This wonderful lettuce is one of my favorites, cleaning it and prepping it for different meals is easy when you know how. How to clean and store your lettuce is so important, since you want it to last in your refrigerator and if you follow this How To you will be certain to never waste another leaf 🙂
Romaine lettuce is packed with nutritional value such as Protein, Calcium, Omega-3’s, Vit-A, Iron, Vitamin B family, Water, Vit-K, and Mineral Rich. Usually the key ingredient in Caesar Salads and has a nice fine-bitter herb taste. I love this lettuce for many uses in the kitchen from stir fry’s, as a bed for tuna fish salads, sandwiches, and of course added to my Italian Salads for a nice crunch when mixed with red leaf and green leaf lettuces. This lettuce will give you the crunch you are wanting from a iceberg lettuce but with the added levels of nutrients but do not rule out the good old Iceberg – when you actually look at the nutritional value of Iceberg it has plenty of nutritional value, so that old myth is blown out of the water and I will add it to salads as well. But lets get back to Romaine 🙂
This lettuce is in my Super Supper Parsley Chicken Salad where it adds flavor as well as body to the dish and also gives bright color contrast which of course as the old saying goes we eat with our eyes first. If food looks good your mind will make your body want it.
I added a link at the bottom which will help you in storing lettuce in general and tools to make it easier as well as last longer so be sure to check it out. Or you can see it now here Storing Lettuce for Freshness
What You Will Need:
Lettuce Spinner (or paper towels if you do not have one)
Sharp Flat Blade Large Knife
- 1-3 Large Heads of Romaine Lettuce
- Water (Sink with sprayer or a Low stream of COLD water from the tap)
Inspect your lettuce, look for any imperfections like bruises or limp leafs. In the pictures below you will notice I had one leaf that was wilting a bit the rest was upright. I tore just below the wilt since the rest of that leaf was fine.
The stem of the lettuce will be cut off as shown but only cut about 1 ½ inches or up to the point where you do not see any blemishes on the stem end. This will loosen up the large leafs and now you can look at those and tear off any parts that appear to be weak or blemished. You do not want to cut all the way up since you may have lettuce that is fine on one leaf and not on another so do the bruise removal leaf by leaf.
Sometimes the tops are not that great depending on the time of the season and also how your store replaces stock. If the tops look wilted as shown below then cut the top off as well. I usually do not have to do this but for this demonstration I did. Do not remove too much here with the knife since cutting lettuce usually adds a bit of bitterness to it and this is the part that will give that the most if cut. Usually I tear off the tops that are browned or wilted and discard.
The first stem cut may only get rid of part of the stem since the plant grows from that point up there may be a secondary stem on the inside for the next level of leafs. If so, as shown below, cut about 1 inch this time since you will not have as much blemished lettuce on the inside as you would on the first cut of the stem.
Separate each leaf and look for anything that you may want to tear off and discard and place in colander upright as shown.
Once all the lettuce has been properly prepped, place the colander under low running COLD water or as I show you here, I use my sprayer on low and be sure to rinse the fronts and backs of each leaf. Let them stay in the colander and drip dry at room temp this can take up to 1-2 hours plus you will need clean paper towels to pat off any water still on the leafs before storing it. “Or” proceed to the next step if you have a lettuce spinner which then you will have lettuce ready for storing in just a few pulls
The Lettuce Spinner is one tool every household should have. Seriously, if you are like me and love your lettuce this is a time saver and money saver. Lettuce will brown if water is trapped in the lettuce when you store it and this eliminates the water from your delicate lettuce leafs. They are super inexpensive but there are some on the market that are up there in price. The one shown, I purchased at Target for only $9.00 and the amount of lettuce it has saved me down the road, it has literally paid for itself, not to mention the amount of paper towels as well.
Place the lettuce in the inner basket of the spinner, here you may have to tear pieces to fit or you may tear all of them and get them ready for a salad mix. I only tear to fit the spinner since some I use in sandwich wraps, bedding under mayo type salads or for regular sandwiches.
Fill only until just below the basket, place the lid on and pull the handle that makes the inner basket turn. Be sure to get a good speed on the spinner but not too much of a pull that you break it. After it has turned a few times, use the stopper on the top and inspect your lettuce. Move it around and proceed again to spin a few more times.
Remove the lid and remove the inner basket with the lettuce, you will see all the water that was pulled off your lettuce at the bottom of the main bowl. See below how much water it took off.
You are now done and at this point you can store your lettuce. To see how to store your Beautiful Romaine lettuce use this link Storing Lettuce for Freshness