How long will this lettuce likely last?
June 10, 2012 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm growing an organic garden with a friend this year. This morning, we harvested lots of salad greens and I took a paper bag of them home. They have not been washed, and they are in the paper bag sitting inside my fridge in the crisper drawer. How many days do you think it is likely they will last? Is there anything I can do to keep it fresh longer?
posted by long haired child to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think they'll wilt pretty quickly stored in a paper bag - so maybe a day or two. They need to be well sealed in plastic. Or you could wash them and spin them in a salad spinner and then just keep them in the spinner in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
posted by crunchtopmuffin at 5:47 PM on June 10, 2012

Yeah a day or so as is. You could put them in one of those green produce bags (debbie mayer brand I think). That will give them a few more days.
posted by saradarlin at 6:00 PM on June 10, 2012

I use this towel method with plain tea towels I keep just for this purpose.
posted by peagood at 6:01 PM on June 10, 2012

I really like the towel method. And while I found them fiddly to keep clean and re-use, the green produce storage bag thingies do seem to keep greens greener longer.

But really, you want to cut lettuce to use within 24 hours, if at all possible. Leave it in the ground until you need it.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:11 PM on June 10, 2012

I do a variation of the towel method -- just wrap loosely in a damp paper towel, stick in a half-open ziploc bag, and they keep for quite a while.
posted by yarly at 6:13 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

(I also don't bother to dry on the counter -- just rinse & spin.)
posted by yarly at 6:15 PM on June 10, 2012

What I do:

As soon as I get the greens, I wash out the sink, and fill it with cold water, deep enough to float all the greens. I swish the greens around in the cold water. This allows dirt and sand washed loose from the greens to drop down to the bottom of the sink. This is a good time to pick out bugs and weeds, limp or yellow leaves, etc.

I then put the greens (whole, not cut or torn) into the strainer of my salad spinner, gently shake off some water, put it into the salad spinner and spin away. If there is more than a tablespoon of water in the bottom of the spinner, I pour off the excess, but leave some water in there. I then store the whole salad spinner in the fridge with the lid on.

Greens stay crisp a good solid week or more this way, so IMHO a salad spinner is a great investment if you're going to have a lot of greens from the gardens. I take greens from the spinner as needed and tear them to make salad.

(Tip: as you drain the sink, swirl the water around in a whirlpool, which will sweep up the dirt so it flows down the drain.)
posted by BrashTech at 6:48 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are not doing the whole picking a few leaves so the plant can keep going more but harvesting a whole lettuce, you can pull them up roots and all, rinse the roots and then sit the roots in a glass of water and keep it in your fridge.

If not wash/rinse them. Quickly dry them and keep them in a ziplock bag with some paper towel in and put it all in the veg crisper in the fridge.

My SIL keeps them much like BrashTech does with great success but I'm still on the hunt for a salad spinner I like.
posted by wwax at 9:17 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

My lettuce trick is this: wash well, separate the leaves, and spin dry in a salad spinner. (I have an Oxo salad spinner that I love, but ymmv, obviously.) Spin them a second time, just to be sure. Then lay the leaves out on a paper towel, roll it up, and put it into a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Zip the top until you reach about the last half inch, then slip a straw into the bag, suck out as much air as you can, and quickly zip the rest of the top.

Doing this--and, obviously, repeating the air removal every time I've opened the bag--I've gotten bog-standard supermarket greens (romaine, red leaf, green leaf, boston, bibb, escarole...) to last ten to fourteen days with minimal loss in quality. Last year I did it with some spring mix that I harvested from my garden, and while it didn't last quite as long, it remained good for a little over a week.
posted by MeghanC at 2:29 AM on June 11, 2012

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