3 ways to store lettuce so it lasts longer

I know people who don’t buy lettuce at all because it goes bad so fast.

And I was like that too. I would buy some lettuce for a specific meal, use half the bag, and the rest would rot in the crisper bin until I threw it away a week later. 

Figuring out how to store lettuce so that it lasts longer was a game changer for me.

Now I buy a huge box of lettuce every week and I know it will last. 

I use lettuce in salads, on sandwich skewers, even in smoothies. 

Why does lettuce go bad so fast?

Lettuce is just leaves. The function of a plant's leaf is to convert the sun's energy into energy the plant's cells can use to grow. Other parts of the plant, like roots are in charge of storing energy and nutrients. Since the leaves aren't meant for long term storage and can be replaced, there's no need for a sturdy, long lasting structure. 

Unfortunately for us that means lettuce goes bad really quickly once it's removed from the plant. For other kinds of leaves, like herbs, we can dehydrate them and they keep most of their flavor and nutrition. Since no one is lining up for dehydrated lettuce we have to find other ways of keeping delicate leaves fresher, longer. 

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Remove damaged leaves

Before you put your lettuce away be sure to inspect it for any severely damaged leaves. These guys will rot quickly and ruin the whole batch. Do a quick inspection and remove anything that looks suspicious. 

 

Here are 3 ways to store lettuce so that it lasts longer in the refrigerator! 

The trick with all three of these methods for storing lettuce is to create humidity while also preventing moisture from settling the lettuce itself. 

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1. Rolled

  1. Spread your lettuce out on a paper towel or dish cloth in a single layer
  2. Roll it up
  3. Put the roll in a produce bag, container, or beeswax wrap to keep it humid.

If you wash your lettuce at home, use a salad spinner or blot the lettuce dry with a towel. Wet leaves are more prone to rot. Don't worry about getting them completely dry, the paper towels will absorb any moisture left on the lettuce. The lettuce stays dry and the dewy paper towels get cold in the fridge, creating a chilled and slightly humid environment which keeps the lettuce crisp.

I think a hidden advantage to this method is that I see each piece of lettuce as I lay it out so I'm able to remove any pieces that have begun to rot. I also remove any leaves that have been damaged and severely bruised, because they tend to rot quickly.

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2. Container

  1. Line a container with paper towels or a dish cloth,
  2. Add your lettuce and put the lid on it. Don't pack it too tightly.

Just like the rolled method, the paper towels will absorb extra water and keep the container chilled and slightly humid. The paper towel will also prevent any condensation under the lid from falling on the lettuce.

This method is quicker than rolling it up; you just grab handfuls of lettuce and stick it in the bin. I didn't take as much care to pick out funky pieces so there's a chance you could have a batch go bad more quickly. Although, even my biggest tupperware was a fairly small serving, I'd say just under enough for two people, so you'll never have the whole batch go bad due to a few rotten apples, so to speak.

large bin lettuce storage.png

3. Upside Down

  1. Open your container and inspect it for any damaged pieces that can spread rot.
  2. Fold a paper towel or dish cloth and place it on top of the lettuce. 
  3. Put the lid back on
  4. Store the container UPSIDE DOWN.

These big containers a densely packed and the layers on the bottom will rot quickly if they don't get some air. Flip the container and let air circulate among those lower levels. 

This is great for the huge bins of lettuce you can buy at costco and most grocery stores. The trick with all of these methods is to create a humid environment (container) but prevent moisture from accumulating on the lettuce (towel or cloth). 

This is the fastest and easiest way to store your lettuce so that it lasts longer in the refrigerator. 

Conclusion

Try each method and see how it goes for you. You might find that rolling the lettuce is a fun way for your younger kids to help you in the kitchen. Maybe the easy portion sizes of the container method makes it easier to put together last minute salads. Either way, I hope this helps you store your lettuce so that it lasts longer and you can enjoy crisp, refreshing salads whenever you want!