Lettuce is a sort of greens that fits any salad turning it fresh and juicy. Since this is a very watery green, people often wonder: can you freeze lettuce to make it last longer?
If you have ever asked yourself what would happen to lettuce in the freezer but you never tried it yourself, this article will be right for you.
Lettuce storage tips and nuances, as well as helpful advice – everything can be found here!
Freezing Lettuce. Yes Or No?
Normally, when we buy a bunch of fresh lettuce, we refrigerate it until it will go to the salad. And if it is more or less clear how to deal with this sort of greens when refrigerating it, freezing may turn to be quite a challenging task for many of us.
The first thing that must be taken into account when it comes to exposing lettuce to the influence of the low temperature is that this kind of greens is very watery and, besides, it is very sensitive to the exposure of the frost.
If you decide to freeze some lettuce and just toss it into the freezing camera of the fridge, in the end, you will get a mashy substance that is impossible to use almost anywhere.
Why would it happen?
As you probably know, being in the freezer under the impact of the frost, vegetables, fruits, and any other foodstuff all become somewhat dehydrated over time. Especially when being improperly sealed or packed.
As for the lettuce, the freezing process leads to the ice crystals formation in the cells of the green. Those ice crystals tend to break the walls of the its cells and if in case of the more durable vegetables and beans, the changes will not be that significant and visible due to the high content of starch and low content of water in them, with the lettuce it will not work.
The gentle and fragile structure of this greenery, as well as the high content of water, will make it look like a slimy messy thing if it happens to end up in the freezing camera.
This is the major reason why it is not the best idea to freeze salad.
However, the decision can be found!
The only way how to freeze lettuce without ruining it is to choose more durable sorts of salad with the thick leaves since they contain less water compared to their soft-leafed counterparts.
Can You Freeze Other Kinds Of Salad?
OK, so now we have figured out what sorts of salad can survive the freezer more or less. But what about all the other kinds of this healthy and juicy greenery?
Can you freeze romaine lettuce?
Preserving romaine leaf salad is absolutely fine since this sort of salad is somewhat more durable compared to its supermarket counterpart. Romaine lettuce has more thick leaves that contain less water, that is why it will stand the frost easier.
Can you freeze iceberg lettuce?
We would not advise you to mess with this one, to be honest. Crisphead salad, even though it reminds cole so much, is far less durable. Besides, its water amount is pretty high which means that when being frozen, it will turn into a slimy green mess that no one will want to use.
One more tip for you in addition. If you decide to freeze some salad, look for the Boston lettuce (also called bib or Butterhead lettuce). Just like the romaine salad, this one is quite a frost-resistant green and it can be mixed well with the romaine sort of salad perfectly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who would ever think that freezing simple salad can turn into such a tricky thing?! However, the truth is that this greenery is quite demanding when it comes to extending its lifespan.
Since you already know the basic requirements needed for the proper salad storage, check out some more information that can be useful for you next time.
- Can you freeze the salad mix?
It seems so tempting to buy a pack of salad mixture and toss it to the freezing camera to save for the nearest future use!
However, we have to disappoint you: most of the salad mixes are not meant for freezing!
The only exception is the mix of romaine lettuce and Boston lettuce also known as Butterhead salad.
Those two sorts of lettuce are more durable and can survive in the freezer.
- Can you freeze shredded lettuce?
Shredded salad can only be good in case of freezing lettuce for smoothies. Since lettuce won’t look nice and appetizing after thawing, it can only be used either for cooking or for making smoothies but not for consuming it fresh.
- Can you freeze lettuce for salads?
If it is not the bib lettuce or romaine lettuce, it will most likely not survive the time spent in the freezing camera. Anyway, most sorts of salad don’t look appetizing (and they are not, in fact, consumable) after they have been defrosted.
- Can you freeze bagged lettuce?
Lettuce that is sold already packed in bags can be frozen but only if certain precautious measures will be taken.
First of all, take it out of the bag, wash, dry to leave no water on the leaves and between them and toss into a zipper freezer-friendly bag with one or two paper towels. Freeze the dried lettuce with the paper towels only as they soak the moisture and prevent the plant from freezer burn and spoilage.
Replace the towels every day and it will extend the salad’s life for something like a week more.
How to make lettuce last longer?
Since lettuce is not the best fit for the freezer, is there a way to preserve it and keep fresh longer?
