It can be frustrating when you go for that bag of lettuce you just opened the other day, only to find that it is already starting to go brown and wilt, especially when the lettuce is pre-cut or shredded. Lettuce generally doesn't last very long to begin with, but if you are trying to store lettuce that has already been shredded, it can go bad even faster if you are not meticulous. Keeping the shredded lettuce very cold and away from too much moisture is the key to maximum freshness.
Keep unopened pre-shredded lettuce in the bag it came in. Many companies that sell lettuce and salads use bags that are specially made to maintain peak crispness and freshness for as long as possible. Store the bag upright in your refrigerator.
Place shredded lettuce in a container with paper towels. If you have opened your bag of lettuce or you shredded the lettuce yourself, place them in a container lined with paper towels. Add half of the shredded lettuce, then add a layer of paper towels and cover with the rest of the lettuce. Add another layer of paper towels before sealing the container with its lid. The paper towels will help keep the lettuce shreds from getting too moist, keeping them crisp.
Roll the shredded lettuce up in a kitchen towel. Using a clean kitchen towel is an alternative to paper towel. Spread the shredded lettuce down the length of a fresh kitchen towel. Starting from one end, slowing roll up the towel to the other end, like a burrito. Secure the roll with rubber bands and store in a large resealable plastic bag. If you have a very large amount of shredded lettuce, use a clean bath towel.
Store the lettuce in the coldest part of your refrigerator. No matter what type of container or bag you store the shredded lettuce in, it is important to keep it in your crisper or the coldest part of your fridge to maintain freshness. Properly stored shredded lettuce should last in your refrigerator for up to one week.
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- If your shredded lettuce is looking wilted and limp, try plunging the lettuce into ice cold water and thoroughly drying in a salad spinner to refresh the shredded leaves before using them.
- If you shredded the lettuce yourself, avoid using a metal knife, as it causes a reaction in the lettuce that causes it to brown faster. Instead, use a sturdy plastic lettuce knife, which you can find at any store that sells kitchen supplies. If you do cut the lettuce with a metal knife, use the shredded leaves right away.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.