Let me tell you a story. There was once a girl who lived in Dallas and LOVED salad. Almost any kind of salad, but her favorites were caesar salad (with or without chicken) or a fried or grilled chicken salad (with ranch dressing, cheddar cheese and croutons). OK, so maybe these salads weren’t the healthiest of salads, but still – it made this girl feel good and healthy when she got to eat a salad for a meal. At least she was getting some vegetables, and let’s be serious – any kind of salad is better than a burger or pizza.
So, this girl then moved to Costa Rica… and was startled to find there are no caesar salads here, nor any kind of bagged lettuce you can by in the grocery stores, no good tasting ranch dressing, and absolutely no caesar dressing. There was lettuce – sure. But every time this girl would buy a head or bunch of lettuce, it would start wilting before she even got home! She’d wash it immediately, dry it, put paper towels around it and put it in zip locked bags – but STILL it was always pretty wilted. She was dismayed and gave up on making and eating salads in Costa Rica.
Until… her friend Cheryl told her about storing lettuce in tin foil.
I know, that’s what I said (yes, I am said girl, duh)!
But YOU GUYS. I’ve tried this. Several times, now. And it works! My lettuce stays fresh and crisp for up to – get this – 3 weeks. Even if it’s already started to wilt when I get home from the store, it seems to come back to life and “crisp up” again.
Unbelievable. I know. But try it. I’m not lying to you.
So here’s my step-by-step directions, which are REALLY super easy.
1. Buy a bunch of lettuce (any kind – I usually like to stick with Romaine or Leaf Lettuce).
2. As soon as you get home, take it apart at the stalk (do NOT cut stalk/root off). Example – for a bunch of leaf lettuce, I would divide into 3 or 4 separate stalk-sections. Here is one stalk-section:
3. Wrap each stalk-section tightly in tin foil (I wrap the ends of the tin foil over the bottom and top parts, then wrap tightly length-wise). IMPORTANT – DO NOT WASH or WET the lettuce before you do this!
4. Store in fridge (for up to 2-3 weeks).
5. When ready to eat, take tin foil out of fridge, tear your lettuce up into pieces (however small you want). Wash thoroughly, and spin dry if possible. I love this salad spinner (takes virtually ALL of the water out):
See how crisp my over-2-weeks-old lettuce looks??
6. Put in a bowl, add whatever else you want to it, and – SERVE! Voilà! Your lettuce will be crisp, clean, cold and SOOO WONDERFUL. Your friends will think you picked this up at the farmer’s market SAME DAY, I guarantee you. Look at this, this is 2.5 weeks old lettuce, with my homemade ranch and croutons and a bit of shredded mozzarella:
Here’s the recipe for my homemade croutons:
- ▪ 3 cups day-old bread – cut up
- ▪ 1/4 cup olive oil
- ▪ 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- ▪ 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- ▪ 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ▪ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- ▪ 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- In a large bowl, combine the bread and all remaining ingredients. Toss well. Spread bread cubes out on a cookie sheet with a silicone matt or parchment paper.
- Bake the bread cubes for about 10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown and crisp.
I think the secret might be in storing with no water, and not exposing to air in any way – but what do I know? Who cares! All I know is this gives me long lasting and easy to care for lettuce, and this girl is one happy salad-eating camper!
You’re welcome & happy salad making!!
PS – MANY THANKS (100 times over!) to my friend Cheryl, for sharing this secret with me!!
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