Fresh vegetables usually don’t have a long shelf life and they go bad quickly. To maximize the shelf life of your vegetables you should provide proper storage conditions. In most cases it is necessary to refrigerate a vegetable and to store it in airtight containers.
In this article we will talk about lettuce. Lettuce is one of the most popular vegetables due to its high nutritional content and relatively low cost. But, how long lettuce can last and how can we extend its shelf life?
How to store lettuce properly and how to tell if it has gone bad? In this article you will find the answers to these questions. We hope this article will be useful for you.
More about Lettuce
Lettuce is an annual plant that is grown as a leafy vegetable. Sometimes lettuce is also grown for its seeds and stem. It is usually eaten raw as a salad ingredient. It is often used in preparing sandwiches, wraps, stews or soups, but it can also be grilled.
Lettuce is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, but it is low in calories. High content of vitamins A and K is the most important, but lettuce also contains iron and folate. Lettuce has been used in culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. This leafy vegetable has a lot of health benefits for people and it should be a part of our diet.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Lettuce?
The shelf life of lettuce depends on many factors, such as the method of its preparation and the storage method.
Also, the date when lettuce is purchased is very important, but lettuce doesn’t have a sell by date. Like a lot of other fresh vegetables, lettuce doesn’t have a long shelf life even when you store it in the fridge. Approximately, lettuce will last for up to two weeks if kept refrigerated but it is always better to eat it earlier. If kept in the freezer, lettuce leaves can last for up to six months.
How to Store Lettuce Properly?
Proper storage is the most important factor when we talk about the shelf life of lettuce and other vegetables. It is known that all foods last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly.
It is recommended to store lettuce in the fridge immediately after use. You should rinse and dry lettuce before your store it. It is necessary to wash lettuce because it can carry bacteria such as E coli and Salmonella. You should also remove core and the outer leaves that are wilted. Rinse lettuce under running tap water and let the water run out over both sides of lettuce. This way you will keep it crisp and fresh for a longer period of time. You can easily dry lettuce using a salad spinner. You should store lettuce in airtight plastic bags, such as a vegetable bag that is sealed tightly. This way you will keep your lettuce away from moisture and different contaminants. Moisture can cause lettuce to go bad more quickly, so don’t forget to dry it before storing. It is recommended to rinse the lettuce once more before eating and using it in preparing dishes.
Also, it is recommended not to cut lettuce up with a knife because the metal can make lettuce turn brown. You should rip lettuce up with your hands. To extend the shelf life of lettuce you should store it in the freezer. But, you should freeze only one type of lettuce leaves per bag. If you mix different varieties of lettuce it can affect the quality of this vegetable. Also, you should have in mind that lettuce leaves will be much softer when they are defrosted and it is best to use them for soups or stews.
How To Tell if Lettuce Has Gone Bad?
Your senses will help you tell if lettuce has gone bad. If lettuce is bad, it will probably change in color and texture. It will have a moist texture and it will become limp.
Also, spoiled lettuce will have a rotten smell. The green color of lettuce will turn to brown or even black. All these are the clear signs that your lettuce has gone bad. You should discard it because spoiled foods sometimes can cause many health problems.
Also, if lettuce is contaminated it can cause many bacterial, parasitic and viral infections in humans.
As you have seen in this article, lettuce is a leafy vegetable that should be stored in a tightly closed plastic bag. You must keep it away from any moisture, in order to extend its shelf life.
It won’t be hard to notice if your lettuce has gone bad. When lettuce changes in color, texture and smell, you should throw it away immediately.