October 15, 2019
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Do you know how to make lettuce last longer? See how it’s done in the quick video below, and then grab some of the best salad and lettuce cup recipes to make with your fresh and crunchy lettuce!
My kids love lettuce on their subs, sandwiches, and tacos, but I rarely bought it because I knew that after the first use, it would just sit there in my fridge, taking up valuable space, only to eventually get thrown out.
I found it too inconvenient to wash a couple leaves every time I needed it, which added precious minutes to mealtime preparations. I didn’t like to buy bagged lettuce because it’s more expensive, spoils quickly, and I’m not a fan of the taste—it just never seemed fresh to me.
Being efficient in the kitchen is all about planning. If you can spend just a bit of time planning your week out in one day, life will suddenly become a lot less hectic in the morning, and even around dinner time, plus you’ll be able to store and use leftover food more efficiently!
MOMables is here to help you and provide you with a weekly meal plan that gives you recipes, photos, tips, and even a shopping list! If you need a bit of help, join us here!
How to Keep Lettuce Fresh Longer
By spending about 10 minutes prepping one head of lettuce ahead of time, it can now be conveniently available to you when you need it. You’ll use a vinegar & water mixture in a salad spinner to mix and spin in order to wash the lettuce. After spinning, let it soak and then rinse thoroughly.
Lay the lettuce leaves out on a clean dish towel until completely dry then store in a zip bag with a paper towel in the fridge.
I also like to take several dried lettuce leaves, chop or shred them, and store them in a smaller 1-quart plastic zip-top bag with half a sheet of paper towel for grab-and-go chopped or shredded lettuce. Perfect for tacos, salads, burritos, subs, and so much more! Want to try it? Let me show you how it’s done.
How to shred lettuce
- Starting with a washed head of lettuce, place it onto the cutting board, and cut it into quarters.
- Place one quarter, cut side down and slice in ¼-inch thick increments
- Repeat with remaining quarters
No more waste. Fresh and crispy lettuce. Tastes great. READY-TO-EAT! Plus, it makes packing fresh school lunches on the MOMable’s school lunch plan that much easier!
A whole head of lettuce is much cheaper than the bagged type, and by preparing it ahead of time, it is just as convenient. It also makes fun taco salad nights that much easier, too! And speaking of salads…
Can you Freeze Lettuce?
No, you can’t freeze lettuce because of its high water content. If you freeze it, it will lose all its texture and will not be usable to make salads.
For this reason, I recommend that you follow the steps above to keep the lettuce in the fridge fresh for as long as possible.
Best Lettuce Salad Recipes
Now that you have all the fact to keep lettuce fresher, longer let’s put those greens to use with these epic salads! Each recipe is packed with protein, yummy toppings, and homemade dressings for a quick dinner or make ahead lunch option.
Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a few tasty additions turn the classic combo into an epic lunch.
Salmon Nicoise Salad
An iconic dish of France tweaked into a hearty, refreshing meal with hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomatoes, and cooked salmon.
Asian Salad Lettuce Cups
This isn’t your “typical” salad. Instead, the lettuce is kept whole and turned into a “cup” to hold the tangy Asian Chicken Salad.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Buffalo chicken, Blue cheese, avocado, and homemade Ranch dressing– it’s the ultimate low-carb meal prep!
Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Turn grilled chicken and last night’s taco leftovers into this southwest style salad for a protein-packed meal.
Classic Cobb Salad
Pack it for lunch or turn it into a salad bar for dinner.
How to Keep Salad Lettuce Fresh Until Lunch
No one wants to open their lunchbox to find a bunch of wilted greens. No bueno! Thankfully you can avoid this mishap with a few simple tips:
- Include an ice pack in the lunch bag to keep everything crisp and fresh.
- Don’t toss the dressing with the salad until just before eating. The acids in the dressing break down the lettuce, causing it to shrink and become soggy. I like using these sauce containers to pack in the lunch bag along with the salad.
- If you found this how-to and salad ideas helpful, you’ll love what we’re doing in our weekly family meal plans. We take the guesswork out of mealtime with real food recipes, a completed shopping list, and prep tips so parents can stay ahead of the game.
Get a better view at one of our plans here, and while you’re there, grab a free sample, you won’t be disappointed.
How to Keep Lettuce Fresh
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 head lettuce
- Remove all the lettuce leaves, and place them in a big bowl or salad spinner.
- Pour 1 cup of vinegar in the bowl or spinner and fill the rest with water.
- Gently mix the lettuce, water, and vinegar around and let it soak for a few minutes.
- Drain the vinegar-water solution, and rinse the lettuce thoroughly in water.
