Lettuce is a very common vegetable and is available all year round. It is also very versatile and can be used in many ways. While it is true that you can eat it raw, in a salad, or even make a delicious sandwich, but what to do when you have a lot of lettuce leftover and run out of places you can use it?
You may be wondering if there is a way to freeze your lettuce. Well, yes, you can definitely freeze different types of lettuce, such as iceberg, arugula, coral, cress, butterhead, endive, escarole, little gem, looseleaf, oakleaf, radicchio, romaine, speckled, stem, and other varieties of lettuce. In fact, it is pretty common to freeze lettuce because fresh lettuce does not last as long as other vegetables.
Lettuce leaves are delicate. Straight-leaf lettuce tends to freeze more successfully than curly-leaf lettuce. Frozen lettuce is perfect for a delicious soup.
So, use the following methods to freeze your lettuce.
Can You Freeze Lettuce?
The easiest way to freeze lettuce is simply to chop it up, place it in the bag and freeze it. Yes, it is that easy. So, you can skip to the next section… Still, I am going to go through the obvious steps of preparation.
- First of all, take the lettuce from the bag that it comes in (I bet you did not see that coming! It is good that you did not skip this section 🙂 ).
- Cut off the stalk and separate the leaves.
- Wash the lettuce leaves, and then pat dry them.
- Dispose of any leaves that are discolored or appear to be gone off.
- Chop them up and place chopped lettuce leaves inside a bag.
When filling the bag with chopped lettuce, do not overfill. If there are too many leaves, they will get crushed, and the quality will be affected.
Press the freezer bag slightly to remove all excess air. Tie off or zip-lock the bag when you are done, and then freeze it.
Store The Lettuce In Cube Trays
The following method involves a bit of preparation but is relatively straightforward. You will need to remove the stem of the lettuce and wash the leaves to get rid of any dirt or bacteria.
After washing the leaves, place them inside a blender and add a bit of water. Then, begin to blend the leaves using a hand-held blender or food processor until they appear as puree.
When the work is completed, transfer pureed leaves into the freezer molds or cube trays. Once it settles, place the trays or molds into the freezer.
This method will not produce an utterly homogenized product. Still, it will give you a mix that is rich in nutrition and great in taste. Plus, the cubes are great for lettuce soups.
How Long Can Lettuce Be Frozen?
Lettuce can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. Freezing fresh lettuce is an option that is available for any lettuce. This will keep its healthful benefits and pleasant taste for longer. Texture… not so crunchy!
During the freezing stage, ice formation can cause the cell walls of the lettuce to get damaged and rupture. This is why there is no more crunchiness after defrosting.
You may not be able to feel the lettuce crunchiness as well as before, but the taste and health benefits are still there.
Factors To Consider When Freezing Lettuce
Some of the factors that can affect the freezing of the lettuce:
- Homegrown foods tend to freeze better than shop-bought. The same applies to lettuce. Homegrown lettuce spends less time in transit and in storage. It is much fresher.
- Thicker leaves should stay intact when handling lettuce, while the thinner leaves may rip. But this will not necessarily affect the freezing process as you will cut or process it into a puree. It could only affect you if you decide to freeze entire leaves (obviously, as they will be ripped).
- Do not freeze lettuce that has gone past its best before date. It is likely to go bad after defrosting.
- Do not place lettuce in the freezer if you will use it within a few days.
- Do not overfill the freezer bag, as you may crush the lettuce.
How To Defrost Lettuce?
This is probably the easiest part of the process. When you are ready to use lettuce, simply take it out of the freezer and then let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Do not leave the frozen lettuce sitting on the kitchen countertop. When leaves are defrosting, your kitchen countertop is going to get wet. Simply place the frozen lettuce into the bowl. This way, you will not have to worry about your kitchen countertops getting wet. Afterward, you can use the lettuce for your breakfast, salad, or soup.
After that, you can simply put it into the fridge (not the freezer) and keep it for a week. Do not freeze the same lettuce again. Not many foods can be refrozen.
If you freeze lettuce as a puree and you are going to use it in a soup, you do not need to wait. Just place a frozen lettuce cube into your delicious soup.
Other Ways Of Storing Lettuce
While it is true that freshness can make or break your meal, lettuce does not stay fresh in the fridge for long. Lettuce head can last up to 3 weeks, while the shelf life of loose leaves is a little shorter. They can last around one week. Keep an eye on your lettuce because once that freshness goes, it’s pretty much gone.
So, if you plan to use the lettuce within 3 weeks, it is more convenient to store it in the fridge instead of freezing it.
If you are going to store the head of lettuce in the fridge, no special storage conditions need to be applied. You can even keep it in the original packaging.
Should you decide to store individual leaves, you should store them in a container with an airtight lid placed in a fridge. It will keep the lettuce leaves fresh for longer.
Interested to learn how to store lettuce for even longer? The video below will show you how to do it easily by using moist tissue.
Lettuce can be frozen in its leaf form or processed into paste or puree, but it is much better to consume it fresh. While freezing provides a viable option, it is best to remember that frozen foods taste different from fresh foods.
Freezing is an option for those who buy in bulk, but it can be tricky to get the best taste out of frozen produce, which differs from fresh.
What To Do Next
I hope this article answers your questions. Check out our Growing Guides to learn more about how to grow plants of your choice. Learn and help your plants by reading these guides.
Also, check out other similar articles in our Gardening How To section.
Want to share your thoughts, or have you read something you disagree with? Please send us an email! We would love to discuss it 🙂