Tuesday, February 19

Crisping the Greens: How To Rehydrate Your Lettuce

Green leafy lettuce, not iceberg, is a good source of vitamins A and C, both of which are antioxidants that help protect against some cancers. Lettuce, though, tends to wilt quickly and I DETEST limp lettuce. I like my salads crunchy and full of life, Romaine is my favorite salad green. To help prevent wilting, store your lettuce in the coolest section of your refrigerator, usually near the back and on the bottom shelf. If your lettuce is wilted, or it's limp when you come in from the market, it is possible to revive it to it's original crisp glory, ready to enjoy.

Were you aware that you could CRISP UP your salad greens?

This method for crisping your greens works well for all types of lettuce: 

  • Separate all the leaves of lettuce and put them in a large bowl or clean sink full of ice water. Let them soak for 5 minutes or up to 30 if any of the leaves appear extremely wilted. This is also a good time to check for any dirt and bugs.
  • While the lettuce is soaking, arrange paper towels on the kitchen counter.
  • As you remove the lettuce leaves vigorously shake off excess water or dry them in a salad spinner.
  • Lay lettuce leaves in a single layer on the paper towels. Top with another layer of paper towels and more lettuce. Continue until all lettuce is covered.
  • Fold or roll up the paper towels and lettuce and slide the whole thing into a large plastic bag; I use 2 gallon Ziploc bags. Press the extra air out and seal. You may find you can store your lettuce in the fridge for up to two weeks. Remove lettuce as needed, push the air out and reseal each time.
The cells in the lettuce soak up the ice water and the leaves actually 'rehydrate' causing them to become crisp. Bizarre? Yes, but it happens to be TRUE!  This method for cleaning and crisping lettuce helps to preserve the greens as well. Not only will your lettuce be crisp and ready to eat but will stay fresher longer, lasting 2 weeks if not longer in your fridge. 
I love having clean, prepared and ready to eat crisp lettuce in my fridge. With little effort and time I can make a quick salad and always have good crunchy lettuce on hand for our sandwiches. 
If you happen to like crisp and crunchy lettuce like me, give the rehydrate method a try...
...you'll be glad ya did!


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