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Keep Summer Salad Fresh for Longer

Keep Summer Salad Fresh for Longer

As part of our #StretchOutAndSave campaign, we’re sharing tips this month on how to keep popular summer foods fresh for longer. First up, we turn our attention to lettuce…

Research from the EPA shows the average Irish family could save €700 per year by reducing their food waste – and vegetables, fruit and salad are some of the foods most commonly thrown out in the home.

Salads are a summer staple, but how can we cut back on salad waste? One solution is to focus on making lettuce leaves last longer.

When you’re purchasing salad ingredients, remember a whole head of lettuce will stay fresh longer than a bag of leaves – especially hardier lettuce types, such as cos, endive or little gem.

Salad Storage Tips

Lettuce needs moisture (i.e. humidity) and air circulation to stay crisp and fresh for as long as possible. So avoid storing your lettuce in a plastic bag or crisper drawer in the fridge and, instead, try one of these tips to maximise freshness:

For ready-to-eat salad leaves:

  • Trim off the stem of the lettuce and wash the leaves in cold water.
  • Spin the leaves dry in batches in a salad spinner until they are slightly damp.
  • Take out the basket of the salad spinner (or use a large colander) and cover the lettuce leaves with damp paper towels.
  • Keep the basket with the lettuce leaves on a plate or tray (to catch any drainage) in the fridge until ready to use. And this works for bagged salad too.

If you choose to keep your lettuce head whole:

  • Put a little water (about half an inch) in the bottom of a container (e.g. a wide vase).
  • Trim a little off the root of the head of lettuce and place it in the container keeping the leaves up and the root touching the water.
  • Loosely tent a plastic bag around the lettuce head and refrigerate.

By following these tips, you can keep your lettuce fresh for between three and five days.

Reviving Wilted Leaves

However, no matter how good our intentions, we’ve all had the experience of finding wilted leaves in a salad bag at the back of the fridge – or discovering a head of lettuce that has lost its lust for life. Often, the wilting is due to dehydration and can be solved by putting the lettuce leaves in iced water for 20 minutes.

For more handy tips on how to store your food to maximise freshness, check out our A-Z of Foods. And make sure to follow the #StretchOutAndSave campaign on social media over the coming weeks.

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