When you go to the market and you find that there are some great offers, you might want to buy a lot of products in bulk and might end up having lots of wastage because of being unable to use all the products at once.
Freezing seems like a viable option at this point. Can you freeze lettuce? It is possible to freeze lettuce, even though the thick leaf lettuce freezes better than the thin leaf lettuce? That said, one of the main challenges with freezing lettuce is because it is delicate. Different types of lettuce freeze differently.
You can use the frozen lettuce to make soup.
What types of lettuce will be best to freeze
Different types of lettuce freeze differently because they have high levels of water in them. The thicker leaf lettuce tends to freeze better than the thin leaf lettuce.
The best lettuce to freeze is the homegrown lettuce or the one you get from the local market because the fresher the lettuce is the easier it is to freeze. Romaine lettuce is among the best freezing lettuce.
Things to consider when freezing lettuce
Although eating your lettuce when it is fresh lets you enjoy its natural flavors, that doesn’t mean that you cannot freeze your lettuce for future use.
Different types of lettuce freeze differently and unlike the lettuce bought from the market, homegrown lettuce freezes better. That said the process of freezing lettuce is the same for both homegrown and lettuce bought from the market.
You can also freeze the shredded lettuce and this comes with less work because they are already chopped. Change the bag that the lettuce comes in and make sure they are completely dry before freezing them.
You can also freeze the pre-packed lettuce. You will only be required to reduce their size by cutting them into smaller pieces and putting them in a freezer bag.
You might need to consider the following factors before freezing your lettuce:
- Consider buying your lettuce from the local market or using your own homegrown because they freeze better than the lettuce you will buy from the shop.
- Always handle the lettuce carefully because it’s delicate and this can make the leaves tear.
- Washing your lettuce before you freeze is very important because you will be able to get rid of any bacteria. This includes washing your pre-packed lettuce. It will also help you separate the leaves that have gone bad from the good ones and also remove any dirt from the lettuce leaves you will store.
- If you want to retain your lettuce freshness for longer, you will need to remove them from their initial packet and put them in the freezer bag or container.
- When putting your lettuce in the freezer bag, don’t overfill. This may crush the leaves and that will affect their quality.
How to wash your lettuce before freezing them
First, separate the leaves from the stalk with your hands. Most people prefer not to use a knife because it damages the leaves. After all, lettuce is pretty delicate.
But in this case, you can use a knife as you are preparing the lettuce for freezing. After this step, wash the lettuce in cold water in a large bowl. You could also use your kitchen sink as an alternative. Put water up to half full and wash them thoroughly as you check the leaves that have gone bad, are discolored, or have any kind of dirt.
Remove the lettuce leaves from the water and shake them gently to rid the excess water and moisture. Lay a clean towel on your kitchen counter and on it place the clean lettuce. Use another clean towel to wipe off any excess water from the leaves.
Lettuce is tastier when eaten fresh, but if you find yourself having a lot of lettuce that you are not planning to use, the following methods can help you preserve your lettuce.
Use a bag to freeze your lettuce
You can easily freeze your lettuce by cutting them up and putting them in a bag. Start by unpacking them from the bag they come in. After that cut the stalk and the leaves separately. Wash and dry them before storing them. Check the leaves for any insects that could be hiding inside.
Also, check if the leaves are still crispy and good in shape. Throw away any leaves that have gone bad or have changed in color or have a texture that feels slimy. This ensures you only store the best. After that put the lettuce you had cut in a freezing bag and store it in the freezer.
Don’t overfill the leaves in one bag as they can be crushed and their quality will be affected. Remove extra air from your freezing bag or containers by lightly pressing them. Make sure you freeze and pack the same type of lettuce as mixing different types can result in an unpleasant taste after thawing.
Freezing lettuce interferes with its taste making it unsuitable to use in salads. That said, it’s also good to note that while frozen lettuce may lose its freshness, it maintains its health benefits.
Storing your lettuce in cube trays
This method will involve the use of kitchen equipment such as the blender or a food processor. Cut the stalk and throw away the leaves that have gone bad. Wash the remaining lettuce to avoid contamination and the presence of bacteria.
Put the clean lettuce in your blender and add water so that you can achieve a fine blend. Pour your blend in the trays and make sure they have lids so that you can avoid accidents when removing or returning anything in the freezer.
Put your trays in the freezer once the blend has settled in the trays. You can opt to leave them in the trays or you can transfer them to the freezer bag. You can use blended lettuce in preparing soup.
