Say goodbye to soggy salads!

By Sarah Zorn
May 29, 2020
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There's a reason there's a run on canned goods during crisis. No one can bear the thought of precious food spoiling, and going to waste. But inevitably, we find ourselves craving something fresh, like greens. And a bountiful salad begins to sound as crave-worthy as a pot of macaroni and cheese, or a big, juicy steak!

Unfortunately, lettuce seems to go bad almost the second you pull it from the shelf. You can practically watch in real time as a bag of colorful, cheerful mixed salad greens speedily transforms into a wet blob of slimy, brown-tinged mush.

So is there anything that can be done, to prolong the life of your lettuce? The answer is yes, if you follow these salad saving tips:

Start Fresh

After all, there's only so much resuscitation you can offer a bundle of greens, already riddled by rot. Peruse the salad assortment with a critical eye, and only select lettuces that are in peak condition to begin with.

Select Sturdier Greens

Not all greens are created equal. For instance, delicate greens like arugula and baby spinach have limited staying power. So if you're looking for salad that will stand the greatest chance of extended fridge survival, select hearty options such as radicchio or kale.

Get a Head Instead

To be frank, lettuce leaves that have been pre-plucked and mixed have a foot in the grave already. So if you want to translate a single grocery trip into a couple of weeks' worth of salads, start with whole heads of romaine, iceberg, endive, and more.

Towel Off

Largely agreed upon as the most essential salad saving trick, simply slip a piece of paper towel in with your bag of greens, which will wick away moisture, and prevent spoilage. That said, a soggy towel seriously hampers efficiency — make sure to check it often, and replace it if it gets too damp.

Go for a Spin

In the same vein as the above tip, you'll increase your green's life expectancy, if you eliminate moisture in the first place. So when you get them home, remove from the packaging and give greens a whirl in the salad spinner (before wrapping them in a paper towel in the fridge, of course).

Improve Your Packaging

You know how gourmet greens sometimes get sold in a sturdy clamshell, instead of a flimsy plastic bag? You don't need to purchase pricey roughage in order to afford your lettuce the same posh protection. Just raid your Tupperware drawer for an airtight plastic storage container, line it with paper towels, and loosely nestle your salad assortment inside, topped with another paper towel.

Retrofit Your Fridge

Your fridge will be doing most of the heavy lifting here, so make sure you've set it up for success. Check your settings, and ensure the temperature is dialed in below 41 degrees, the FDA guideline for food storage.

Utilize Your Crisper

Those bottom drawers are intended for produce for a reason; they're designed to release the gas and moisture that accelerates spoilage. And as with the rest of the fridge, you'll want to check the settings — select high humidity, to allow destructive ethylene to escape.

Banish Wilted Leaves

You know the saying; one bad apple spoils the bunch? The same is true with slimy lettuce leaves. So check your greens regularly, and promptly remove all the brown, wilted baddies.

Follow the 7 Day Rule

Even with peak TLC, most greens aren't built to make it through the week. So don't worry about performing miracles past this point. It's time to use it or lose it, which means treating yourself to a big, beautiful salad.

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