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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

SUPER EASY TIPS TO KEEP YOUR LETTUCE FRESH LONGER

Super easy tips to keep your lettuce fresh longer
iStockphoto / og-vision
You purchased that yummy looking bag of spring greens salad mix at the grocery, and dutifully toss it in the fridge as soon as you get home.  Several days later, with a fresh crisp salad for lunch on your mind, you open the bag only to find out that half of the salad has already wilted.

HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOU?

Whether you buy your lettuce prewashed in ready to eat bags or pick full bunches straight from the garden, keeping salad greens fresh and crisp can seem daunting. Why?  Lettuce, unlike other produce such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, is very tender.  But keeping your lettuce fresh and crisp longer can not only save you time and money, it can ensure you have healthy food options at your fingertips and help reduce food waste, a major contributor to greenhouse gases.

NEED SOME EASY TO USE TIPS?
  • When buying lettuce or other salad greens, look for and select for the freshest bag or bunch.  Lettuce leaves should consistently be firm and bright, without browning or wilting.  Bagged salad is usually has a 'best by' date that can be used to determine freshness, but be sure to inspect bagged lettuce contents as well for freshness.
  • Once home, lettuce should be placed in the refrigerator as soon as possible, and if possible in a 'crisper' drawer until you are ready to clean it. 
  • To keep lettuce at its peak nutritional value and freshness longer, try storing it either in a container designed to store lettuce (lettuce keeper) or in a produce bag.  Make sure the container or bag will seal securely to minimize risk of contamination by other foods. 
  • After cleaning your lettuce, remove any excess water before placing it in the refrigerator.  A salad spinner works wonders with this, but lettuce can also be easily drained in a colander.
  • Making your own salad blend? Try storing your lettuce varieties in separate containers or bags until ready to mix.  If one type of lettuce appears to be going bad, it won't affect the rest of your greens.
  • Do not store other produce in the same bag as your lettuce.  Different produce can release gases, which may cause lettuce to wilt faster.
  • If you are taking a salad for a lunch, keep foods like salad dressing, meats, cheeses, croutons and nuts separated from the lettuce as these can cause lettuce to wilt rapidly.  If you're a regular salad eater, invest in a salad to go container - it'll easily pay for itself by keeping your salad crisp and delicious.
Hopefully you've found these tips useful.  If so, please share them!  Do you have any tips you'd like to share about keeping your lettuce fresh and crisp?  Please feel free to add to our list - we'd love to hear from you!

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