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Sep 25, 2001 12:49 AM

Lettuce Pray

  • m

Rumor has it you can wrap lettuce in paper towels (to protect frostburn), and then freeze it. Is this true? The concept of freezing fresh produce is foreign to me, but the heads were SO cheap at the supermarket today that I bought 6 on impulse.

I will barely make it through 1 (maybe 2) before they've all wilted. How can I preserve them?

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  1. b
    Brandon Nelson


    You know this is the one vegetable you never see preserved (frozen at least) commercialy. I have read that you can't freeze lettuce. Since it's always readily available it never occured to me to try. I can't help, but please post your results. I'm curious.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Brandon Nelson

      My experience...lettuce does not take well to the freezer. Trying to get a Caesar salad to the table quickly, I thought I'd speed up the crisping/chilling process. After rinsing and salad-spinning a head of romaine, it was wrapped and stuck briefly in the freezer. You know the story... I forgot about it and it came out frozen--stiff and icy and it thawed to a mushy mass.

      1. re: berkleybabe

        BB, my experience is the same as yours. You can, however, cool and crisp lettuce by placing moist paper towels over the salad and placing it in the fridge. I have had great luck preserving salad greens for weeks using the vegetable storage bags (mfr. Glad?) and a fridge temp of about 36-38F.

        1. re: Greg Spence
          christy tanner

          A technique that works well for me is to wash & spin the lettuce right after bringing it home. Then I put it in a plastic tupperware-type container & it lasts for about a week.

          1. re: christy tanner

            (1) I get too much involuntarily frozen lettuce in my fridge - not a recommended lettuce treatment.

            (2) I agree with washing and spindrying the lettuce - ideally it should stay right in the spinner, with a little water in the bottom, which seems to be a perfect environment for a few days - once however, I left it in my basement fridge for - lets just say too long - and when I went back for it it had become a pool of green algae - not rotton leave, sweet smelling algae - weird.

            (3) chopped lettuce is very good in fried rice - going in at the same time as the bean sprouts - retains a little crunch. Also, lettuces are good braised with peas, and a little broth, butter and parsley or other herb.

          2. re: Greg Spence

            I saw a commercial last night for the first time about a Glad "Fresh Protect" bag (see link) that compared a head of lettuce "left in it's original produce bag" and one in the new Fresh Protect bag for 32 (yes, thirty-two) days. Needless to say, the original bag lettuce was rotten and nasty while the fresh protect lettuce looked great. The site says the bags will keep lettuce for 10 days. I don't know what "technology" they use to keep it fresh, but I may have to check it out.

            We wash the lettuce, spin dry and put it in a ziploc with a paper towel. It keeps about 7 days, unless it was not fresh to begin with (which seems to be the case from the local Publix occasionally).


      2. Now is your chance to 1: experiment with freezing lettuce; 2: make that pot of lettuce soup you've often read about; 3: braise; 4: experiment with LOTS of different salad dressings.

        1. If it's adequately freezeable, what a relief for a common problem - having some left over no matter how little of it you buy. Please lettuce know what happens.

          1. w
            wendy jackson

            You can't freeze lettuce. This is because lettuce is mostly water, and when you freeze it, the freezing water molecules expand and destroy the cell structure of the leaves. When you thaw it, the water drains out of the damaged leaves and you are left with a limp mess.

            1. A good way to keep lettuce is to wrap it in paper towel and seal it in a plastic bag squeezing out all the air. Place in crisper will keep for a week to ten days unless it is a very wet leaf lettuce.