The Effortless Storage Hack To Keep Salad Lettuce At Its A-Game

A slimy, wilted, and brown mess is not what you see when trying to use lettuce for your lunchtime salad. After all, "wilted salads" is an anagram for "ill sad wasted." But that can become a reality faster than you can say, "My ill salad is a sad waste." According to Eat By Date, lettuce can stay fresh for anywhere from three to five or seven to 10 days, depending on the type of lettuce it is.

Generally, whole heads of lettuce tend to have a longer shelf life than chopped or lose ones. But regardless of the variety, lettuce won't stay fresh if it isn't washed and stored properly. Heads of lettuce are best when stored whole (via Food Network), and unless you're about to use them, you should hold off on washing them. Loose leaves of lettuce, on the other hand, should be checked for damage, washed, and then stored.

An important thing to keep in mind is that, unlike some food items that need to be stored dry in an airtight container, lettuce should be moist and exposed to moving air. Luckily, there's a storage option that will provide both of those things.

A salad spinner can do the trick

The Kitchn tested three ways of storing lettuce. While all methods worked fine for about 10 days, some approaches kept the lettuce fresh for even longer. Lettuce wrapped in paper towels and stored in plastic bags looked the worst. The best way to store lettuce was to put it in a container lined with paper towels. But you could also use a salad spinner, which comes with built-in holes that allow air in (via Delish).

After using the salad spinner to get rid of excess water, it's a perfectly acceptable idea to store the greens in the same spinner, says Delish. But there's more to it. You can put paper towels on a plate, which the salad spinner can sit on. Damp paper towels should go on top. After some days pass, you should moisten the top-side paper towels again, and keep doing that to prevent them from drying out. The lettuce should be fresh for at least 10 days. And if you don't have a salad spinner, you can keep the lettuce in a colander that's been placed in a mixing bowl.