How to store lettuce

Are you tired of trowing away lettuce because it wilts, deteriorates, and gets brown or red spots? Well, I am! and I have been experimenting with ways to preserve my produce for longer periods of time and I think I have found a better way.

My produce problem arises because there are only two of us at my house to eat and I don’t serve salad every meal. Therefore, my lettuce gets tired before I can use it all. I also don’t particularly like the bagged salads from the grocery store. Even though they say they have been washed three times I find that I still want to wash it myself. When I do wash it the tender dark leaves of the mixed salads will deteriorate within a day and stick on the fresher leaves in the bag. They will do that anyhow in a few days but wetting them and not being able to get them completely dry is a guarantee that you will have to toss it sooner.

Here is what I have been doing and it seems to hold the lettuce fresher for a longer time. I know it takes a little more time, but it does keep longer.

I buy leaf lettuce and leaf romaine.  My grocery store has had the heads on sale for .99 cents for the past few weeks.  I chop off the stem end and separate the leaves. I then place them into a large 3 gallon stainless steal bowl filled with cold water and about 1/2 cup of vinegar, and allow them to soak about 10 minutes. The vinegar kills any bacteria on the leaves and I think helps them to stay fresh longer.

Lettuce in vinegar and water

 

Next I spin a few leaves at a time in a salad spinner.

Lettuce in spinner

When all the leaves are spun I start laying them out on microfiber cloths to finish drying. I use old microfiber cloths that were washed with other clothes and have too much lint on them to use for cleaning windows or mirrors. They work much better than layering the leaves on paper towels or terry cloth towels. I tried paper towels once and within a few days all the leaves were soggy, and had that red color on them.

FYI about microfiber cloths. Never wash them in with your regular wash because they absorb the lint from the other clothes. We bought a bundle at Costco some years back when they first came out and as we used them I would wash them in with my regular laundry. I did not realizing that they would then be useless for just what we bought them for which was to clean mirrors and glass. However, they make great cleaning cloths and I discovered that they work especially well for layering my lettuce in the refrigerator.

lettuce ready to stack in bag I stack the cloths on top of each other and slide them into a clean plastic garbage bag.

Lettuce in plastic bag

 Loosely fold over the bag and place it on a shelf in my extra garage refrigrator.

lettuce bundle in refregerator

Since I don’t make salad daily I don’t want to take up the space in my kitchen refrigerator, but as you can see my extra refrigerator has plenty of room. Also, note that I keep a pair of old kitchen sissors in that refrigerator to cut the plastic bottle holders on the soft drinks that we store in there. Tho, today all that is showing is a good bottle of wine.

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