I've been harvesting my romaine by the leaf on a weekly basis. (I'd love to be able to just pick as I need it, but that's not practical...)
I wash it as soon as I get it home, lay it out in a single layer on cotton terry dish towels and roll up the towels and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. This worked well the first few times I did it, but this week and last week the leaves have been limp within a day or two. They are still edible, but not crisp, more like pressed flowers that haven't dried all the way.
Is there a better way? Should I be sealing the leaves in the plastic bag? (I leave it open-ended b/c the towels are bigger than the bags.) Should I wait to wash them and then only wash what I'm going to use? Any other ideas?
Don't roll the leaves up. Rinse them very gently under cold water. Let them drip of on a towel or in a colander. Then put them, gently, into a container of your choice and put in the fridge in an area that does not get too cold.
Generally any kind of pressing (like by rolling the leaves up in a towel) or too low temperatures will make the lettuce go limp quicker.
Also, a rinse might not be enough. Are you harvesting from a pea patch? What time of day? The lettuce might need a good, long soak in a tub of cold cold water--even ice water if you can get that much. Then it needs to be drained or spun and stored loosely. I like the heavy cloth "salad bags" put into the crisper drawer, which should be set at "high humidity" (just a vent that closes).
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The soil is pretty sandy. I have been harvesting in late afternoon (right before dinner) and soaking in a big bowl of cold water. I will try adding ice, spinning dry and leaving loose in a container. Should it be airtight, like a lidded bowl? Or should it be ventilated somewhat?
I've found I have good luck with keeping lettuce crisp if I actually store it right in the salad spinner in the fridge. I drain the water from the spinner after spinning dry, replace the lid and then place in the fridge. Ours is the kind that is an actual bowl with a lid that seals, not the kind with an opening at the bottom and top however. It allows enough humidity without having the lettuce sit in any water.
N, wife to my goofball K and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013). Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.
I wash mine, then put it on a towel after it is mostly dry. Basically all I'm doing is lining my storage bag with the towel, not actually rolling the leaves up in the towel. Mine stays nice for a week.
The mason jar idea sounds like the salad in a jar. Do you vacuum seal it?
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I have been using a big glass airtight container with a towel in the bottom. Seems to be working okay so far, although there's not enough lettuce to last more than 5 or 6 days. :( I'll have to plant more next year!