Lettuce, like other high-moisture foods, can be a challenge to preserve. But with ever-rising food prices, it seems unwise to allow anything edible to go to waste. Freezing lettuce leaves is one option for preserving them for up to six months, although the leaves will be much softer when they're defrosted than when they were fresh. Once thawed, some of the best uses for frozen lettuce leaves include soups, stews and casseroles.
Separate the leaves of lettuce from the head. Discard the tough stalk.
Wash the leaves in cool water and dry them thoroughly. Any moisture left on the leaves will degrade the texture of the lettuce significantly, possibly destroying them. Although not necessary, using a salad spinner will help remove water from the leaves.
Place the leaves in plastic freezer storage bags, making sure to squeeze out excess air, and seal the bags tightly. Do not overfill the bags. Write the name of the lettuce and the date on the bag with a permanent marker.
Lay the bags of lettuce leaves flat on the bottom of the freezer, or on top of other flat items. Don't put heavy items on top of the bags of lettuce, and do not fold or bunch up the bags. Use the frozen lettuce leaves within six months.
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- Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food; Jean Ann Van Krevelen
- Stocking Up III: the All-new Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide; Carol Hupping, et al.
- To defrost your lettuce leaves, remove them from the bags and place them flat on a piece of paper towel or a dish towel at room temperature for about an hour. You can place a baking sheet under the towel to protect your work surface from moisture, if you wish.
- Only freeze one type of lettuce leaf per bag. Mixing varieties can affect the quality.
- Thoroughly clean all produce before freezing.
Andrea DeShazo has been writing and editing lifestyle articles since 2003. DeShazo has written for several major daily newspapers in Montana, Colorado and New Mexico. She has also taught writing to community college students on the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico. DeShazo has a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Montana, and currently writes about food and gardening from her home in the Raleigh, N.C. area.
Jenna Winkeller/Demand Media