Something that unites healthy food enthusiasts and amateur home cooks? It’s the love for lettuce. This versatile leafy green not only tastes delicious paired with almost anything, but is a great way to get those greens in your diet as well. Whether soups, salads, or wraps – lettuce can be a great addition to almost any dish.
One of the major hindrances to cooking with lettuce, however, is the fact that it begins to go bad in almost no time at all. Even if you store your lettuce in the refrigerator, the most that you can get out of it in terms of shelf life is a couple of days.
However, there’s an extremely easy process you can follow in order to lengthen this shelf life without compromising on the nutritional quality of the lettuce. This process is vacuum sealing, and all it needs a vacuum sealer in order to keep those leafy greens fresh and reusable for a while. ‘Lettuce’ see what the benefits of vacuum sealing lettuce are!
What Is Vacuum Sealing?
Vacuum sealing, as the name suggests, refers to the practice of sealing food in a container with a vacuum of air created in it – that is, the oxygen is usually sucked out of the container before sealing the food in it.
With the lack of oxygen, bacteria will not be able to form and flourish, which then indicates that mold will not be able to be formed easily. This keeps the food fresh for longer so it’s recommended to vacuum seal food that is going to be kept in the refrigerator for longer than a couple of days.
How Long Does Lettuce Usually Last?
The shelf life of lettuce hugely depends on which kind of lettuce you’re planning to store. It also depends on whether you’re storing entire heads of lettuce or just lettuce leaves on their own – the former stays fresh for longer than the latter.
However, lettuce usually stays fresh for around a week or slightly longer than that before it slowly starts to wilt. Varieties of lettuce such as Romaine lettuce is blessed with a longer shelf life closer to that of one month, while varieties such as butter lettuce may start to wilt in around five days instead. To prevent this, it’s best to look into ways to preserve the shelf life of lettuce.
Can You Vacuum Seal Lettuce?
Since you have seen that the shelf life of lettuce can be quite unpredictable – especially if you plan to buy a whole batch and use them for your salad requirements at any point of the month. It is best to look into shelf-life preservation methods – and a great method to do so is vacuum sealing lettuce, like other fresh vegetables. Can you vacuum seal lettuce? Yes, and it’s arguably the best preservation technique for lettuce. However, you don’t seal them into vacuum sealing bags but cannisters so they don’t get crushed. A commercial grade vacuum sealer does a better job at sealing when you’re using a cannister.
You can exponentially increase the shelf life of lettuce if you vacuum seal it – and this increase depends on how exactly you’re planning to vacuum seal it and how you’re preparing it before vacuum sealing it.
How Long Would Vacuum Sealed Lettuce Last?
You must know by now that vacuum sealing your lettuce is the way to go when you’re planning to store your lettuce for a while. It happens to be the best form of preservation for your lettuce, since other forms of preservation such as canning may not preserve your lettuce for a long time.
As we’ve mentioned before, the shelf life of your lettuce after vacuum sealing largely depends on your vacuum sealing technique and whether you’re doing it proficiently or not. Of course, other influencing factors are the vacuum canisters used and the quality of the vacuum sealer itself.
The increase may range anywhere from two times to three times the usual shelf life depending on these factors. External factors such as the state of your refrigerator and the cleanliness of your lettuce may also influence the preservation process a lot. If you attempt to vacuum seal moist lettuce, it may lead to mold formation quicker than dry lettuce.
How To Vacuum Seal Lettuce?
Before jumping right into the actual vacuum sealing process for your lettuce, you need to keep in mind the preparation stage that’s actually more important than the vacuum sealing stage. Remember to wash your lettuce thoroughly and make sure it’s clean before popping it into the sealer. You also need to make sure your lettuce is completely dried before the preservation stage and cut it up as neatly as possible.
The next stage is to choose the container that you’re going to keep your lettuce stored in. This is a crucial step since it is recommended to vacuum seal lettuce in jars and canisters more than plastic bags. Not only is the latter less eco-friendly, but the former ensures longevity as you would only need to reopen the jar or canister in order to use your lettuce.
If you’re using a canister or a jar, then it is recommended to use glass instead of plastic or other materials since it’s healthier. Can you vacuum seal lettuce in bags? You absolutely can, but plastic bags also compress your lettuce – something that does not happen when you’re using a jar or canister.
The last step is to perform the actual vacuum sealing – and for this, you’ll need your vacuum sealer. There are different kinds – some are optimized for vacuum sealing jars, some are wireless, etc. All vacuum sealers have comprehensive instructions attached to them, so you don’t have to worry about messing up!
The overall concept resembles you putting the rubber tip of the vacuum sealer into whatever container you’ve chosen to seal your lettuce and then using the vacuum sealer to suck out all the air from that container.
You don’t need to monitor your usage, since vacuum sealers are handy in the way that they automatically turn off when you’ve finished extracting all the air out of the container. Remember to lock your canister after this is done.
How to Reuse Vacuum Sealed Lettuce?
Now that you’ve sucessfully vacuum sealed your lettuce, congratulations! You can now store large amounts of lettuce at once and use it for your salad needs throughout a period of around two weeks.
A good trick to do so is to store small portions of lettuce in multiple canisters, jars, or pouches – whatever container you may be using – to reuse on different days. This ensures the least amount of exposure to outside air, which is ideal for long preservation periods.
Additionally, make sure that you avoid storing your lettuce with other vegetables – since if the latter starts to go bad, then your lettuce might be affected as well.
Related: Can you vacuum seal liquids?
As you may have discovered by now, vacuum sealing is the way to go when it comes to preserving lettuce. If you’d been previously struggling to incorporate lettuce into your diet on account of how quickly it wilted in your refrigerator, then you can save yourself the struggle by vacuum sealing your lettuce all at once for the next two weeks.
This delicious addition to salads and wraps can now be made more accessible to you – and look fresher at the same time before they start to look like droopy, wilting leaves instead. ‘Leaf’ it up to vacuum sealing to preserve your lettuce quickly and efficiently!