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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How to Store Lettuce in the Refrigerator



When we buy lettuce, it needs to be consumed quickly. We somehow never manage to use it all before it wilts. Plus, when you’re looking for a quick snack, chopping up and washing lettuce can be a real pain. You might be inclined to make a salad with it, but not have time to get around to it before it goes bad. That means wasted “green,” and I’m not just talking about the lettuce!

Lettuce can definitely be a tricky thing to keep fresh. How can we store lettuce in a way that makes it easier to use when we need it fast?

Keeping lettuce fresh in your fridge isn't as hard as you might have thought!
Keeping lettuce fresh in your fridge isn’t as hard as you might have thought!

Prepare the lettuce

As busy people, we might be tempted to simply pick up a few prepared bags of lettuce as a time-saving measure. Though bagged lettuce seems like a good idea, it’s much more expensive. Worse, it doesn’t keep for more than a few days. Bagged lettuce is hardly the ideal solution to the problem. It’s much better to buy the lower-priced, fresher heads of lettuce, then chop and bag them yourself!

Check out the Zyliss Lettuce Knife at Amazon

When you go to cut the lettuce, you should chop off the base to remove the core. The leaves will fall off easily, and then you can wash them straight away. Once you’re totally satisfied that they’re clean, pat them down with some paper towels. If you put it in the fridge too wet, the water molecules will freeze and damage the lettuce, or leave it soggy and prone to rot.

Find out which paper towels are the best for your kitchen!

Kitchen Towels

Kick-start your salad with a supply of ready-to-eat lettuce!
Kick-start your salad with a supply of ready-to-eat lettuce!

One of the best things you can do when you initially buy your lettuce is to chop it all up, wash it, and store it in a basket lined with kitchen towels. The kitchen towels will absorb the water from your lettuce leaves, drying it nicely. The water in the lettuce and the kitchen towels will keep the lettuce crisp and fresh.

Read all about the best kitchen towels.

All you need to do is fill the sink with some clean water, chop up your lettuce leaves, and wash them. Throw them in the salad dryer or pat them down with some kitchen towels, then line your fridge drawer with dry kitchen towels and put your lettuce in. Voila. Instant lettuce.

Keep your kitchen towels stain and odor free with these simple methods.

What’s great about this storage technique is that you always have a collection of lettuce leaves ready to be used. Simply grab a handful and, within minutes, you have a fresh salad. No washing. No prep work. Just fresh, crisp lettuce!

The same idea applies to any other leaf that you might use in a salad. I also recommend making a large batch of vinaigrette to store in the fridge. This means the only preparation you need to do is to chop up some red peppers, grill some chicken, and do whatever else you normally do when preparing your salads.

How about a salad topped with smoked salmon? I’ve got a favorite smoked salmon recipe.

Pitchers and Jars

Another trick for storing lettuce in the refrigerator is to keep the stalks upright in a pitcher. You’ll have them bunched together, saving precious space. Don’t forget to add a little water to the pitcher to keep the lettuce crisp and vibrant for longer.

Using well water? I found the best pitcher filters for well water.

You can also store your prepared lettuces in various jars. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a series of different leaves ready to use, in whatever portion sizes you want, every time you open the fridge? By keeping it in an airtight container, you’ll preserve the freshness, texture, and color. Plus, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, this looks beautiful in your fridge.

Keep the outside of your fridge as beautiful as the inside! Learn about how to clean the outside of a stainless steel refrigerator.

Zipper Storage Bags

A simple strategy for keeping lettuce in the fridge is to keep lettuce portions in plastic zipper bags. This way, you have a salad in a bag ready to be tossed on the plate whenever you please. A zipper storage bag will keep the lettuce fresher for longer, so you won’t have to rush through it or throw away soggy and unappetizing leaves.

Check out the Ziploc Storage Bags Gallon Mega Pack at Amazon

Make sure to squeeze out some of the air before you seal the bag, taking care not to bruise the leaves. This saves space so you can store more of it in your refrigerator.

Plastic Containers

If you’re a serious lettuce connoisseur, you might consider using a specialized produce saver.

Check out the Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver at Amazon

There are a multitude of options on the market, all relatively inexpensive. You can choose from rectangular containers for pre-cut lettuce, and circular versions large enough to hold the whole head. The best models come equipped with airtight lids and drainage trays.

Check out the Prepworks by Progressive Lettuce Keeper at Amazon

Hey, this lettuce thing has been a problem for a while. Of course someone’s invented a gadget for it!

Let us eat lettuce!

So, while lettuce is enjoyable to eat, but not to prepare, using these simple tips ensures you’ll have ready-to-eat salads at your disposal. Making healthy, fresh, and delicious salad needn’t be an annoying chore! Simply chop the whole head of lettuce in one go, use what you need, and store the rest in one of these convenient ways! No muss, no fuss and, most importantly, no waste!

Are you the sort who buys in bulk and prepares meals in advance? You’ll love these posts on the best containers for the freezer, and the best plastic wrap for freezing. Also be sure to check out this article on vacuum sealers for meat and game.

If you have an infant, you can also prepare baby food ahead of time using ice cube trays.

Mason jars are an excellent way to preserve food with pressure canners, but did you know that they are amazing for smoothies and juices, too?

What about storing those yummy blackberries for later? My top tips for perfectly freezing and storing blackberries.

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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