Diva Tasting: Diva Researching…Storing Veggies…

Storing Lettuce Properly

Buying produce isn’t cheap — especially if you’re constantly throwing away rotten lettuce that you forgot was in the depths of your fridge.

If you’re like us you buy a container of spring mix or a package of romaine hearts with the full intention of using some every day. But as the week goes on, you just keep shoving that lettuce further and further into your fridge. By your next grocery trip, you have to do the sad changing of the guards-style lettuce replacement as you throw away your mushy, brown lettuce and exchange it for pristine, new lettuce.

We can never seem to use up the entire big package of lettuce in time, but, luckily, TikTokers have some storage tips that will help keep lettuce fresh for much longer. We found tricks for storing lettuce, and other leafy greens, in the plastic clamshells as well as tricks for storing heads of lettuce. So we put them both to the test to see if they really do work to preserve your lettuce.

How to Make Lettuce in Clamshells Last Longer

Buying spinach, spring mix, and other leafy greens that are pre-washed and ready to eat is one of the easiest ways to get some veggies into your diet. We love having a clamshell in our fridge at all times. However, some of those containers are just too big to eat within the one-week timeframe.

When we saw this hack on TikTok, we thought it was too good to be true. To keep your greens fresh, all you need to do is open the container, stick a paper towel on top of the greens, shut it, and store it upside down in the fridge.

If you think about it, it does make sense. After a while, you open up one of those lettuce containers to find soggy, wet greens at the bottom of the clamshell. So instead of the slimy lettuce sitting at the bottom of the container and touching all the other leaves, it’s at the top where the paper towel can suck up all the moisture.

We put this idea to the test with both spinach and spring mix. We tested the paper towel hack on each and compared the greens to a second set that was stored normally. The best-by date on both packages was one week after we purchased the produce. However, when using this trick, the spinach lasted 15 days past its best by date and the spring mix lasted 20 days past its best by date.

While the TikTok video doesn’t specify if you’re supposed to change out the paper towel, we did switch it out every so often when it got damp. Also, by the end of the test, the paper towel started to get brown and green spots on it from the wilting lettuce, so we switched it out more frequently.

Even though the lettuce did last long past the best-by date, the paper towel doesn’t necessarily stop it from wilting or getting slimy. The main difference, however, is that the slimy lettuce isn’t coming into contact with a lot of pieces around it because the paper towel is trapping the wetness. Whereas, when you store lettuce right-side up, the slimy pieces on the bottom touch every piece around it and contaminate them in the process.

Storing lettuce upside down also makes it a lot easier to pick through any pieces that may be wilted or brown. Now, the lettuce on the bottom of the clamshell is fresher than the lettuce on the top, so you can just shave off the top layer and have a new layer of perfectly good lettuce ready to use.

Truthfully, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be storing lettuce like this. It’s so easy to do and makes your life a lot easier when it comes time to make a salad or add greens to a dish.

How to Make Heads of Lettuce Last Longer

If you prefer to purchase your leafy greens as heads or hearts, there’s a trick for you too. Instead of leaving your lettuce in the bag it comes in, wrap each individual head in a piece of aluminum foil and store it in your fridge.

Just be sure to wrap it back up tightly every time you use it because any exposed lettuce can dry out quicker.

“The biggest issue that happens with lettuce is that it either dries out or it gets choked,” says Michael Nestrud, who has a Ph.D. in Food and Sensory Science as well as a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). “Sealing in a Ziploc chokes it because it needs CO2 to live, and the Ziploc will eventually have only oxygen. Leaving it open in your fridge with no cover will dry it out.”

The TikTok creator for this one, Armen Adamjan, claims the hack will keep lettuce “crispy and fresh” for up to 30 days — but it actually lasts longer than that.

To test the trick, we wrapped one romaine heart in foil and left the other romaine heart in the plastic bag. The romaine heart that was left in the original packaging only lasted about two to three weeks with a lot of trimming around the edges due to wilting. But the romaine heart in the foil lasted beyond 30 days — and only wilted if you didn’t wrap it back up tightly enough.

Every time you take a layer of lettuce off the heart, the 30 days practically restarts. So, each layer of lettuce is getting a full life in your fridge.

There isn’t a scientific reason why aluminum foil, specifically, keeps lettuce fresh.

“Aluminum does not, on its own, have any specific synergies with lettuce. If it’s protective it’s either protecting it from drying out or it has just the right permeability to allow the lettuce to breathe without drying it out (aluminum foil IS permeable),” says Nestrud.

But the trick works, so that’s really all we need to know.

Between the paper towel and the foil hacks, our days of soggy, limp lettuce are gone. And fresh salads will be available whenever we are.

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