How to Keep Lettuce Fresh Longer (Mason Jar Method)
Today’s recipe is less of a recipe and more of a how to or kitchen tip.
Let me set a couple of scenarios for you:
In the first scenario, you open the fridge looking for a mid afternoon snack. You see a lot of vegetables that would need to be cut up before being eaten, which would mean pulling out a knife and cutting board (which you’ll then have to wash later). You know making a salad wouldn’t take you that long, but it feels like making an extra meal in the middle of the day, and there’s piece of leftover dessert sitting on the shelf below those salad makings, which requires no time at all to eat.
In the second scenario, you buy an extra head of lettuce on shopping day, because you have great intentions. You are going to eat more salad, and be a healthier person. And somehow, two weeks later you find a slimy green thing in the back of your fridge and think, “Oh, yeah, I was going to eat that…” Maybe it’s because you overestimated how much lettuce your small family could go through, or because life got crazy and you didn’t eat as many meals at home as you planned on, or just because of the first scenario and it always felt like it would take too much time.
Well, let me suggest a strategy that solves both of the above problems: lettuce in a mason jar. As soon as you get home from the grocery store (okay, let’s be realistic–within a couple days of getting home from the grocery store), cut up all your lettuce.
I prefer to shred my lettuce, with a lengthwise cut down the middle so I don’t have any unreasonably long shreds, but you can cut it any way you like.
Wash and dry your lettuce. If you don’t have a salad spinner, you may find it easier to wash your lettuce before cutting it, but in my opinion, the salad spinner is the way to go. I picked up a second hand salad spinner similar to this one (affiliate link), and despite leaning toward cheap and flimsy, it’s probably my favorite salad spinner I’ve ever used because of it’s simple and straightforward design.
Pack your lettuce into a mason jar. You can pack rather firmly, but don’t push down so hard that you bruise the lettuce, as that may shorten it’s life span even in the mason jar. Seal the jar and refrigerate.
I find that this simple method makes my lettuce last for at least two weeks, and sometimes longer, but with unpredictable results beyond that point (probably depending on how fresh it was to start with).
Some people do whole salads in a mason jar using a similar method. I’ve never tried that myself, but I probably will at some point when I need to put together travel food or a lunch on the go. As I understand it, the general theory is to put heavy veggies on the bottom, then lighter veggies, then lettuce, then top it with a creamy dressing that seals all the air in before putting the lid on. A quick google search for ‘salad in a jar’ should yield plenty of information if you need more details.
By the way, while I’m not doing my typical recipe style review, I can say that this method of storing lettuce is husband approved, as it means my husband just might choose a salad for snack if the work of cutting up is already done. Win.