Best Way to Store Lettuce

While crisp lettuce is the perfect foundation to a good salad, wilted leaves will spoil any vegetable medley. With care and a few simple steps, you can stave off the inevitable wilting with most varieties of picked lettuce from the backyard or the corner market and keep your leaves fresh for a week. Salads are packed full of nutrients, especially those that use dark leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, which has been shown to be cancer-fighting. Many raw vegetables in salads also are rich in antioxidants and fiber.

Things You'll Need

  • Salad spinner
  • Resealable plastic bag or container
  • Cloth or paper towel

Instructions

  1. Keeping Your Lettuce Crisp

    • 1

      Remove wilted or blemished leaves from the head of lettuce. This would include leaves that have dark spots, a slimy coating or discolored edges. This step is important and prevents the adverse conditions from spreading to other leaves.

    • 2

      Wash the lettuce head under cold water for several minutes. Continue the step until the leaves no longer have a gritty feel to them, as it ensures they are free of dirt and other particles.

    • 3

      Separate the leaves and again rinse them under cold water for about one minute.

    • 4

      Dry the leaves to ensure they will not be affected by moisture. The leaves can be dried off with a cloth or paper towel. A device known as a salad spinner also can be used to accomplish this task. Salad spinners are plastic bowls that feature a strainer that removes excess water from leaves and relocates it to the bottom of the bowl.

    • 5

      Place the leaves on top of one another, separating each one with paper towel. Once the stacking has been completed, place the leaves inside a sealed plastic bag or container and place it inside a refrigerator. Common varieties--including iceberg and romaine--can last for about a week. However, varieties such as arugula and watercress last a shorter time.

Tips & Warnings

  • For best results, store lettuce leaves in the crisper section of the refrigerator. If a plastic bag is used to store the leaves, remove as much air as possible.
  • Keep lettuce leaves away from produce that could turn the leaves brown. This would include such fruits as bananas, apples and pears.
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