Why You Should Store Lettuce In Aluminum Foil At Its Peak Of Freshness

When it comes to making a delightfully refreshing salad, crisp and fresh lettuce is essential. Whether you prefer tucking into a classic Caesar or cutting into a hefty wedge salad, only the crunchiest leaves will do your recipe justice. Nothing spells disappointment quite like a bowl of forlorn-looking, wilted greens. Fortunately, there's a simple storage hack that will allow your heads of lettuce to stay fresh for a long time, helping you get more salads out of a single head, and better salads, at that.

As soon as you bring home your perfectly fresh lettuce, wrap it in aluminum foil to help it retain moisture. You may have heard of the trick of storing heads of romaine in a plastic zip-lock bag, along with a few pieces of paper towels, in order to prevent it from shriveling up. This storage trick technique isn't the most effective. If you're lucky, it may help keep lettuce fresh for up to 10 days, but don't be surprised if the leaves turn slimy after about a week. On the other hand, wrapping a head of lettuce up tightly in a piece of foil can help extend its refrigerated shelf life to about 30 days — which is great news for all the salad lovers out there.

Aluminum foil keeps lettuce fresh

Just like your finicky houseplants, lettuce can be rather particular about what it needs to thrive. To stay fresh, lettuce requires two things: air and moisture. But while it does need adequate air circulation, too much exposure to air can cause the leaves to dry out, which is why you should never store lettuce in the fridge by itself. Although some people recommend poking a few small holes in a zip-lock bag to allow for proper airflow, aluminum foil is a far more favorable option. Foil can keep your greens from drying out, but is still permeable enough to allow room for them to breathe, unlike somewhat suffocating plastic.

Moreover, since moisture loss can cause the leaves to wilt and go bad, foil also helps heads of lettuce to retain just the right amount of moisture they need to stay crisp and fresh. And, for those concerned about the sustainability of aluminum foil, the thin sheets can actually be washed and reused — in fact, you can even throw pieces of foil straight into your dishwasher and run them through a cycle to get them squeaky clean and ready for storing your next head of lettuce.

How to bring lettuce back to life

If you're just now learning about this clever aluminum foil hack, you may already have a fridge full of sad, droopy lettuce. Fret not, because there's a simple hot water hack to revive old lettuce. Place the leaves in a bowl of hot water for about 15 to 30 minutes to help them rehydrate. This trick works for any kind of lettuce, as long as it's not showing any signs of spoilage, such as slimy, dark leaves or a foul odor, which would make it unsafe to eat.

Wondering what to do with lettuce that has turned pink? Pink spots aren't always an indication that your leaves have gone bad. Discoloration can also be caused by temperature fluctuations, or exposure to ethylene gas released by other produce stored nearby. Unless the leaves are also displaying other signs of spoilage, such as the aforementioned sliminess and brown or black discoloration, they should be okay to eat. However, you can always cut off the pink spots if you don't feel up to chowing down on them.