Well, the best you can do is to keep it washed and absolutely dry, with all the damaged leaves removed, being wrapped in a paper towel and put in a zip bag or tank.
Keep it in the crisp drawer only and change the towel daily to prevent it from rotting.\Like that, the plant will remain edible for seven to ten days more.
Lettuce Recipes: Far Beyond the Salad
When we think of lettuce, what do we usually imagine? Right! A bowl of fresh green salad with oil and herbs. But have you ever thought of using this greenery in another way?
Lettuce leaves, in fact, pair perfectly with different food that makes this leafy green a true multipurpose foodstuff!
Today we will share with you very easy recipes to taste that won’t take a long time and much effort.
So what is that new food?
1. Classical Ceasar salad
Fresh lettuce leaves will be just fine to pair with eggs and anchovies. Prepare it right before serving and…no, we won’t say “try not to leave it” since it is so hard to stop eating this dish! Make the salad right before eating it to keep the texture crisp and fresh.
2. Seared steak lettuce cups
Crispy lettuce leaves can become very handy eatable cups for a filling made of juicy steak slices, beans, crushed nuts, and sauce. This easy to make food is a perfect idea for a quick and healthy snack!
3. Steakhouse salad
Another type of food that doesn’t require long preparation time and complicated ingredients. Only fresh lettuce leaves, marinated sliced steak, radish, peas, and cucumbers dressed with your favorite sauce and sprinkled with crushed peanuts.
Don’t dress the salad until serving it to not ruin the texture!
4. Grilled salad
Surprisingly, but it’s a fact: lettuce grills perfectly well! This is one of the simplest recipes to use whenever you’re hungry and out of time to cook since it only needs lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and pita. The mild taste of this dish can be enriched by any sauce or dressing, besides, fried pita will add some crispness, too.
5. Pickled veggie cups
Do you have some pickled vegetables left and a bunch of fresh salad in addition? Then the tasty snack is almost ready! Simply cut the pickles, blend them with any dip of your choice, add fresh herbs or veggies, and serve!
As you see, lettuce can go far beyond a simple veggie mix with olive as a dressing! Be playful and creative, and invent your own delicious variants of food using this crispy and fresh green!
How to Use Lettuce That’s Going Bad
Everyone knows that leaf salad can’t last for months when kept in the fridge. However, we still become disappointed when we see almost a whole bunch of lettuce that’s about to turn bad.
It can happen because of different reasons, e.g. we could store the greenery wrongly, or the salad was initially not quite fresh and good, or, maybe, there was not enough of excess air inside the package which ruined the sensitive green.
No matter what the reason was, we usually decide to remove the damaged greenery and toss it.
Stop! Unless the salad is completely rotten, slimy, and stinky, it is still possible to save it! If the lettuce is just a bit dull and lost crispness a bit, it’s still too long until the tragedy happens.
We can suggest several good ways of what to do with such a salad.
1. Turn it into a smoothie
Since leaf salad has a mild and fresh taste, it will fit any juice or smoothie well. It is possible to find lots of recipes that call for lettuce, just find those that appeal to you most of all.
2. Make a sautee or a stir fry
If you have some excess salad, don’t wait until it goes bad. Preparing those simple side dishes will both give some room in your fridge and provide you with delicious food.
3. Make a slaw
If you noticed slightly bad lettuce, remove it from the fridge, wash, separate the bad leaves, and use the good ones for the slaw.
4. Make a soup
Leaf salad goes perfectly with spices and herbs in a creamy soup. Besides, you can store it refrigerated for several days more. Only remember to separate the bad leaves before adding the salad leaves to the blender!
5. Prepare salad wraps
A quick snack for the family or when guests suddenly arrive. Grab anything you can find in the fridge and stuff the lettuce leaves, add some sauce or dressing – and the delicious rolls can be served!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long can leaf salad stay at room temperature?
Since the lack of fresh air and enough moisture makes this greenery fade very fast, we don’t recommend leaving lettuce or store it unchilled. When left at such conditions, the salad will last for only two hours, and then it will start spoiling slowly.
2. How much time does refrigerated leaf salad last?
If correctly preserved, loose lettuce leaves will stay crispy for seven to ten days if you place them to the fridge.
3. How long will frozen lettuce last?
When correctly prepared and sealed, the salad will stay consumable for nearly six months.
4. What’s the best place to keep the leaf salad fresh?
At home, the optimal place for this greenery is the fridge if you’re planning to make use of it fast.