Don’t thaw your frozen lettuce unless you have a recipe you want to use it in. This helps you store your lettuce for longer instead of removing and returning the lettuce to the freezer which will only quicken it’s going bad.
By pureeing your lettuce, you don’t have to worry about it wilting and getting a slimy texture that is often caused by freezing whole lettuce.
How to defrost your lettuce?
After preserving your lettuce, you will need to use it at some point. This is where learning how to defrost the right way comes in.
Before removing your lettuce from the freezer, make sure to place towels on your kitchen counter. This will help control spillages that will be coming out of the frozen lettuce.
You can now remove your lettuce from the freezer and lay it on the towel. Leave the lettuce at room temperature to defrost for some time. You can also touch them to confirm if they are fully defrosted.
Defrosting may also come down to what you are making as sometimes you don’t need to defrost the lettuce especially if you are making soup or a smoothie. You only need to put the cubes in the pot and let your food continue boiling.
Other ways to help you preserve your lettuce
After refrigeration, the freshness of the lettuce differs from the different types of lettuce.
If you have the head lettuce, for instance, you can keep it refrigerated for longer as it has more life, unlike the loose-leaf lettuce which has a lesser shelf life of approximately one week. The head lettuce can go up to 3 weeks when kept in the fridge.
If you plan to consume your lettuce within a week, you will often find that you don’t need to freeze your lettuce.
Simply wrap your lettuce in a damp cloth and put it in an airtight bag if you don’t plan on putting it in the freezer. Make sure your lettuce leaves or the lettuce head is dry before putting it in the fridge.
How to tell if your frozen lettuce is bad
It is important to know what to look for when you remove your frozen lettuce out to thaw because lettuce carries germs and bacteria that don’t die even after being frozen.
Wait for your lettuce to thaw fully before looking out for the following:
- The lettuce smells rotten or produces a very strong awful smell,
- It looks discolored; rotten leaves normally turn black or brown in color.
- The leaves have started to wilt and become slimy. This can be the case if the lettuce was stored whole.
If you notice any of the above signs don’t use your lettuce as it has already gone bad.
Unlike other products, vegetables don’t have an expiry date so that means you will have to use your senses to tell if they have gone bad or not. For instance, if you taste them and they taste bitter or sour, that means they have gone bad.
It’s very difficult to tell if pureed lettuce has gone bad or not because it is already mashed. If you are unsure if your pureed lettuce is fresh or not, just throw it away to avoid eating it and getting sick.
How to make frozen lettuce soup
If you have frozen lettuce and you have never tried making lettuce soup, then this is the perfect time to do it as it is super easy. Assemble all the ingredients you will need to make the soup which includes:
- Chopped onion
- Cloves of garlic.
The measurements will differ depending on the number of people you are making the soup for. Also, you can add some spices to add more flavor and taste to the soup.
Add all the ingredients together in a pot and cook on medium heat. Add in some chopped potato in the pot. I know you are likely wondering why the potato yet we are making a lettuce soup.
Potatoes are an excellent way to thicken the soup. Add water to the mixture and let it boil. Make sure the potatoes are well cooked. By now the soup is ready for you to enjoy.
The best container to freeze lettuce
Because of how delicate lettuce is, and can easily tear, use a container with a lid when you are freezing the leaves. If you have limited space and you are unable to use a tray to separate your leaves, freezing bags can come in handy.
Just be careful when handling the bag when it’s finally time to defrost your lettuce. Handling it with care will ensure that it doesn’t tear and you can use it for a second time.
When using freezer bags, you will often find it easy to get rid of excess air. Always put your lettuce on the top shelf to avoid them getting mashed up when you add other things inside the freezer.
It is important to label your bags and containers to avoid mixing them up. Also, put the date of the day you will put them in so it becomes easy to use the first in first out method.
This ensures that you make the most of freezing your lettuce and ensuring that they remain fresher for longer.
What can you do to revive wilting lettuce?
The lettuce losses moisture when kept in the fridge for a long and this can make the leaves wilt. Putting the withered leaves in an ice bath and leaving them in there for a while can help the lettuce get back to life.
Don’t forget to dry them before putting them back in the fridge. This will help improve the shelf life of your lettuce.
Many of us enjoy eating lettuce while fresh. If you prefer buying lettuce in bulk, you have the option of freezing your lettuce. Always remember that freezing your lettuce will change and interfere with the taste compared to eating your lettuce when fresh. Frozen lettuce is best used in making soup or when making a smoothie. It is however not the best for use in salads.
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