Ever get frustrated with ruined or wilted lettuce? You know how it works. We use a few leaves to make some sandwiches or half a head of lettuce to make a salad. Then what? We may go days without using the lettuce again.
When we do, it’s wilted or slightly rotting or even browning. Want to stop the cycle of throwing out unused lettuce? Want to learn how to store lettuce for up to one month? Well, I’ve got a few solutions for you and the ultimate best way to store lettuce!
Storing Lettuce in Water
Of late, there has been a lot said on keeping lettuce freshly stored. An argument has ensued over what is the BEST way to store lettuce. There are a few ways to store lettuce in the fridge without it rotting or becoming sticky or mucus-like.
One of the more trending ways currently in the online debate is storing lettuce in a container full of water. You can place them in a jar, container, or even a big bucket. This can be done in more than one way.
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First, you remove the stem of the head lettuce. Next, you pull apart the leaves and soak them in the water with a bit of vinegar. After, you wash them thoroughly and then put them a bowl and submerge them in water.
Then, you store in the fridge and it can possibly be stored this way for up to two weeks. Though, it is preferable you change the water every 1-3 days.
I personally tried it this way for 10 days straight, without changing water, and we ate the lettuce. It was perfectly fine in terms of texture and taste. I wouldn’t recommend that water not be changed for a whole month.
I’d deem it safer to store this way for up to a month if you’re planning on changing the water frequently. But if you have a good amount of lettuce and you’re going to be out of town for a week or so, by all means submerge your lettuce leaves and store in the fridge. When you come back you can make yourself a delicious salad and enjoy!
In this method, you don’t remove the core or the leaves. Your lettuce head remains intact and the only the stem remains submerged in water.
You can do this by putting the lettuce head into vase or narrow bowl. You can fill the bottom with just enough water to cover the stem and place it in the refrigerator.
This way, you only remove as many leaves as you need.
In both methods the lettuce leaves can last a minimum of two weeks. The differences would be that there’s a bit of a risk of the lettuce losing a bit of its crisp when totally submerged.
Also, lettuce isn’t heavy on the vitamins in general. For example, it has a small amount of Vitamin C and it’s water soluble. This means that if lettuce is stored submerged in water, Vitamin C will leach out into the water.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The actual fear is not bacteria forming, but more of bacteria surviving. Mold can’t grow on something fully submerged in water, especially for a two to four week span. The real question is: Does the lettuce you’re buying already have bacteria on it? That’s why it’s important to soak in vinegar and thoroughly wash it before submerging it because it can lessen the risk of bacteria.
There is no guarantee. It depends on how old the lettuce is, meaning how long had it been in the grocery store before you bought it. It also depends on whether it has any bacteria like botulism or E. Coli or others. There are many things to be taken into consideration. In short, there are many factors that come into play. To play it safe, soak and wash your lettuce thoroughly, change the water every 1-3 days, and ensure it doesn’t have any mucus on it before using it.
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Storing Lettuce Dry
The most popular or common way to store lettuce is dry. Is it the best way to store lettuce? Well, I’ll leave that conclusion up to you. What’s the best way to store lettuce dry?
First, you would remove all the lettuce leaves and soak with a bit of vinegar. Next, you drain the water and thoroughly wash the leaves and put in a strainer until completely dry. You can also dry them in a salad spinner or pat dry with paper towels. Place them in a plastic bag or airtight container wrapped in paper towels so that they soak up access moisture. Some people remove the air from the plastic bags, but truthfully lettuce needs airflow to maintain crisp leaves if it isn’t submerged in water.
What Is Osmosis?
Upon storing lettuce, its water can evaporate whilst lettuce should be fresh and crisp. Eventually, the pressure inside the lettuce cells drops and the leaves shrink and become droopy. The remedy is to immerse the lettuce leaves in cold water. The water will then diffuse back into the cells again which is also known as osmosis.
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How to Store Lettuce
- Soak and wash lettuce, either cored with leaves pulled apart, or as a whole.
- Put into an airtight container submerged in water.
- Remove leaves when needed or use entire lettuce.
- You can change water every three days so lettuce lasts longer.
- Lettuce stays fresh anywhere from ten days to a whole month!
Hi Lama! Does this technique work with other lettuces like arugula? Thanks!
Hi Kaleigh! No, it wouldn’t work with arugula :). I will be publishing a technique on storing arugula soon! Keep a look out!
Hi Lama, thank you for sharing how to store lettuce. When you say you wash it in vinegar, do you use straight vinegar or is it diluted in water as a water bath? Thanks.
Hi Rae! My pleasure! I give the lettuce a quick wash with straight vinegar then I rinse it with water. Although you can allow the lettuce to soak in a water and vinegar water bath like I do with other fruit and vegetables 🙂 Hope that helps!
I’ve wrapped my letuce in paper towels after it is washed and dried and then wrapped it in aluminum foil and it stayed perfect for 2 weeks.
That is amazing! Good to know. Thanks for sharing with me Tina, I will give it a try!
Thanks for sharing these amazing tips! I tried the first method and was amazed by the results. Nothing changed in terms of taste or shape! Will try the second method as well !!
Liz B. says
Thanks for the hack! My lettuce stayed fresh and crisp