Growing lettuce in your garden is definitely going to be a good idea. Not only is lettuce a delicious food to eat, but it’s also something that can provide you with many nutrients.
Being able to grow your own lettuce that you can harvest when the time is right will be so rewarding. That being said, you can’t just grab lettuce from the garden and start chowing down right away.
If you don’t wash your lettuce properly, then you could risk being exposed to harmful bacteria. Thankfully, it isn’t that hard to get the lettuce clean when you know what you’re doing.
Keep reading to learn how to clean lettuce from the garden the right way. You’ll also get important tips about storing lettuce in the likely scenario that you won’t be able to eat an entire head of lettuce.
Harvest the Lettuce
Start this process by harvesting the lettuce properly. You’re going to want to harvest heads of lettuce once they have reached their full size.
You do this by cutting the head off the plant. The head should be level with the soil.
Generally, it’s going to be best to harvest heads of lettuce in the morning. Doing this before the leaves have been exposed to the sun is recommended.
Cut the Lettuce Core Out Before Washing
Before you take the time to wash the head of lettuce, you’re actually going to need to cut the lettuce core out. To do this, you’re first going to want to cut the head of lettuce in half.
There is a hard stem core in the head of lettuce that you’ll want to remove. You should also take the time to trim away damaged or soft leaves.
How to Wash Lettuce
Now it’s finally time to start washing the lettuce. You’re going to need to fill a basin with lukewarm water to get this done easily.
If you don’t wish to use your sink, then you could also fill a bowl with lukewarm water. The bowl just needs to be big enough for the head of lettuce so that you can clean it.
Go ahead and submerge the lettuce leaves in the water and rustle them around in the water for a while. Do this for a little over 30 seconds and drain and rinse the basin or bowl.
Once the basin or bowl is clean, you’re going to want to fill things back up with cold water. Now you’re going to wash the lettuce for the second time using the cold water.
You rinse the lettuce very thoroughly with cold water to make sure that there aren’t any dirt particles sticking around. If you’re thorough, then the lettuce should be totally clean at this point.
Drain and Dry
Place the head of lettuce in the colander and then drain it for between 5 and 10 minutes. Grab a paper towel and start patting the lettuce to dry it off.
This should allow you to get rid of the remaining water and the lettuce will be totally dry. Just try to ensure that you get the lettuce dry without being too rough with it.
How Should You Store the Lettuce?
When it comes time to store the lettuce, you’re going to want to keep it in a plastic bag. Ensure that the lettuce is completely dry before you place it in the plastic bag.
You should be able to keep the lettuce in the plastic bag while leaving it open. Place the lettuce in the crisper section of your refrigerator.
So long as the crisper is set to a temperature that is close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re going to be able to count on the lettuce staying good for about one week. You will need to be careful about what you’re storing alongside the lettuce, though.
For example, if you store lettuce near apples or bananas, the lettuce will go bad faster. This is because fruits such as apples and bananas give off ethylene gas which is a natural ripening agent.
If you’re noticing that the leaves of the lettuce are turning brown faster than they should, then this might be because you have it too close to certain types of fruit. If you store it away from fruit and you keep it in the crisper, it’ll be able to stay fresh for a little while.
Just remember that lettuce doesn’t remain fresh forever. It’s best to try to eat it up before a week has passed or else the head of lettuce will go to waste.
Can You Freeze Lettuce?
If you’re worried about whether you will be able to use the head of lettuce before it goes bad, then you might think about freezing it. Should you try to freeze lettuce, though?
Not if you plan on enjoying a delicious salad. Lettuce can be frozen if you’re planning to use it as an ingredient in other cooking, but there are some caveats to that.
Some types of lettuce can tolerate being frozen, but other types will taste terrible if you try to freeze them and then thaw them. Freezing breaks down the cellular structure of lettuce and most lettuce will wind up being slimy and weird after it has been frozen.
Depending on the type of lettuce that you’re growing, it might be impossible for you to get good results. Generally, it’s not wise to freeze lettuce since it isn’t all that beneficial.
Knowing how to wash garden lettuce the right way will really help you out. You want to ensure that you get things right so that you can enjoy lettuce without having to worry about being exposed to bacteria.
Be sure to be as thorough as you can when washing the lettuce. You also have to take the time to drain the lettuce and dry it properly.
Lettuce should be stored in a plastic bag and then placed inside the crisper portion of your refrigerator. Keep the lettuce away from fruits that emit ethylene gas so that the lettuce doesn’t go bad faster than it should.
Freezing lettuce generally isn’t a good idea either since it makes it taste horrible in most instances. You should have a good idea of what your options are now and you’ll be able to make decisions accordingly.