It’s without fail that we find ourselves adding salad greens to the grocery list every Sunday night when meal planning for the week. Incorporating a hefty salad into our nutrition plan every few days is an excellent way to ensure that our bodies get diverse nutrition from various fruits and vegetables. What’s more important is knowing how to keep salad fresh so that it doesn’t wilt within days of bringing it home.
There are so many types of leafy greens: arugula, spinach, radicchio, romaine, and iceberg lettuce. While they are all different in flavor, many veggies have similar care instructions after being turned into a salad.
How long does salad last? That time frame depends on a variety of factors that we’ll address. Keeping salad fresh becomes a natural way of life once you inform yourself on how to do it.
Benefits of Salads
Salad greens have tremendous benefits when eaten fresh, and most kinds are almost all carb, calorie, and sugar-free. Many greens are high in vitamins and minerals that are essential to our wellbeing.
Some of these include vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. This nutrition list doesn’t even begin to include all the yummy extras people add when they turn them into a salad.
Think of all the extra nutrition you get when you add chicken, green onions, radishes, tomatoes, berries, and nuts. Salads are customizable to fit each person’s taste and nutritional demands.
How to Keep Salad Fresh
Keeping lettuce fresh starts from the moment you walk into the grocery store. We all desire our salads to be crispy and flavorful, and the best way to do that is to take all necessary measures for keeping salad fresh.
How to Buy Lettuce
When we enter the grocery store, we have several options, and it’s hard to know what to choose. They offer bagged salad, heads of lettuce, greens in clamshell packaging, a bag of spinach, and even loose lettuce leaves.
When it comes down to it, the bagged salad should be your last resort because they are usually older and pre-cut, causing them to brown faster.
Buying full heads or loose leaves in clamshell packaging is the smartest idea for keeping salad greens fresh because it allows them to get more airflow and prevents wilting.
The best method for how to tell if salad is fresh is to purchase only greens that are vivid in color and free from brown spots or rancid smells. Keeping salad fresh then starts at home.
How Long Does Salad Last in the Fridge?
Keeping salad fresh in the fridge is one of the most important things to know. This location is where most food storage occurs, and it is essential to make lettuce longer than the expected shelf life.
So how long does salad last in the refrigerator? The smartest way to store salad greens is to remove them from the plastic you brought them home in. If the greens are in plastic containers with holes, those are great for functionality and storage.
If you don’t have one, wrap the head or loose leaves in paper towels to absorb moisture and put it in a plastic bag with perforations. Leave the top of the bag open to ensure the greens get plenty of airflow.
If your greens came in a clamshell box, add a dry paper towel to the package to absorb excess moisture. Store lettuce and leafy greens in the crisper drawer of your fridge to last from one to three weeks.
Don’t Wash Salad Green Right Away
Avoid washing your salad greens and lettuce until right before you’re ready to use them.
Water is the biggest obstacle in causing them to rot, and after they get washed, it is almost impossible to get them back to the way they were before. Only wash your veggies right before you’re ready to eat by running them under very cold water.
Use a Salad Spinner
Salad spinners are a great tool to keep in your kitchen. After washing your greens, it’s hard to get them to dry without becoming soggy. The more water your greens are exposed to, the less crunchy they are.
Once you rinse your salad greens, cut them into your desired size, and put them in a salad spinner. Spin the salad fast, so the excess water gets forced off the leaves and to the outer part of the tool.
Companies like Better Homes & Gardens use targeted advertising for salad lovers because they understand the importance of keeping moisture away from your greens. If you eat salad consistently, it might be time to invest in a salad spinner.
The Secret to Keeping Salad Fresh
One of the most prominent factors in keeping a salad fresh is to keep the salad dressing on the side. When preparing a large salad for the family, allowing others to dress their own plates keeps the entire salad from becoming soggy.
Have you ever tried storing a dressed salad for leftovers? The entire thing turns wet and becomes unappetizing. When you keep the dressing out, you can store the remainder in airtight storage containers and eat the rest over the next few days.
Meal Prep Salad Recipes
You’ve been learning how to keep salad fresh, but why aren’t there any tasty salad recipes yet?
One of our favorite ways to meal prep salads is to store all the ingredients in Mason jars with the dressing on the side. Then you can pour out the ingredients when you’re ready to eat them without the lettuce being soggy.
Open the Mason jar and add a layer of your desired amount of each ingredient, starting with the diced tomatoes and then adding the avocado, taco meat, shredded cheese, crushed Doritos, green onion, and lastly, the lettuce.
When you do it in this order, the lettuce doesn’t touch the moist veggies and ends up on the bottom when dumped into a large bowl. Add sour cream and Catalina dressing for a tasty taco salad.
Check the Expiration Date
How long does salad last? The best indicator is the expiration date. Check the original packaging for the expiration date for boxed and bagged greens.
For heads of lettuce, most last about three weeks in the fridge. Smell the head of lettuce and check for brown spots or wilting to determine freshness without an expiration date.
Aside from the picky eaters of the world, a large majority of people love digging into a massive salad with tasty toppings.
The great thing about homemade salads is that there are endless combinations for us to savor and turn into either a huge meal, a side, or even an appetizer.
If you’re a salad lover like us, learning these tips for keeping salad fresh is going to be a gamechanger in your meal prep. Making lettuce last longer becomes like muscle memory once you equip yourself with all the knowledge necessary for crispy, crunchy salad.
If learning how to keep salad fresh helped you stop throwing out produce, share these methods for keeping salad fresh on Facebook and Pinterest.