We all know how frustrating it can be to have to throw out fresh produce that’s gone past it’s prime before we’ve had a chance to use it!
And one of the worst culprits is LETTUCE!
There’s nothing better than lovely crisp lettuce in a freshly made salad, but sadly all too often, that crispness can turn to a slimly soggy mess in no time at all!
10 Healthy Mummy tips to keep your lettuce fresh for longer
One of the Healthy Mummy community members posed this very question recently to other mums looking for ways to extend the life of lettuce.
Kathleen Kelly helps out at the school’s tuck shop and was fed up of having to throw out lettuce that wasn’t getting used.
She asked, “Hey there. How does every keep their lettuce fresh and last longer. Can you freeze lettuce?”
Can you freeze lettuce?
To use in a fresh tossed salad, the answer is no.
Lettuce will lose its crispness once frozen as it has such a high water content that ice crystals form in the plant cells and rupture the cell walls.
However, you can freeze thicker leaved varieties like romaine, cos or butterhead to use in soups, stocks or casseroles. Or even puree in a little water and store in ice cube trays in the freezer to use in smoothies.
To store leaves in the freezer, make sure you wash and dry the leaves and store in airtight freezer bags for up to 6 months.
Wash and store lettuce
Get rid of any bugs and bacteria by washing your lettuce leaves thoroughly before storing in the fridge.
Our Healthy Mummy Community answered Kathleen’s question with some ingenious tips and tricks on how to make Lettuce last longer. Get the tips below.
Healthy Mummy community mums share their tips for making lettuce last longer
1. Storage bags and boxes
Ajay Bennet says, “I keep all my vegetables in these Fresh & Crisp bags in the crisper drawer. You can wash and reuse them too.”
2. Wrap it in a tea towel
Megan Edwards says, “I usually wrap my lettuce in a tea towel-lined container or paper towel and change every couple of days.”
3. Add sugar
Emma White says, “I have worked in hospitality and we used to chop it up and put it in water with a tiny bit of sugar. It keeps it fresh and stops it going brown.”
4. Soak the lettuce
Michelle Waters says, “In the 50’s they called it ‘conditioning the veggies’ and it meant soaking the veggies in water for 30 minutes before serving. So eg. I have super saggy celery. I cut it and put it in water overnight and it’s super crunchy the next morning.”
There are 2 ways of conditioning vegetables, reveals Michelle.
- The first way is when it’s fresh from the store. You can trim the base and soak in cold water for 15 minutes before drying and storing. For lettuce I found storing in a plastic bag with a paper towel the best, making sure the check the paper towel regularly and change when it is damp.
- The other way is when the vegetables is now soggy. To condition lettuce in this case, peel off the leaves you intend to use and soak it in cold refrigerated or iced water placing it back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. I usually do this at the start so it can soak while I prepare my meal.
“This can be done with a whole heap of different vegetables.”
5. Take out the core
Kate Kernan says, “Unusually ladies take the core out and keep it in a lettuce crisper.”
Kate isn’t the only one who does this!
Lee Scott Morris says, “Lettuce container with folded sheet of towel in the bottom. Cut a sliver off the core on purchase. Store core side on paper towel/ upright. Every 3-4 days cut another sliver off core. Mine can last 3 weeks in winter when we don’t eat much salad.”
6. Wrap it in foil
7. Put the loose leaves in Tupperware
Cassie McKay says, “Bagged, mixed lettuce leaves go bad quickly if left in the bag, so I move to a Tupperware container for fruit and veg.”
Hannah Pech goes even one step further and adds the label and barcode.
She says, “always empty the whole bag/lettuce straight into a container (I like Tupperware) and store in the bottom section of your fridge. I cut out the label and barcode and stick on the container for easy “Healthy Mummy App entering” access.”
8. Rinse it well
Emily Smith says, “I’ve found rinsing it well then storing in the fridge in an airtight container with a piece of paper towel it lasts for at least a week.
“Sometimes longer. I grow my own lettuce and I find it can last a couple weeks like that when its freshly picked leaves. Works for bags of salad leaves too.”
9. Buy it straight from the farm
Another mum suggested bypassing the supermarket and going straight to the farm for a fresher batch.
She said, “I get mine straight from the farm and it lasts 2-4 weeks before beginning to soften.”
10. Wrap it in paper towel
Meanwhile, a few of our mums suggested wrapping the lettuce – especially the core in kitchen paper towel and putting in the fridge to “help absorb the water that will make it go soggy”.
Fantastic tips! Thanks ladies. Here’s hoping all of our lettuce stays fresher for longer from now on!
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