- Spin dry if using a salad spinner. If not, transfer the lettuce to a colander and shake off excess water.
- Lay out and air dry the lettuce on a clean counter, dish towel, or paper towels until completely dry.
- Place the lettuce in a gallon plastic zip-top bag along with a paper towel.
- Squeeze all the air out of the bag and refrigerate.
It’s easier to just wrap the head in paper towels and seal in a large freezer bag with the air squished out. Change the paper towels every time you open the bag. Two people in my house and iceberg lettuce will last almost a month.
We needed to find a way to keep lettuce fresh in the small RV fridge as a Lettuce storer won’t fit. Never knew about vinegar so will try this next time I buy lettuce. Thank you !! (Did know about paper towels though)! A lot of people aren’t aware you should never cut lettuce with a metal knife.
After cleaning and drying lettuce wrap it in press and seal will keep fresh quite a long time.
MOMables - Laura
I love using press and seal.
Debra A Berrios
What do I do about kiwi?
Kiwi is one of the fruits I would leave whole until you are ready to serve or plan to eat it that same day.
What about Avocados the turn brown so quickly? And lemons and sliced tomatoes?
Hi Debra, I wouldn’t try slicing avocados, tomatoes, or lemons until you are ready to use them since they tend to spoil faster.
Hi Debbie, I heard that if you put limp celery in ice cold water it will crip up again, is this true?
MOMables - Laura
I do appreciate how you save your lettuse, thanks for the information. I have wrapped my lettuse in foil and it has lasted for several weeks in the fridge, just wrapped in foril, but I also put it in a tupperware lettuse container sometimes. I also wrap most of my fruits and other vegetables in foil which make them last several weeks longer. I wrap peppers, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower even put foil overtop of mushroom containers etc. as well as grapefruit, lemons, oranges. They have all worked for me. If a lemon does go bad, it doesn’t affect the others that are in the same container. I have tried many other fruits and vegetables, always trying something new.
I use the white vinegar and water to wash berries and grapes but never tried it with lettuce! Will try it asap!
I just take lettuce out of the plastic bag it comes in when I get home from shopping. Rinse it and wrap it tightly in tinfoil. It lasts a very long time in tinfoil and I am not adding more plastic to the world. Celery also responds extremely well to being stored in tinfoil instead of plastic. It stays crisp forever when it is kept this way.
I do that with celery and it does work! Never thought to do it to lettuce! Duh! Will try it with my next lettuce!
Yes foil works great!
When I get my head of lettuce home, I take it out of the store veggie section plastic bag, unwrap it from the tight plastic around it, and peel off any wilted or brown fringed leaves from it. Then I wrap the head in TWO whole paper towels, put it back into the store veggie section bag, squeeze out the air around it, give it a twirl to seal it, and I store it in the DOOR of the fridge, wherever it will fit. (As it gets smaller from use, sometimes right on top of the jars/bottle tops n such, if space is short. Also, you can use the bin, but for some reason the door works better for me – older, non fancy model.) Then, every 2-3 days (or whenever I use some before then), I unwrap it, put the set of towels on it aside to dry, and re-wrap it in two new ones. Save the dried towels for the next time the lettuce comes out. Then, the next time (2-3 days later), I take the towels on it off (set those aside to dry), and put the first dry set you’ve saved from before back around it. (You’re going to alternate until the lettuce is gone. Use a new set of towels for every new head you buy. I use the used dried towels to clean up anything that needs wiping off the floor, under the garbage can under the sink, etc.) This “lettuce ritual” only takes 2 minutes on each of those days, and I *guarantee* that head of lettuce will last a MONTH, or until you’ve used it up before then. (I live alone, only use it for sandwiches. ha) I’ve done this for years, it works, and it’s magical. If you forget every few days, you might have a little brown leaf; just peel it off and continue. Moisture is what ruins/slimes them up. Well, enjoy your forever lasting lettuces! :) P. S. I’ve never done this with any other types, but I think it would work wonderfully on any that still have the stem attached. Cheers!
great tip. thank you for sharing!
I’m trying the idea with vinegar and salad spinner.
Thanks for the awesome information, on how to store the lettuce. I will be having salad for the next couple days.
Have a great day my dearest.
How long does this keep before wilting starts?
this will depend on the age of the lettuce and type. I typically keep it like this for a week.
I’ve been doing that for years without the vinegar.I cut the core out remove any rusty parts and wilted leafs rinse it off put in something to drain until almost dry .lm not stingy with paper towels,I completly cover the lettuce and put in plastic.I have it last about 3 weeks.Also do bell peppers that way ,last a lot longer.
OMGEE!! I have been throwing away sooo much lettuce and wasting tons of money. This is such great advice!!