Top 6 Smart Ways To Keep Leafy Vegetables Fresh6 minute
Do you need some ways out to keep your lettuce fresh for longer? Look no further as this article has some awesome and super-helpful ways to help you out. So, read on for the right methods to store your lettuce or any other leafy veggies.
How many times do you crave a nice bowl of fresh salad but when you start making one, you see your lettuce has gone bad? This happened to me a lot. It seems impossible to keep lettuce or any other green leafy veggies fresh for longer than a week. But do you know a secret? There are many ways out.
You can literally escape those bad mornings where you can’t have your fresh salad for your breakfast. The best thing is to follow a bunch of ways and ideas to keep your lettuce fresh and even other leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, mint, coriander, and more.
No matter if you are using iceberg, romaine, leafy spinach, red leaves, or arugula lettuce, you will notice how it remains fresh for like a week or so which is the longest in comparison to other leafy veggies. This comes in super handy especially when you are not using them in your next meal, or if you don’t have the time to use them.
With these amazing ideas that I am about to share, you can keep your easy-to-prep leaves fresh for longer. So, let’s know what are these.
Remove the air
We usually get that packed lettuce from the markets. Do you ever wonder why those stay fresh for like 3 weeks and your fresh lettuce turn brown in no time? Here is a reason why this happens. The thing that makes lettuce go bad in a few days is the Ethylene Gas that reacts with the air around these leaves.
The best example of Ethylene gas is apple and how one rotten apple can make whole others go bad in hours. This is because this gas spreads out and reacts with the atmosphere. The same thing happens with lettuce giving it a reason to turn pale yellow or moist within a few days.
To prevent lettuce to react and go bad, all you have to do is store it in a place where there is no air. The best thing to do is take an air-tight zip bag and store your lettuce in it. As you put your lettuce in it, leave a corner unzipped and take out all the air using a pipe or directly from your mouth.
This method is usually what big companies and manufacturers follow to keep their veggies fresh for longer. So, take it from the experts and mimic exactly what they are doing.
The Puffing Method
While we are on the idea of ‘stealing preservation methods from the manufacturers’, there is one more scientifically proven preservation technique you can use. When you limit the contact of oxygen and surround the lettuce or other green leaves with CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) it will remain fresh for longer.
This is something most industries and manufacturers use and that’s why you see those puffed-up lettuce bags in the supermarket. But why Carbon Dioxide? When leaves are in direct contact with oxygen, they absorb moisture and the reaction with the gas makes them turn brown or ripe in no time. However, if we use Carbon Dioxide, it will limit the contact with oxygen and keep it fresh for weeks (2-3 weeks).
Having said that, what you can do is take an air-tight zip bag and put your lettuce in. Close the bag but leave a corner unzipped. With the help of a straw puff the bag using your mouth (we humans exhale CO2). Once the bag is all puffed-up tightly, cover the zip and store it in the refrigerator.
Vinegar and Water solution
This one is usually taught to the generations in the west. Here the main concern is to dip the whole thing in a protective solution and then remove all the moisture. So, here are the steps.
- What you can do is bump your whole lettuce on the table so that it spreads the leaves and creates some space in the middle.
- Now, turn the lettuce upside down and take out the core of it.
- Once the core is out, you can easily cut the lettuce in half and separate the leaves for chopping or simply keep them as is. You don’t need to separate individual leaves but just have enough room for the solution.
- Now, put the leaves in a big bowl and add a cup of white vinegar and water to it. Allow the lettuce to soak for a few minutes.
- After like 2-3 minutes, drain out the water completely.
- Take a large Tupperware container to store your lettuce. Put a layer of paper towel at the bottom that will absorb any excess water that is still left on the leaves.
- Cover the leaves from the top with another layer of paper towel and close the lid.
What if you don’t have a Tupperware container? One thing you can do is have an air-tight zip bag. You can chop your lettuce leaves into small pieces and store them in the zip bags along with a layer of paper towel to soak excess water.
Not to forget, this vinegar and water solution method works to keep your lettuce fresh for like a week or maybe more.
Use Crisper Drawer
Don’t underestimate the design of your refrigerator. Why am I saying that? Well, you know different compartments are designed for different storage purposes in a fridge. The crisper drawer is one such great invention that is meant to keep your stored products fresh for longer.
If you are purchasing a bag of lettuce or any other green leafy vegetables, it is the best way to store that in the crisper drawer for longer freshness. One great piece of advice would be to cut the packet slightly from the corner and allow the leaves to breathe.
Now you must be wondering why a crisper drawer? Well, it’s because this compartment has a different level of humidity and temperature as compared to the other drawers. Therefore, this is meant to keep your fruits, vegetables and even leaves fresh for longer.
The Wrap-up method
This one may not keep your lettuce fresh for weeks but works wonder for 4-5 days more than the storage time. Also, if you are against plastic and avoid its use, then this method is for you. So, we know lettuce goes bad when in contact with air and moisture. Why not we do something to soak up its moisture as it releases it?
So, as you purchase lettuce, spinach, coriander, mint, or any other leaves from the market, take out some time to store them. Rinse them in running or stable water for a few minutes to take out all the dirt and spread them gently on a thick layer of paper towel. Tap the leaves from the tap with the help of a paper towel as well. Now, take the dry paper towel and wrap them around each bunch of green leaves. Do it like that every leaf can touch the surface to absorb the moisture whenever needed.
If you don’t have a paper towel, you can also use a cotton cloth, hand towel, or any other fabric that is good at absorbing moisture. In fact, the newspaper goes best with it too. Store them in the fridge as regular and they will stay fresh for a few more days.
Reviving the leaves
If you see your lettuce going bad, don’t ignore it just because it is meant to happen. There is a way out to wake them up and revive them to turn them fresh again.
When you notice that your lettuce is wilting away, take them out of the refrigerator. Take a big bowl and fill it with water and loads of ice. Now dip your whole bunch of lettuce into it for like 5 minutes. The freezing temperature of lettuce will shock and turn it fresh again.
Thereafter, take them out, tap the leaves with a dry cloth or paper towel gently and store them in a wrap-up method or any way you like.
Undoubtedly, lettuce is one of the most loved green leafy vegetables that everybody enjoys. Be it an adult, older people, and children. All thanks to the fast-food joints for using this vegetable in their meals. However, we often find it hard to store and keep these leaves fresh for days.
So, these methods are there to help you keep them fresh for longer. Try them out and let me know which worked the best for you.