It's salad season and, especially for those of you in a CSA, giving your lettuces enough love is easier said than done, but with a little TLC you can carry your greens a little further.
The trick is to keep your lettuces cool and hydrated but dry - when you get them home it is usually fine to store them as is, in a plastic bag, in the "crisper" drawer of your fridge.* I like a plain grocery bag for this, the drawer is key because it protects the lettuce from air circulation in the fridge, which would otherwise suck the moisture right out.
After two to three days in this state, you'll start to see a little wilting. Leaves will droop and look generally tired and sad. This means it's time to breath a little more life back into the plant.
|A salad spinner is one of my most useful uni-taskers.|
Once this is done, lift the lettuce out with your hands or a spider or large slotted spoon and drop them into a salad spinner basket or colander. No pouring! That just deposits the dirt right back onto the lettuce.
Dry the lettuce well, via salad spinning, or laying out on paper towels or tea towels and patting very well. Store it in a zip bag with another towel, to regulate moisture, and go back to the crisper. You'll see several more days of shelf life in your lettuce.
*The exception to this is when they're soaking wet when you buy them, sometimes stores or farmers spray their lettuces with water to keep them looking lively, but too much water equals rot.