Enjoy fresh lettuce for longer - the best way to store lettuce

Lettuce is tastiest when it's crisp, chilled and fresh. We don't always need a whole head of lettuce or a whole bag, sometimes we just want one leaf to put on a sandwich, so what’s the best way to store lettuce so it stays crunchy and fresh? Shelf life can differ according to the different types of lettuce, but with a few tricks, you can keep whole lettuce or chopped lettuce fresher for longer.

Compact vs frilly

In general, a compact head lettuce, like Iceberg or Cos, keeps longer than a loose-leaf or frilly lettuce. This is because the head is more open and can lose moisture faster which can make the leaves go limp. Iceberg, Cos or traditional butterhead lettuce are densely compacted so these types are better if you want to store them for a length of time in your fridge. A fancy or lettuce, such as coral, oak or frilly lettuce won’t keep as well, so it’s best to use these quickly – which isn’t hard when you use a lettuce as the base of a delicious salad!

Go for a head of lettuce

Think of a lettuce as a plant that’s been harvested. If you treat the head of lettuce like you would a plant, it will keep fresher for longer. For example, you wouldn’t cut a plant through the middle, rather you’d pluck off the outer leaves, causing the least damage. If you’re not using the whole lettuce up at once, pluck off the outer leaves as you need them.

Here’s a tip: You can also keep ‘feeding’ the plant by slicing a small piece off the bottom so that the cut remains fresh. Set this on a saucer with water and place it in the fridge. By freshening the water each day, the head of lettuce will keep longer. Too much hassle? Then place the lettuce in a plastic bag and store it in the vegetable draw.

Breeders are selecting varieties with smaller leaves that make it easier to prepare lettuce too. Salanova® is a good example. With just one cut a Salanova lettuce falls apart into numerous small, ready-to-eat leaves! In fact many of the ready-to-eat salad leaf growers use these varieties to create wonderful fresh salad mixes.

Hydroponic lettuce with the roots attached

Keeping in mind that lettuce is a plant, then it stands to reason that lettuce is also available for sale with its roots attached. These hydroponically grown lettuces are sold with the roots on and is chock full of nutrients, so the lettuce stays fresher and crisper after harvesting. You can keep the lettuce in the fridge, but it also looks great on the kitchen counter! Keep the lettuce watered by sitting it in a glass, with water covering the roots. 

Rather a bag of salad leaves ready-to-eat
We all choose convenience at times and washed and chopped pre-packaged lettuce is a great option to make quick and fresh salads. To maintain their freshness, shake the lettuce out of the bag on to a clean tea towel. Carefully roll this up, secure the ends with elastic bands and place in the fridge. This enables the lettuce to breathe and the tea towel absorbs the extra moisture. You can also put the lettuce in a bowl and place a couple of sheets of kitchen paper on top. . The kitchen paper absorbs the moisture and keeps your lettuce leaves fresher. 

Check here for tasty recipes to use up your leftover lettuce.


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