, several of my friends have remarked on how much water gets sprayed on lettuce in grocery store produce displays. The lettuce gets so wet that it rots within a couple of days of bringing it home. I know how frustrating that can be so I want to share a simple trick I use to keep lettuce fresh. Stored this way, it lasts days longer.

When I bring lettuce home from the store, I pull it apart, breaking the leaves off from the core and tearing away any discoloured or damaged parts.  I put the leaves in a big bowl and fill the bowl with cold water.  I let the leaves soak for a few minutes, swish them around a bit, lift them out into a strainer, empty the bowl, and rinse it out. I repeat the process twice more so that the lettuce has had three rinses.

After the third rinse, I spread a clean tea towel out on my work surface and lay the leaves out on the towel with some space between them.  If I have more leaves than will fit on a single towel, I lay another towel on top and spread the rest of the leaves on it.  

When the leaves have been spread out on the towel(s), I top them with with another clean towel

then roll the whole bundle up like a jelly roll.

I (usually) put the roll in a homemade drawstring bag made from cotton and lined with ripstop nylon. When I took these photos, my drawstring bag was in use for foraged greens so I used a couple of plastic bags from the produce section. If you're using plastic bags, slip one over each end of the roll, overlapping in the middle but not tightly fastened.

The reason this trick works is that the towels absorb excess water from the leaves and then the leaves take the water back in as needed. 

There's a bonus too:  Once the lettuce is rinsed and wrapped my prep is done so salad making or sandwich assembly take less time.

I hope you give this a try.  It really does work.

*If you use plastic bags to store your lettuce, please wash them and reuse them, or use them to make plarn (plastic yarn for knitting or crocheting), or recycle them after the lettuce is used up. Don't throw them in the garbage.  Mother Nature and I both thank you for being mindful.