Express tests two lettuce storage hacks over 21 days
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Store-bought lettuce can decay very quickly if not kept in the right conditions when you take it home. I put a popular food storage hack to the test to see whether it stopped a head of lettuce from rotting, and the results were surprising.
On January 14, I purchased a pack of large Romaine lettuce heads from Asda for £1.10 and there were two in a pack.
The packaging stated use by date of January 17 – just three days – but by storing it a certain way, I elongated the lettuce’s shelf life for another 17 days.
I took one of the lettuce heads out of the original packaging and rolled it in a piece of tin foil, ensuring all sides were covered.
This particular storage hack is recommended for storing celery and is very successful at keeping celery crisp, with no signs of decay for months.
It has recently been suggested as a good storage hack for keeping lettuce crisp too.
The other lettuce head was left in the original packaging and a food clip was added to the top to ensure no air could get to the lettuce.
Both lettuces were then stored in the middle of the fridge, ensuring they didn’t touch the back of the fridge and freeze.
Lettuce in the original packaging
Day 1 – Bought at the store, taken home, kept in original packaging and placed in the fridge.
Day 4 – This is when the packaging recommended using the lettuce by, but apart from small pockets of moisture inside the packaging, there were no signs of deterioration.
Day 6 – The lettuce leaves were still crisp and fresh, there were no signs of deterioration.
Day 9 – The lettuce was still crisp and fresh, with no signs of deterioration.
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Day 13 – One of the outer leaves was starting to wilt, and the whole lettuce was less firm.
Day 17 – Signs of deterioration.
Day 19 – Small amounts of brown marks had appeared on the spines of the outside leaves.
Day 21 – Small patches of decay on the leaves, with some wet and limp edges.
Day 23 – Outside leaves were starting to wilt, these were removed. Inside leaves were still edible and crisp.
Lettuce wrapped in foil
Day 1 – Bought at the store, taken home and rolled into a piece of tin foil, and placed in the fridge.
Day 4 – This is when the packaging recommended using the lettuce by, but there was no moisture inside the foil and no signs of deterioration.
Day 6 – There were slight signs of deterioration on the top of the leaves, they were a darker shade of green and a little limp.
Day 9 – Slight signs of deterioration.
Day 13 – Overall the lettuce was firmer than the other, but brown marks were appearing on the spines of the outer leaves.
Day 17 – Wet brown patches had appeared, the spines were considerably browner, leaves were limp.
Day 19 – Outer three leaves were brown, soggy and limp. These were removed and thrown away.
Day 21 – The rest of the lettuce started to decay.
Keeping lettuce wrapped in its original packaging was the best storage hack.
Another suggestion is to keep the whole lettuce in a ziplock back with a piece of paper towel to absorb any moisture.
Another storage solution is chopping the lettuce head up and placing it inside an airtight plastic container. But it’s recommended that lettuce stored this way be consumed within a couple of days.
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