Ok, I’ll be frank with you all, this isn’t the most exciting post I have ever put out there. As I was writing it, I kind of yawned a few times and thought to myself, am I really writing about how to keep lettuce and kale fresh, really? I’m writing this post because I want you all to see how easy it is to whip up a nightly salad on the fly without having to buy the pre-washed bagged lettuce or kale.
We eat tons of kale and lettuce on a weekly basis and I have found a handy way to keep them fresh longer, while also making it more convenient to just grab a handful of leaves when I want to throw a quick salad together. I’m not claiming to be an expert here, but this technique works for me, so I thought why not share it with you all. This works great for individual lettuce leaves and kale, but not for rolled up lettuces, such as iceberg lettuce.
The key to keeping lettuce fresh is to pre-wash, dry and store your lettuce. I always try to wash my lettuce and kale the same day that I purchase it. I just make sure when I’m unpacking groceries to throw the lettuce on the kitchen counter, so I don’t forget to wash it. Ok, lets just get started, shall we?
First off, you need to wash your lettuce. You can wash up your lettuce leaves whatever way suits you. I usually fill a large bowl with some cold water and swirl the leaves around to get rid of the excess dirt. You can also fill your sink with cold water, but I’m not a fan of doing that because even though I keep my sink clean, I don’t want to be washing fresh produce in there. I mean we wash our dirty hands in there, rinse raw meat, you get my point. Anyway, drain the water and then give each lettuce leaf a quick rinse under the tap to get rid of any remaining dirt. I sometimes get lazy and just rinse my leaves one-by-one under the tap and call it a day.
Now, if you’re rinsing kale, make your life easier and just de-stem it as you’re rinsing it. I always de-stem my kale as I’m rinsing it because it just saves so much time when it comes to throwing a kale salad together. If you need a demonstration on how to de-stem kale, click here. I also show you how to properly wash, de-stem and thinly slice kale in my lacinato kale salad video post. Check it out…
Ok, next you will need a salad spinner. I honestly think I use my salad spinner every day, so if you like salad, I would highly recommend purchasing one. Put the rinsed lettuce into a salad spinner. Make sure not to crowd the spinner too much or the lettuce won’t dry. Give the spinner a whirl, and spin the lettuce until its dry.
Spread two paper towels (still connected) on your counter and pile the dry lettuce/kale leaves on one end. Wrap the paper towel around the lettuce and then add some more leaves and continue the process until all the lettuce is wrapped up. Make sure to wrap the leaves up tightly.
I thought I would show you a picture of the de-stemmed kale before it gets wrapped up.
Rolling up the lettuce is almost like rolling up a sleeping bag.
Slide the rolls into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Squeeze the air out and close the bag.
Place the sealed bags in your crisper. The lettuce should stay good for about a week to 2 weeks. Honestly, I never keep my lettuce around for more than a week.
Now, you can have fresh de-stemmed kale or lettuce at a moments notice.
Just take out what you need whenever you want to make a salad and then just reseal the bag. The plastic bags can also be reused. I let them air out in between uses so that they stay dry. I also make sure to compost the paper towels.
I also did a post on how to keep herbs fresh. Check it out if you want. It has helped my cilantro last 2 weeks.
Now that you have some freshly washed greens, you can make some amazing salads on the fly.
Here are some links to my favorite kale salads.
Stay tuned for Thursday as I’m going to post my kid friendly caesar salad. The dressing is mayo, egg and anchovy free! Now that you have fresh ready-to-go lettuce, it will be a cinch to whip up.
I also love these two kale recipes.