This Genius TikTok Salad Hack Will Help Keep Your Lettuce Crisp

If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's not to take trendy social media platforms for granted, whether it's for funky dance moves, skincare tips, or for out-of-the-box cooking hacks.

TikTok's latest viral gift to home cooks everywhere is a quick fix that takes your droopy, wilty salad greens from drab to fab, and all it takes is a bit (okay a lot) of ice water. In her TikTok, Violet Witchel admits she wasn't a fan of salads when she was growing up, but that dislike had to do with texture more than anything else. So she tops and tails a head of romaine lettuce, puts the head into a container full of water, throws a generous amount of ice cubes into it, and then leaves that to soak for between 10 to 15 minutes before retrieving the greens, drying, and slicing.  

There are a few things you can choose to do while waiting; but for Violet, that time is best served making homemade croutons, using the best bread you can find, before tossing everything together for a vibrant, green salad.

Science supports giving salad leaves an ice bath

The pros at Cook's Illustrated says there's science behind this method, which has recently blown up on TikTok. The reason why greens wilt is because they lose water, so bringing them back to life is literally a matter of soaking them in an ice bath, because the water enters through cell openings called the stomata. But instead of ten to 15 minutes, the site recommends the leaves be soaked for about 30 minutes. The Los Angeles Times says the ice bath also works with tired herbs in need of a little pick-me-up. As an added bonus, the ice bath helps get your leaves a bit cleaner, since the soak should also help loosen up whatever dirt might get stuck in green crevices. 

There is one additional suggestion that Cook's Illustrated tried out (so you don't have to), and that's to add two tablespoons of vinegar to the ice water, which is supposed to help the lettuce take in more water. The verdict? Hold the vinegar, but keep the ice bath, because there's no reason to mess with a great thing.