How To Keep Lettuce and Other Greens Fresh Longer
Here’s a quick little tip for how to keep your lettuce, romaine, kale, or other greens fresh longer – and it’s something I’ve been doing for over 20 years!
Back when I was first learning about keeping a home, I read a hint in my local newspaper. It was submitted by a cute elderly lady who said she wanted to share that keeping a piece of paper towel in with your lettuce would keep it fresh longer and she just wanted everybody to know because it was working so well for her. I still remember it was a sweet little article and it convinced me that maybe I should give it a try.
And the rest is history.
It did indeed work well and I’ve been sticking a piece of paper towel in with my lettuce ever since.
How I Started Keeping My Lettuce Fresh
Together with the piece of paper towel, I’ve always kept my lettuce in my old school handy-dandy Tupperware lettuce keeper. Yes, back in the day I went to SO many Tupperware parties. I went to Tupperware parties given by my girlfriends, and my neighbors, and my co-workers, and always felt compelled to buy something. And I’ve still got a few of those Tupperware pieces around!
And I’ve used the lettuce keeper for years and years. I would always put a folded piece of paper towel in the bottom of the container and then put the head of lettuce on top and put the cover on. This method has always worked really well for me and I believe it really does keep lettuce fresh longer. A head of iceberg lettuce would always stay fresh for me for many, many weeks.
Changing With The Times
Lately though, I’ve wanted to make a few changes to my method for two reasons. Instead of plain old iceberg lettuce, I now prefer a combo of romaine and kale as they have more nutritional benefits than iceberg lettuce. And romaine and kale don’t really fit in my vintage lettuce keeper from the good old days. I’ve also been trying to eat salads more often and found I’m much more likely to do that if I tear the greens up ahead of time so when it’s time to make the salads for dinner, it doesn’t feel like such a big task.
So I’ve switched to using a couple of large rectangular plastic containers from the dollar store – but still with my paper towels – and it’s working great!
First, I lay a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the storage container.
Then I rip up some of my romaine or kale until I have a first layer in the container. Then I put another piece of paper towel, and then another layer of my torn greens. Sometimes I tear the middle piece of toweling into two or three smaller pieces so I can kind of nestle it into the torn up greens.
Then I finish with one more piece of paper towel on the top and close up my container. So I always have one piece of paper towel underneath the torn greens, one piece of paper towel in the middle, and a piece of paper towel on top over everything.
I should mention too that I always buy the pick-a-size type of paper towels where you can tear off a half-size piece of toweling. These smaller sized pieces are what’s shown in these photos and they fit perfectly into my containers (that came from Dollar Tree).
Give It A Try!
If you too like to make your own salads at home – or maybe you wish you did but never seem to do it – I encourage you to give this method a try.
Just find an appropriate size container to keep your leafy greens in, and then use the trick of adding a few pieces of paper toweling in there to keep things fresh longer. You don’t necessarily have to tear up your greens ahead of time, but it does make salad preparation go faster when you’re getting a meal ready.
We usually finish our torn up romaine and kale in the course of a week or two and it stays fresh throughout that time even though it has been torn up. The paper toweling will get more damp as the days go by, which I guess is the reason why this works.
Have you ever tried this method? Or do you have a vintage Tupperware story too? Feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email ([email protected]) I love to hear your stories!
I’m wondering if paper toweling is the best option. How about used cotton napkins? These are 4 dangerous chemicals in toweling. All the chemicals in used items would be gone. Just fold the napkins however needed to get them into the container. Wash when done and you have not contributed to the landfill problem.
Love your posts! I too have found a great way to keep greens fresh. I take those plastic take out containers from the olive bar in the grocery store and drill small holes in them, all over on the top and bottom. Lettuce keeps for like 2 weeks even in my root cellar.
That’s an interesting strategy. Perhaps the holes help keep moisture from accumulating, which in turns keeps the lettuce from getting too soggy and wilted.
Great comments as always, Bev! I wanted to share how I keep celery fresh for longer.
First- do not wash until you are ready to use it.
1. Remove it from the plastic sleeve, wrap it entirely in slightly moist paper toweling,
2. Wrap the entire head in aluminum foil and place back in the plastic sleeve.
3. Press the air out of the sleeve and secure end with a twist tie.
I am able to keep the celery for at least a month using this method.
Hope this is helpful.
Thanks for that info Lesley and I will give that a try. It seems like I often throw out the last few stalks of celery that have wilted before I can use them up.
Thanks for the idea . One question do you need to change the paper towel throughout the week as it absorbs moisture.?
Sometimes I do, but you don’t necessarily have to. If I take out the paper towel and it feels quite limp with moisture, then I often change it.
Do you wash the greens before you put them in the storage box?
Now that I have a salad spinner, yes, I try to always wash the greens before I put them in the container with the paper toweling. The salad spinner has been very helpful in getting the excess water off before storage.
I also have been doing this for years my grandma and mom did this so I continue
To do it too it works and saves money on
Your salads last much longer.
Yes, once you start doing this and find out it works, you usually keep doing it for years!
I’ve done that for years too!! Works great! Another tip, my Dad would make my sandwiches for school and he’d always wrap my sandwich in a paper towel. Never a soggy sandwich!!! Thanks for helping me to remember something good!
I’ll have to remember that sandwich trick Ree! Thanks for sharing your memory 🙂
I use the method you showed, but a bit differently. I use a long dish towel and after washing the (romaine, kale) lettuce and somewhat drying it for a bit in a colander I lay the towel on the table and lay the lettuce in a single layer, then roll the towel. Then place it in a plastic bag that is big enough to be able to close the bag completely. Works great, and no paper towels have to be thrown out. You can use paper towels as well, and keep them for cleaning after they dry as well which I have also done. I hate wasting stuff.
Thanks for sharing your method Rebecca! A good reminder that you can use a regular dish towel too if you don’t want to use a disposable item like paper toweling.