You’re ready to make a nice, crispy salad for lunch and open the fridge. Change of plans: That head of lettuce you bought just a few days ago is already slimy, smelly, and wilted. We’ve all been there.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. When you learn how to keep lettuce fresh, you’re no longer throwing money down the drain or adding to the 70 billion pounds of food waste that’s sent to landfills every year.
Here’s exactly how to keep lettuce fresh the next time you buy greens at the grocery store.
How to Keep Lettuce Fresh
1. Utilize Leftover Napkins
For lettuce sold in plastic bags and tubs, or for lettuce you chopped and rinsed yourself, utilize the napkins you got with your takeout order. They help remove moisture that causes your greens to become soggy. Either wrap the lettuce in the napkins, or place a napkin at the top or bottom of the container.
2. Grab a Clean Cotton Cloth
You don’t need napkins or paper towels to keep your lettuce fresh. Opt for a reusable clean cotton cloth, either wrapping your greens or placing the cloth at the top or bottom of the container. It will remove any excess moisture and keep your lettuce crispy.
3. Use a Salad Spinner
Using a salad spinner is another great way to reduce moisture and keep your lettuce fresh for longer. After rinsing the leaves and using the salad spinner, place the clean lettuce in an airtight container with a clean cotton cloth.
4. Use a Produce Bag
Reliable, space-optimizing, and easy-to-use, produce bags are a popular way to make lettuce and other produce last longer. Options like the Veggie Saver help maintain the right amount of moisture around the lettuce so it stays fresh. In fact, it can extend its life by two weeks!
5. Use Your Fridge’s Crisper Drawer
Lettuce is best stored in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer with other fruits and vegetables that do best in high humidity.
Some fruits and vegetables produce ethylene gas as they ripen. This is completely normal, but some fruits and vegetables ripen faster when exposed to ethylene, like bananas and avocados.
Lettuce is also ethylene-sensitive, so make sure it’s paired with neighbors in the crisper drawer that are also ethylene-sensitive, like other thin-skinned or leafy vegetables.
6. Only Buy What You Need
While it’s helpful to learn how to keep lettuce fresh once you have it home, it’s also important to think about your purchasing habits.
Lettuce comes in containers of all sizes, like bags and tubs. You can also purchase whole heads on their own, or loose greens by weight at certain grocery stores.
It may be tempting to buy a bigger size for the cost savings, but always consider the amount that’s most reasonable for your household size. This allows you to eat it all up before it goes bad.
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