Input needed: Washing and preserving lettuce
A reader named Beth wrote to me with a question about preserving washed lettuce:
I would like to know what you have found to be the best way to wash and dry lettuce that helps it to store the longest. I buy my lettuce right now, and I usually get 1 leaf lettuce and 1 iceburg.
I read from Emilie Barnes that it's great to wash them well, then spin them in a lingerie bag in your washing machine. I have done that, and it does work very well, but my husband thinks it has to be getting germs on the lettuce.
Do you have a tried and true method that will allow the lettuce to safely be refrigerated for several days?
Unfortunately, I don't have any lettuce-tricks to share. When I wash and tear lettuce from the store, it seems to only keep for a day or so in the fridge, before getting brown spots (which Joshua dislikes!) or starting to go bad.
I just rinse my lettuce under running water and then shake over the sink, or sometimes, dry on a dish towel. I personally wouldn't spin it in the washer (even inside a lingerie bag) because I wash some pretty icky things in my washer, and I don't use bleach very often at all.
I have noticed that fresh lettuce from the garden that's been washed lasts much longer in the fridge than the lettuce from the store. But I only have limited availability when it comes to lettuce from the garden. ;)
Also, tearing the lettuce should help it last longer than cutting it with a knife, since using the knife tends to bruise it more. (Although I am guilty of often cutting my lettuce, since I seem to be in a hurry most of the time!) If I do use a knife, I like to use a sharp serrated one.
Help! Does anyone else have any great lettuce storage and preparation tips to share?! :)