Food supply shortages set to last long-term predicts farmer
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Lettuce is one item of food that decays quickly; it goes brown and wilted, sometimes soggy, and can start to smell. For anyone wanting to keep an iceberg lettuce head, or romaine lettuce fresh and crispy for three weeks or more, Mike from Kitchen Tips Online has a clever solution.
Mike asked: “What causes lettuce to turn brown or wilt in the first place?
“The answer is ethylene gas, which is naturally produced by lettuce and other plants when they start to decay, or when the plant thinks it’s been injured it decays right away.
“If you look at the way the manufacturer delivers the product to the store, you can see it’s been completely wrapped in plastic.
“The romaine lettuce is not only in a plastic container, but it actually has a sealed plastic film.”
He continued: “The purpose of that is to stop the product from ethylene gas from outside sources.
“For example, apples give off ethylene gas while they deteriorate, that’s why they say one bad apple spoils the whole crate, because as it decays it goes off more ethylene gas causing the other fruit to ripen, so if we protect this from outside sources of ethylene gas, the lettuce will last longer.”
Mike also spoke about bagged salads: “Pre-mixed salads, what causes them to deteriorate quicker than say if you just bought just the head of lettuce.
“Lettuce gives off ethylene gas but at a very small rate.
“When you chop up all those other vegetables and put them in the bag, they deteriorate quickly and give off more ethylene gas than the lettuce, causing the lettuce to deteriorate.”
He wondered: “What can you do to make your lettuce stay fresher for longer in your fridge?
“Well, take a clue from the manufacturer – now obviously we have to open the lettuce and remove it from the plastic bag.
“And by the way, you shouldn’t remove it from the plastic bag until you’re ready to eat it.
“But once you’ve eaten it, you should take it and put it into a ziplock bag and remove the air,” Mike did this by sucking the air out but also suggested using a straw to do so.
“What we’re trying to do is mimic what the manufacturer has done.”
He then advised: “Store the lettuce in the coldest part of your fridge – usually the lower drawer, and it will last for at least three weeks.”
But does this storage hack work? Hundreds of people left comments below the YouTube video, sharing their thoughts.
Sandra Knapp commented: “Just wanted to let you know. I watched your video a while back, and then tried out your tip for keeping lettuce and celery. All I can say is THANK YOU!! My head of lettuce stayed fresh and green for five entire weeks, as I shaved off a little at a time, when I made sandwiches. Five Entire Weeks! I was struck dumb and I’ve been telling everyone I see about your tip!”
Terry Brown said: “I find that tearing lettuce into nice usable sizes, (never use a knife, scissors etc.) and then placing into a large Zip lock bag, after adding a paper towel at bottom and then at top. I take air out by simply rolling the bag to just leave minimum space for the lettuce. Just a method I use but I can make my lettuce eatable and delicious for close to a month.”
Someone with the username Big Red wrote: “Thank you. Saw this last week and it 100 percent works. No more wasted lettuce!”
Joanne Hubbs offered an alternative storage hack: “I have been storing heads of iceberg lettuce in tin foil and keeping them in the crisper. They last about a month if the foil is properly closed.”
User Actionronnie suggested: “For pre mixed salads. I put a new paper towel in the bag everyday, keeps it crunchy & lasts about five to seven days longer than normal.”
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