Lettuce in plastic containers

We’re totally disgusted with the many, many times we’ve bout 50/50 lettuce mix at our local markets and had it go all soggy and sliming after just a few days. We switched from the large container to the smaller one but the max life seems to be 5-6 days, just a day or so longer than the bigger one. Apparently this is a moisture problem.

I’ve seen online advice to wash the lettuce and use a spinner or keep it surrounded by paper towels. The first is way too much work IMHO, the second doesn’t really work.

Is this type of lettuce mix only good for 2-3 days at best? We’ve noticed that the dark reddish variety in the mix seems to go bad first and slimes the others. Do other mixes last longer? Is keeping it in the fridge the problem? We’d really like to find a solution. TIA

The solution is to buy fresh lettuce. Not some lettuce leaves that were processed weeks ago. Then bring the lettuce home, wash it, shake off the water and wrap in a clean cotton towel. It will keep in the crisper drawer 7-10 days at minimum.


I’ve had the same problem. I now buy it only if I know I’ll use it within 48 hours.

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This website tested 5 ways:

The two successful methods were paper towel lined bowl with changing the paper towel on a daily basis or wash, spin dry, and store the entire salad spinner in the fridge.

I usually use the paper towel method but I don’t change it everyday. I wonder if going the complete opposite direction would work - keep the lettuce completely submerged in a bowl of water inside the fridge.

The article says storing in the spinner is problematic because of space and of being able to use the spinner for other things. But analyze WHY it works. It gets the greens fairly but not entirely dry, and allows the sealed-in air to circulate under and around the leaves. So, how about using a steamer basket or strainer inside a sealable container or plastic bag? Worth a try. I would put a damp paper towel beneath the basket but not touching it.

You have got to remember the salad will have been picked and processed days before you buy it. Its kept in a stable condition because of the “Modified Atmosphere Packaging” which typically uses 5% Oxygen, 15% Carbon dioxide, and 80% nitrogen. This inhibits bacterial deterioration and the development of molds and yeasts - however once opened the ageing process seems to accelerate and its age catches up with it quite rapidly.

The simple way to get a longer shelf life is to buy fresh whole salads rather than packaged ones. But even the freshest salad leaves straight out of the garden have a pretty short shelf life…no matter how you keep them.

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If the solution is so involved as to defeat the purpose of buying a pre-washed mix I’m not sure it’s worth it. We used to buy heads of red lettuce, butter lettuce, and romaine, but the total amount was more than we needed. The pre-mixed stuff is a great idea with lettuce types we wouldn’t get otherwise. May just buy the small size and toss early.

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I think it’s just the nature of spring mixes, the more delicate varieties in the mix only last a few days.

I just always plan to eat my salad greens within 2-3 days, i have never had greens long enough that they go slimy…
my parents love a costco bargain so they gets the bucket size tub of baby spinach (which is cheap vs individual bags) and i watched dad dump the container out on the counter then layer paper towel, leaves, paper towel, leaves in light fluffy layers. We used it rather quickly since we had salads at least once a day and then on day three i sautéed the rest so it didn’t have a chance to turn.

Greens actually should not stay fresh for that long, delicate lettuces are by nature very perishable.
I think buy a smaller package of the delicate greens to eat in the next 2-3days, day 3 sautee anything left. At the same time buy a more hearty salad green like romaine or iceburg or nappa cabbage for the remaining days of the week if you aren’t able to get more fresh greens midweek.


Absolutely, but short of picking out all the dark red lettuce when you open the container, I have no solution. :frowning:

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr