Millions of people consume lettuce every day in one form or another. Be it in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or even soups. This green vegetable is not only refreshing but also nutritious. Rich in vitamins and water content, it is hydrating and proven to be good for bone health. Given how frequently we consume this vegetable and its benefits for our health, we must consume it in its best form, so learning how to wash lettuce is very important to make sure our green vegetables are cleaned and safe to consume.
No matter how you source your lettuce from the grocery store, the farmers market, or your own garden, it is of utmost importance that the lettuce you consume every day is as clean as it can be before you eat it, and this means you need to wash the lettuce thoroughly before you use it. But before we come to washing lettuce, let’s talk about how to buy lettuce.
How to Buy the Best Lettuce
Whether you are buying iceberg, romaine, or some other kind of lettuce, the checklist remains the same. You want lettuce that has been recently picked. So this means that the leaves have a bright color and are crisp. Avoid lettuce that has wilted leaves or has leaves that are browning. Because lettuce is so rich in water content, fresh lettuce will always feel heavy for its size. If you are buying romaine lettuce, make sure that the leaves are tightly closed.
When is the Right Time to Wash Lettuce
You can wash lettuce whenever you prefer. If you choose to tear off a few leaves of lettuce and wash them right before you use them in a salad or sandwich, go right ahead. If you prefer to have your fridge stocked with prepped ingredients so that you can quickly throw together a lunch, you can go ahead and wash and prep your lettuce and store it in your refrigerator.
How to Wash Lettuce
You can wash whole lettuce heads, or you can separate the leaves and wash them as well. Separating the leaves may give you a bit more flexibility when cleaning the leaves. Since two of the most commonly used lettuce varieties are iceberg and romaine lettuce, you will find the steps to clean both varieties below.
How to Wash Iceberg Lettuce
First, rinse your iceberg lettuce head under some running water to remove any debris that may be present on the outside of the lettuce. Also, remove some of the outer layer leaves if they seem wilted or are browning.
Next, to remove the core of the lettuce, there is a simple hack you can use for which you need a sturdy cutting board. Place the cutting board on your countertop and hold the top end of the lettuce head in your hand.
Use quite a bit of force to slam the lettuce on the cutting board. This will loosen the lettuce core, and you should be able to remove it easily. Now you can easily clean the leaves whole, or you can chop them into small pieces.
If you have a salad spinner, you can use that to wash your lettuce. Just add the leaves to the colander attachment and place the colander in the salad spinner bowl. Next, add cold water to the bowl and let the leaves soak in the water for a few minutes, and this will cause most of the dirt to settle at the bottom.
Rinse out the bowl and fill it again with some fresh water and give it a good spin. Repeat this step twice. After you dump out the water for the last time, spin the lettuce again to dry it.
If you don’t have a salad spinner on hand, you can just use a large bowl to mimic the actions of a salad spinner. Add the leaves to your bowl and, using your hand, agitate the water to unsettle the dirt from the lettuce leaves so that it settles at the bottom. Rinse and repeat!
To dry the lettuce leaves, shake off excess water and roll them in a towel gently. In a few minutes, your lettuce will be almost completely dry!
How to Wash Romaine Lettuce
In the case of romaine lettuce, you don’t need to smash it on your counter to remove its core. Instead, here we will directly start chopping the lettuce into small pieces that we can clean easily.
Using a large chef’s knife, cut starting about 1 inch from the root of the lettuce to the very tip of the leaves of lettuce. Depending on how large the lettuce leaves are, you can rotate the lettuce and continue making the same kind of cuts. Our aim here is to cut the leaves into smaller pieces without completely detaching them from the root.
Once you think that the leaves are sufficiently cut, it is now time to chop them into smaller pieces. Starting from the top end of the lettuce head, start making 1 – 2 inch size cuts to chop your lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces. By the time you reach the core of the lettuce, you will have finished chopping your entire head of lettuce and are now ready to wash it.
Fill your salad spinner with water and add your chopped lettuce leaves to it. Let them sit in the water for a few minutes so that the debris settles at the bottom. Rinse out the dirty water and fill it again with some freshwater.
This time close the salad spinner and give it a good spin so that lettuce leaves are all exposed to the water. Do this step twice before draining the water completely.
Finally, to dry the lettuce leaves, spin them once more in the salad spinner.
If you don’t have a salad spinner on hand, you can simulate the same behaviors with a large bowl of water, similar to how you did it with the iceberg lettuce.
How to Store Washed Lettuce
Once your washed lettuce is dry, wrap it in a dry paper towel and store it in a plastic bag or container. Store this container in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for maximum freshness.
This lettuce will easily last in your fridge for 5 – 7 days.
Even if you buy prewashed lettuce from the supermarket, always give a rinse before consuming it.
You can also wash your lettuce with a little bit of vinegar for added protection.
Lettuce is one such ingredient from your kitchen that is part of most meals in a day. And when it is something that we are putting in our bodies so frequently, especially for its health benefits, it is of utmost importance that the product is safe, clean, and free of anything that might harm you. Hopefully, you found this blog post helpful and will use it in your day-to-day life to wash your lettuce!
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