Limp Lettuce

Dear Home Ec 101,

As much as I like salad, I hate making it. It was my job growing up – I despised it then and I despise it now. I don’t mind cutting up the tomato, bell pepper, and such. It’s washing the lettuce that does me in. Upon marriage, my salad-making life got somewhat better when I discovered salad spinners. But I still detest the job. Did I say I despise it?

I think perhaps if I washed all the lettuce at once it wouldn’t be so bad. Is this possible? How would I keep it fresh? I have a vegetable crisper drawer in my fridge. Would this help? Would I keep the little vent on it opened or closed? What type container would I put the lettuce in after it’s washed.

Any help would be greatly appreciated by my ever-salad-lovin’ family. And me.

~Wonderin’ bout Wilt

girlHeather says:

Absolutely, but you must be sure to remove as much water as possible. You mentioned having a salad spinner, use it. For those who don’t have salad spinners you can use a clean pillow case. Just open it up, add the washed lettuce, and whirl it around a few times. It sounds silly, but a folded pillow case takes up very little space, stored with my kitchen towels.

Store the lettuce in large plastic bags with a paper towel to absorb moisture; change it every couple days. Your fridge needs to be at 40F ( 4C_ or colder, but not freezing. Use the lettuce within a week.

Here is a handy post on the proper storage of produce (and the uselessness of the crisper drawer).


  1. Mom of 4 on January 11, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Salads ARE a pain, aren’t they? I use my salad spinner to store the lettuce. Here’s how:

    When I first bring the lettuce home, I whack off the bottom 3″ or so. (I usually buy leaf or romaine; if I’ve purchased iceberg, I take out the core.) Then I dump it into a big dishpan full of cold water, and take the leaves out one by one, rinse them again under running water, and tear them into the salad spinner. When it’s full, I spin it mostly, but not all the way, dry. Dump out the accumulated water, then put the spinner in the fridge. When I want to make salad, the lettuce is ready to go. It seems to keep well with just that little bit of moisture on it.

  2. Margaret on January 10, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    We also love salads and I drag my feet about the fuss!
    I think salad spinners are great, but before that, I used dishtowels to “fling” the lettuce. Works fine. Another trick (even more time saving) is to just wash and tear the lettuce several hours ahead of time, wrap it up in the dishtowel, and put it in the fridge. By dinnertime, it’s beautifully crisp and dry.
    One more thing: because we love salad and I hate making it, I make a BIG salad and we just have the leftovers for another meal or two or for lunch. I also, despite all the advice I’ve ever read, hack my lettuce into pieces with a knife!! And it doesn’t show brown edges as leftovers! I do have sharp knives, though.

  3. Jasi on January 10, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I love salad, too and recently I totally splurged on an OXO big salad spinner I’d been stalking for at least a year. It’s $25 and I couldn’t really justify the space it would take to store this unitasker. But I’m glad I broke down. It’s got a big clear bowl suitable for serving, a spinning strainer section to hold the greens and the top is dishwasher safe… or should have been.

    This should be the worst part, but it’s the best. The top was smelling sour and I couldn’t figure out how to open it. I called the company and got a human being -instantly-! She told me that the top has been improved and is sending me a free one right away. This one is still dishwasher safe and can be easily taken apart. (update to follow).

    Between the serving capacity, being able to use the strainer for other veggies/ cleaning and having such great customer service it just might be worth it.