The freezer is the ideal place to store foods long-term, preventing food from going to waste. However, not everything is safe to store in the freezer due to high water content and texture. This brings us to the question, can you freeze romaine lettuce?
There is something about a garden salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, and refreshingly crisp romaine lettuce. These leafy greens are so sturdy that we love grilling them with olive and herbs as a healthy side dish. It’s also a dieter’s dream with its low calories and carbs and high levels of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
With all of its health benefits and the many ways to prepare it, we always include these veggies in the garden, which leads us to a storage problem at the end of the growing season. Unfortunately, vegetables, especially lettuce, have a limited shelf life, and because of this, we must find creative ways to store romaine lettuce longer.
Freezing and Preparing Romaine Lettuce
While we most often store romaine lettuce in the refrigerator, you may wonder about other storage options. Can you freeze lettuce? Many lettuce types like iceberg lettuce are not suitable for freezing due to the water content, unlike thick-leafed lettuce like romaine and butterhead.
Freezing romaine lettuce is not appropriate for fresh salads since the crispness changes due to excess moisture in the lettuce leaves. Frozen lettuce is perfect for adding to smoothies or cooked dishes like quiches.
The ideal way to store lettuce and keep lettuce fresh is in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, but sometimes there is more lettuce than is possible to eat before it spoils. Learn how to freeze romaine lettuce and thaw it after freezing. Discover a tasty way to use the frozen lettuce leaves when you’re ready to eat them.
Can You Freeze Romaine Lettuce?
There are many reasons to have more romaine lettuce than is possible to eat before spoilage, whether you stumble across a great sale at the grocery store or pick romaine lettuce until you drop from the garden. Can you freeze this lettuce to stop it from spoiling?
All types of lettuce contain water, and this causes an issue during the freezing and thawing process. While freezing, the lettuce cells form ice crystals that expand and damage the cell walls, causing a softer texture to the leaves. Lettuces to avoid freezing include iceberg and crisphead.
On the other hand, some lettuce types have thick leaves and lower water content than others and are freezer-friendly. These include Cos types and Boston or Bib types, or butterheads, and romaine lettuce.
How to Freeze Romaine Lettuce
There is nothing we despise more than wasting food, and fortunately, romaine lettuce is easy to store in the freezer for use within six months. Find out how to freeze romaine lettuce a few different ways after growing romaine lettuce indoors or finding a great sale at the supermarket.
The way to store green leaf lettuce in the freezer is easy. Before freezing romaine lettuce, separate the leaves, wash them under running water and dry them well with paper toweling or use a salad spinner. They freeze better if they have as little water as possible on their surface. Toss out any wilted outer leaves.
Place the dried lettuce leaves in freezer bags, gently push out as much of the air as possible, and seal the plastic bag shut before placing it in the freezer. Consider using a straw to suck out the excess air from between the leaves as you press the bag seal together to make the lettuce last longer in the freezer.
The best way to freeze romaine lettuce for use in smoothies is to puree the leaves first. Place them in a blender and add a small amount of water and blend them until smooth. Pour the lettuce puree into an ice cube tray and freeze before placing them into a freezer bag.
How to Thaw after Freezing Lettuce
Freezing romaine lettuce is a great way to have it on hand for use in various dishes. However, there is a wrong and right way to defrost them. Explore how to thaw frozen romaine lettuce properly to ensure those leafy greens are still safe to eat.
Like any other frozen food, it’s vital to refrigerate the frozen lettuce while thawing rather than keeping it at room temperature to allow the leaves to defrost slowly and prevent bacterial growth.
Fortunately, lettuce leaves thaw quickly and are ready for adding to a recipe in about an hour. There is no need to defrost frozen lettuce cubes. Simply toss them into soup or cooking rice or make a green smoothie with them.
Using Frozen Romaine Lettuce to Make Homemade Soup
Since lettuce leaves lose their crunch after freezing, our favorite recipe with frozen romaine lettuce is a rich, creamy, and flavorful soup. This dish combines a variety of garden vegetables, including lettuce, potatoes, onions, and garlic, and it makes four servings.
In a five-quart heavy pot, cook the onion and garlic in two tablespoons of butter over low heat for four minutes or until softened. Add the salt, coriander, and black pepper and cook while stirring for one minute. Pour in the water, potatoes, and lettuce and bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for about ten minutes.
Puree the soup in a food processor or blender and pour it back into the pot. Bring the puree back to a simmer, add the remaining butter, and salt and pepper it to taste before serving.
Using Frozen Romaine Lettuce Cubes to Make a Smoothie
We usually keep both romaine leaves and puree cubes in the freezer to add to our favorite dishes. We love using the leaves to make soup and stir fry, and the frozen cubes are perfect for making this healthy green smoothie.
Blend all ingredients in a processor or blender until smooth. Serve immediately or keep it in a Mason jar with a lid in the fridge for the following day. Smoothies are meant to be both fun and healthy, so don’t get too concerned about the exact measurements, and feel free to change up the ingredients to match your tastes.
For example, use banana chunks instead of mango, frozen lettuce leaves instead of cubes, and add some fresh kale or spinach.
Freezing a head of lettuce is not advisable since the cell walls of certain lettuce, like iceberg lettuce, rupture during the freezing process. However, romaine lettuce is a thick-leafed variety that holds up well in the freezer, and frozen lettuce is excellent for adding to soup, stir fries, and casseroles.
Can you freeze romaine lettuce is a question we get asked often, and we’d love it if you’d share the answer and our romaine lettuce freezing methods with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook.