Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 11, 2013 07:00 PM

Do you tear your lettuce into pieces or cut them up with a knife when making a salad ?

I usually tear into pieces. Or sometimes cut them. I really see no difference. What's your preference ?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The only reason not to use a knife is that it will cause the edges of the lettuce to get that rusty-brown color if the salad isn't consumed right away. It's more of a problem if you return the unused portion of a head that has been sliced to the fridge. Other than that, it's a matter of preference. Some people prefer the more natural appearance of torn pieces, others like the long shreds of sliced lettuce.

    6 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Is it true that the lettuce will turn a rusty brown color around the edges. Last night I picked some basil. I decided to experiment. Half I cut with a knife and the other half I tore into pieces.After a hour no difference.

      1. re: emglow101

        My understanding is that depends on your knife. If you have a carbon steel knife, then it will cause browning at the cut surface. If you have a dull knife, then it may also cause browning. If you have a sharp and stainless steel knife, then probably no difference.

      2. re: greygarious

        I cut my lettuce with a knife, put it in the fridge in a sealed container and it keeps until it's used up (sometimes as much as a week) without browned edges.

        1. re: Jeri L

          What kind of lettuce, and knife, are you using? Iceberg lettuce is infamous for turning brown if cut with a metal knife.

          1. re: greygarious

            Whatever comes in my organic produce box. Romaine, leaf, butter. Not generally iceberg, I'll grant you that, but on the rare occasions I've used iceberg (mostly for tacos) I don't recall a problem. I use a plain ordinary kitchen knife. I'd always heard "tear, don't cut", but a number of years ago I thought, "Bagged salad is cut. It's the air, not the method of cutting." Maybe I just have the touch.

            1. re: Jeri L

              Bagged salad is sometimes packaged in a mixture of gases (not just plain air) to delay browning and spoiling.

      3. Depends on the lettuce. I tear iceberg, and I cut romaine.

        1. a small amount of servings (2-6) that I'm prepping ahead - torn.

          a large amount (10-20, think a camping trip/cookout) that's expected to be consumed very soon - chopped.

          other factors come into play that are too numerous to list; type of lettuce, type of salad, is my Grandmother (AKA Herb Caen's female alter-ego) whispering in my ear? etc.

          1 Reply
          1. Years ago "they" whoever "they" were (I've slept since then) said that you should tear rather than cut because it wilted the lettuce. So for several years I tore it in pieces. Then went back to cutting with a knife. I just like the crispness of the lettuce against the knife blade. I don't know how else to describe it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: miss_belle

              Yep - the crispness reminds me of juicy - I know exactly how you feel!

              1. re: miss_belle

                Agree - cutting lettuce is very satisfying somehow. It slices straight and easily, makes a delicious crispy sound, and you really can't eff it up.

              2. Chop. Chop, chop, chop. I pick up a huge package at Costco and try and chop up enough for a few day's worth. I keep it in sealed plastic containers in the frig. I've never had any turn brown. It's the romaine hearts.