Simple Tip: How to Keep Lettuce Fresh Longer

posted by Andrea | 07/11/2011

I had big garden at our old house and I grew TONS of lettuce and spinach. It was so delicious and we loved having a wide selection of fresh lettuce all spring, summer, and fall.

However, we had so much lettuce that it often started to go bad before we could eat it all.  So I did a bunch of experimenting and after 2 summers, I figured out an extremely simple and effective way to keep our lettuce fresh longer.

We didn’t have time to put in a huge garden this year, but I’m still using the same technique to keep our store-bought lettuce fresh long after the sell-by date.

 

The trick for me is to separate the lettuce with multiple sheets of paper towel. This prevents excess moisture from making the lettuce soggy and wilted.

 

There is NO right or wrong way to this — simply rip or cut a few sections of paper towel {or you can use clean, thin cloths} and layer them in between the lettuce. I change out the paper towel every few days, or whenever it gets pretty damp.

Also, don’t pack the lettuce in too tightly. You want it to have room to “breathe”.

 

I top off the container with one more sheet of paper towel and then tightly secure the lid. There is no need to keep the lettuce in your produce drawer because it will stay just as fresh on any shelf {this is an added bonus for us as our produce drawer has very limited space!}

That’s it!   SO simple :)

Obviously, you can use any container that you have on hand — I just like this one because it’s really light weight, it’s the exact same size as our paper towel, and it fits perfectly on one of our narrow refrigerator shelves.

And if you’re skeptical, let me just say that the lettuce in these pictures is almost 2 weeks old — which is WAY past the sell-by date — and it’s still as crunchy and fresh as the day I brought it home from the store!

Do you have any simple tips for keeping your produce fresh longer?

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22 comments

  1. Monika

    07/11/2011

    Wow. I hope this will work with the big bags of spinach we buy.

    [Reply]

  2. erin

    07/11/2011

    two weeks old? that’s amazing! we have lettuce go bad after just a few days if we don’t eat it up. thanks so much for sharing!

    [Reply]

  3. Lisa @ I'm an Okie

    07/11/2011

    Love it! thanks for the tips.

    [Reply]

  4. Heart and Haven

    07/11/2011

    Great tip! I’ll have to try this!
    We have been growing lettuce & spinach in our home garden too.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I find that homegrown lettuce lasts MUCH longer than store bought — so hopefully yours will last for weeks and weeks!!

    [Reply]

  5. Megan

    07/11/2011

    Do you buy lettuce heads or the pre-bagged/boxed lettuce?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I usually buy the pre-washed tubs of lettuce {like the tub of lettuce in my pictures} but this method works either way. If you buy heads of lettuce, just wash it and chop it up, then layer it between paper towels.

    [Reply]

  6. Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)

    07/11/2011

    I use the same trick with herbs, whether store bought or homegrown.

    [Reply]

  7. Bonnie K.

    09/18/2011

    I have these containers from Tupperware that let you control the humidity level. They make produce, esp lettuce last for SO much longer! And very handy!!

    [Reply]

  8. Truffles Magazine

    02/20/2012

    Andrea,

    As someone who doesn’t have a backyard for a garden I always purchase my produce at the store, especially lots of spinach. I just tried your tip last week and my spinach is still going strong I see me being able to save a lot of money in the future, normally my spinach lasts 3 days after purchasing before going bad, were on our 9 days!

    Thank-you so much!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — so glad it’s working for you! We have a tub of lettuce in our fridge from 2 weeks ago… and it’s still fresh!

    [Reply]

  9. How to Keep Lettuce fresh Longer « Truffles Magazine

    03/10/2012

    [...] which seem to go bad long before I get to use all of it. So after desperation I tried this tip on Simple Organized Living – I really urge you to go ahead and give this a try plus it costs nothing and you will save $ [...]

  10. Janice

    07/02/2012

    Someone sent me your website a week or so ago and I can’t get enough of it. I immediately subscribed. YOU ARE AMAZING AND SO IS YOUR SITE!!!! The only downside…. I spend more time than I have on your site and don’t get some of the things done that I need to do. I’m not real tech savvy. I posted a comment on your food blog and never received a reply and wonder if it’s because I left the space bar as it was “Don’t subscribe”? For this comment, I selected “Replies to my comments” hoping that will work. Anyways…. I too do this. I am growing a garden this year, but have no lettuce ready for picking yet, but can’t wait to have my own fresh organic veggies again!! When I do buy it, it is the same as what you have pictured. I buy it at Costco and one of the employees there told me of this trick, minus “tucking” them in, as I returned the lettuce as it was not even lasting until the expiration date. I only put the paper toweling on the top and turn the container upside down so that the lettuce “falls” on the top of the container. The difference in it lasting way beyond the expiration date must be due to the fact that you “tuck” them in between, as well, as mine still pretty much only lasts through the expiration date with the toweling and it’s freshness has definitely been compromised. I then take the damp towels, let tem dry and use them for other jobs I have around the house like picking up spills etc., as they were intended to be used :^) I’m going to call Earthbound, or maybe you know, if the plastic container that their Organic salad is packaged in is BPA free? Hope so. It doesn’t make sense to have an organic product that is being packaged in a toxic container. If it isn’t BPA free, I guess I will have to buy even more containers that are and use them for my organic produce I’m growing. Thanks Andrea.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Janice,
    So glad you are enjoying my blog :)

    And yes, I do believe one of the main reasons my lettuce stays fresh for so long is because I wedge paper towels in between the lettuce as well as on top. I find that if the lettuce is tightly packed together, it won’t stay fresh as long as if it has a little “room to breath”!

    Thanks again and good luck with your garden!

    [Reply]

  11. Dorothy

    09/01/2012

    Thanks for your tip on keeping lettuce fresh longer…I’ve played around with different ways but yours is the simplest! Those are the ideas that usually work best.

    [Reply]

  12. annette

    03/07/2013

    I have a large bag of lettuce and I have to wash it., after it is washed does it have to be completely dry before I put it into the bag or is it better in containers

    [Reply]

  13. Maria

    04/02/2013

    Wonderful tip! This is going to save me from so much stress! I hope this will work for other green leafy vegetables too such as kale etc. Again, thanks for sharing all your great ideas.

    [Reply]

  14. Sylvia

    05/18/2013

    Would you do anything different for a hydroponic lettuce (store bought) that still has the roots on? Or do you think I could keep it in water?
    Kind regards
    Sylvia x

    [Reply]

  15. Karen D

    05/18/2013

    I TRIED THIS and IT WORKS EXCELLANT– the first time I bought romaine and it lasted the 2 of us 3 weeks, still fresh crisp and then I bought head lettuce and we are now on week 2 1/2 and just as fresh as when we bought it– with head lettuce I have changed paper towels couple more times than the other but hey it works and i shared it I am impressed— THANK YOU for sharing with us

    [Reply]

  16. Erin

    06/29/2013

    Suggestions for someone who does not use paper towels? Will a regular kitchen towel work?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I would think so — maybe try to find a really thin towel.

    [Reply]

  17. Mike

    03/01/2014

    I got u all beat. I got a tub of kratky hydroponic lettuce growing in each of my house’s window sills. My lettuce stays fresh for MONTHS without wasting money on all those paper towels and refrigerator electricity you guys are using. $5 for a box of vigoro/miracle gro, a few initial starter seeds, and you are set for life!

    [Reply]

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