How to: Store Lettuce in the Fridge

MAKEIT!_dry lettuce

Summer lettuce comes in giant, colorful, healthful heads. Yet how many times have you bought one such beautiful head for salad only to watch the leaves go sad and limp in the fridge before anything resembling a salad gets made? Here’s how to make sure that never happens again.

Washing lettuce may win as my most hated kitchen task. But if I wash the lettuce right when I get home (I use a spinner, but you can also just spread it out on the counter), place it in one layer on a kitchen towel, and then roll it up into a kitchen towel-lettuce spiral (see above), each leaf stays unimaginably crisp and fresh in the vegetable drawer for up to a week. A whole week!

Though the pre-washed salad-in-a-box stuff is fine in winter, now that I’m addicted to beautiful heads of red, Boston, and Romaine lettuce, this tip means that if we can all just get past the hated lettuce-washing task, beautiful salads are ours for the eating all week.

See tips from previous Make It! columns, like how to cut  fifteen cherry tomatoes at once, and how to make iced tea without boiling water.

[layout by Chevrons and Stripes]

Posted in: Make It!
  • SmallKitchenCollege

    Haha I usually am BAD and just don’t wash it at all like a very lazy and careless person. Great tip, though, it sounds like magic!

  • Carolyn

    Love this column! The cherry tomatoes are brilliant.

  • Betney_m

    Perfect! When the lettuce is from my own garden I don’t worry about it, cuz I know there isn’t anything too bad on it. But when it comes from somewhere else, I like to know it’s clean. And this hopefully keeps it around longer:)

  • Tessa

    Cara, do you mean wrap all the lettuce in one towel or wrap the lettuce leaves individually?

    • BGSK

      You layer all the lettuce leaves on one towel – they can overlap slightly. If it’s a really big head of lettuce, you may need two towels to fit.

  • Adrienne James

    I find that it lasts up to two weeks or more if you leave it all as a head and make sure it’s dried off well. Like, don’t tear the leaves off until you’re ready to eat.

    • BGSK

      And then you leave it in the fridge? Or put it in a plastic bag? I’ve found my lettuce wilts if I put it in the fridge unprotected.

      • heidi

         I leave it in the plastic bag. It works great.

  • heidi

    I usually keep the lettuce on the head and pick pieces off on an as-needed basis. It keeps for a while. But this is a great way to do some ahead of time prep. Thanks for showing us.

    • BGSK

      You’re welcome! It’s great to hear how everyone else deals with the same problem.

  • Sapressman

    I have been doing this for a long time, with great success.  But shame on me, I use paper towels instead of a cloth towel.  I may switch and see how it works.  Thanks for sharing

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