Lettuce, while delicious and damn good for you, can be a bit temperamental in terms of shelf life. And because nothing is worse than throwing away a formerly beautiful bag of green goodness, I've gathered some tips to extend your salad's fresh days.
Step 1: Open your bag and remove any offenders.
When you get a bag of lettuce or bring a head home from the grocery store, it's wise to empty it out and give it your finest pick-over to see if there are any leaves already wilted or damp.
If you see any questionable pieces, either eat them immediately or toss them if they are beyond the point of desirable consumption.
Step 2: Make sure your lettuce is completely dry.
While not a desirable quality in a Tinder date, being as dry as possible is exactly what you want when it comes to storing your salad greens.
First be sure to separate all of the leaves so you can reach every square centimeter. Then pat them gently with a paper or clean kitchen towel, or give them a spin in a salad spinner if you're fancy enough to have one (#goals).
Step 3: Grab some paper towels and an airtight container or bag.
Wrap your lettuce in paper towels to help wipe away any current or future moisture from the leaves. One again, preventing moisture retention is key.
Place lettuce in an airtight container or large ziplock bag. You want to seal it almost all the way, but leave just a tiny corner cracked open to encourage a slight bit of airflow (creating a completely airtight environment may lead to off-flavors).
#SpoonTip: Inserting a straw to poke out of the top of a large ziplock bag.
Step 4: Chill out.
Step 5: Use just what you need.
If you're making a salad or cooking something with your lettuce, take only what you need that day out of your storage container.
Avoid dressing more salad than you will eat, because once it's be dressed, it won't last as long.
Step 6: Revival 101
If your lettuce is slightly past it's prime, shocking the leaves in an ice cold water bath for a few minutes before patting it dry may help the leaves regain some crispness.
Or you can toss greens like kale, spinach, and arugula that are just-beyond-their-salad-days into grain salads, soups, pasta dishes, or on pizza. Sautéing them solo with a dab of olive oil, garlic, and sea salt is also a solid choice.