'Fluff' Your Bagged Lettuce And It Will Last Way Longer

woman in supermarket reaching for bagged greens
woman in supermarket reaching for bagged greens - PeopleImages.com - Yuri A/Shutterstock

Bagged lettuce is a staple in many refrigerators for a number of reasons: It's low in calories, relatively inexpensive, nutritious, refreshing, and an easy-to-use foundation for any salad imaginable. But there's a downside to bagged greens: They have an unfortunately short shelf life. Although those sacks of lettuce look fresh and vibrant sitting neatly atop misty supermarket shelves, once they get back to your home fridge, the deterioration process seems to accelerate almost instantaneously. This is due to the fact that bagged lettuce is a temperamental ingredient, surprisingly sensitive to minute changes in temperature, humidity, and moisture.

As a result, most only last a couple of days before they start to rot — even when stored in the fridge. This is a bummer on multiple fronts; not only is your food going into the trash, but to make matters worse, organic waste, like rotting lettuce, releases methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — as it decomposes. But you don't have to let your leafy greens suffer a sad and slimy fate. Fluffing or shaking your lettuce in its bag or container as soon as you get back to your kitchen is a quick way to help extend its longevity and quality beyond just a couple of days.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

A Little Movement Goes A Long Way In Preserving Leafy Greens

open bag of salad greens
open bag of salad greens - Noel V. Baebler/Shutterstock

Whenever you buy a bag of pre-washed lettuce, the first thing you should do once you get it home and into your kitchen is open it and give it a fluff or shake. This helps to release any of the ethylene gas still in the packaging. Ethylene gas is a natural byproduct of fruits and vegetables, like apples, bananas, cantaloupe, and tomatoes, that accelerates the ripening process (which is why you can ripen avocados faster by putting them in a paper bag with bananas). Lettuce isn't a major producer of ethylene gas, but it's very sensitive to it, especially if there are cuts or blemishes on the leaves, which will speed-up their deterioration.

But fluffing your greens does more than relieve some gas. Shifting the leaves around makes it easier to sort through them and remove any that have wilted or have started to rot. Remember, one of the major causes of slimy greens is moisture, and just a handful of bad leaves can cause your lettuce to lose its crisp freshness that much faster.

Other Clever Ways To Extend The Shelf-Life Of Your Lettuce

woman holding salad spinner full of lettuce on kitchen counter
woman holding salad spinner full of lettuce on kitchen counter - stockcreations/Shutterstock

Giving your lettuce a fluff isn't the only way to keep it fresh and crisp. One tip is to open the bag when you get home and slide in a fresh paper towel. This helps absorb some of the moisture that will ultimately cause the greens to wilt. If you've purchased a big bag of lettuce, you can help preserve it by adding multiple layers of paper towels in between the leaves. Another idea is to give the greens a twirl in the salad spinner to wick away any of that excess moisture.

It's also important to store your lettuce at the proper temperature. Keep it in the crisper to ensure that it stays cool and dry.

The final tip is to skip the bagged lettuce entirely and go for greens packaged in a plastic clamshell instead. Lettuce is delicate and can suffer a lot of physical damage during transport, which is why a stiff plastic container can help mitigate some of the abuse. By following these suggestions, you can expect your bagged greens to last around 5 to 7 days — which means a whole week's worth of fresh and vibrant salads.

Read the original article on Daily Meal