Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to Keep Lettuce Fresh

Last year while visiting Mom on her birthday, we were gabbing a thousand miles an hour -- as usual during our brief and infrequent visits – when Mom imparted a little gem about how to keep lettuce fresh.  We’d both been complaining that lettuce wilted or turned mushy with any of the other methods we had tried.  It was a month or so after I'd returned home that I recalled the conversation and tried it.  The results are so spectacular, I wanted to share the method here...especially now that’s it’s finally salad season!

The method is simple, if a little bit space consuming.  The reason is, the lettuce is kept, inverted, in a bowl of fresh water and, when covered with a bag, stored on a taller shelf in the fridge.  Place the head of lettuce in the container, root end up, with the bag extending over it and the outside of the bowl and then tied loosely at its base.  The water (filtered, preferably) should be kept shallow, only the tips of the leaves immersed, and then changed at least every two to three days.  The greengrocer who advised my mother on this method said it works best for leaf but not head lettuces.

I have no idea how long lettuce might possibly keep using this process, but I can attest that it lasts several weeks in our old (read:  not "climate-controlled") fridge, remaining crisp and delicious until the very last leaf is consumed.  Now, instead of avoiding the purchase of lettuce, we always have some on hand.  Ultimately, this one small change has had a significant -- and healthy -- impact on our diet.

If you doubt the “crisp” descriptive, then check out the following video – I bought the lettuce on June 2, 2013, (the receipt appears at right.)  Hubby’s been on the road, and I’ve frequently been eating alone, so this head of “green leaf lettuce” – is there any other colour? – is only half-consumed.  Yet listen to that snap and crunch!

Clearly, I’m never too old to learn something new from my mother, my original inspiration on how to ‘Thrive On Thrift.’  Thanks Mom!  J