Would you like to quit buying expensive bags of cut lettuce? Read about “An Amazing Way To Make Chopped Lettuce Last Longer” whereby a plain lettuce salad is vacuum-packed into in a Mason jar. Not only will your cut lettuce last longer, but it will be healthy pre-prepared convenience food you can grab quickly for lunch.
Do you wish you were eating more lettuce/salads?
I used to feel the same way, but I thought it was too much trouble–especially when I was hungry and ready to eat ASAP.
Now I’m a DAILY salad eater and you can be, too!
Why? Because having a salad no longer means washing the lettuce, spinning it dry, then tearing or cutting it into bite-size pieces. The preparation can all be done up to 10 days ahead of time in one 30-minute session (with practice).
When I’m ready to eat, all I have to do is pop open the lid, dump the chopped lettuce into a bowl, and decide what else I’m in the mood to eat in my salad.
What is the secret to getting chopped lettuce to last longer?
Chopped romaine lettuce will stay crisp and fresh for 7-10 days when vacuum-packed in a glass Mason jar and stored in the refrigerator.
Bear in mind that we’re assuming the lettuce is relatively fresh. Hanging around in some warehouse or your fridge for too long is going to compromise the length of storage for a jar of salad prepared this way.
My method takes less than 30 minutes (with a little practice) and minimal equipment to prepare 6-9 quart-size jars. Prep should not take hours (unless you decide to pack lots of extras into the jar).
Five benefits of vacuum-packing lettuce:
Unnecessary to tear lettuce leaves by hand or cut with a plastic knife
No getting out your chopping board and salad spinner every day to make a salad
On the run? Grab a jar and take it with you.
Save money–especially when you buy lettuce in bulk
No more wasting money on prepackaged salads that often aren’t fresh the day you bring them home.
Here’s what you need:
- Hearts of Romaine lettuce
- Sharp knife (My favorite is a Wusthoff Santoku knife.)
- Chopping board
- Salad spinner
- Very large mixing bowl
- Wide-mouth jar attachment-about $9
- Clean quart-size Mason glass jars with 2-part metal lids
- Full-size vacuum-pack machine or a portable vacuum-device (much cheaper and easier to store)
How to prepare the lettuce for vacuum-packing:
How to fill and seal chopped lettuce in Mason jars:
Ready to eat a salad?
Pop the lid and empty a jar of lettuce into a bowl or onto a plate. Add whatever extras you want. I often add other varieties of lettuce–the kind that is too delicate for vacuum-packing, for example, spinach, arugula, or spring mix.
Enjoy the good feeling that comes with eating healthy vegetables.
Please note: The tomatoes were not packed with the lettuce. They are just for looks.
3 FAQ about this amazing way to make chopped lettuce last longer:
Why vacuum-pack instead of just using a regular screw-on lid?
The secret to the success of vacuum-packed salad-in-a-jar is the removal of oxygen. Oxygen will eventually turn cut lettuce edges brown. See this post for a pictorial comparison of various methods of lettuce storage.
Why not just store clean lettuce in a plastic bag with a paper towel?
You can do that if you leave the lettuce whole, un-chopped and un-torn. It will last longer than buying a bag of chopped lettuce from the store, for sure. However, the romaine will still need to be cut or torn into smaller pieces before eating.
For me, that’s too much trouble when I walk in the door hungry. I like to have everything ready to grab-and-go, with leaves already in small pieces and prepared to pour into a bowl and eat.
Can I add other vegetables or favorite salad ingredients?
You can, but the shelf-life of additional vegetables varies compared to the lettuce. For example, while the vacuum-packed salad may still be fresh for several days, the sliced cucumbers you packed with it can go south within 2-3 days depending on their freshness.
I prefer to stick to lettuce only in my jars. That way I can decide each day what I will eat with it depending on my mood and availability of fruits, veggies, or leftovers in my fridge. Click here to read more on the subject.
Where can I get more information about this “Amazing Way To Make Chopped Lettuce Last Longer”?
Commenter Rick did a study about the effectiveness of the vacuum-packing process and posted his results here. You can read through the comments on this post for more opinions.
First published in 2009, this post was updated in 2019.
For more information about which vacuum-pack machine to buy, see the related posts below.
How To Vacuum-Pack Lettuce for Less
What Happens If I Add Extras to My Jars of Lettuce?
Are You Tired of Wasting Money on Lettuce Gone Bad?
Why the Lettuce Experiment Will Make Your Life Easier
12 FAQ About Vacuum-Packing Chopped Lettuce That Stays Fresh Longer
Using a Handheld Device to Vacuum-Pack Lettuce
What Is the Best Vacuum-Pack Machine for Saving Lettuce?
Is a Plastic Knife a Substitute for Vacuum-Packing Lettuce?
If you make this and enjoy the recipe, it would help me and others if you would return to this post and leave a rating (on the recipe card itself underneath the picture). Although always appreciated, no comment is required. Thanks so much! Paula
- Fresh romaine lettuce (I use hearts of romaine because the inner leaves last longer than the dark green leaves on a whole head of romaine.) In general, one "heart of romaine" lettuce will fill one quart jar, but that varies.
- Wash romaine lettuce well, leaving the leaves intact at the base.
- Cut lengthwise through the entire head at least 4-5 times.
- Now slice crosswise about 3/4 to 1 inch apart according to your preference.
- Fill salad spinner and run under the faucet one more time. Spin dry.
- Dump into a very large bowl. Fill jars with chopped, spun-dry lettuce. I pack them as tightly as possible.
- Seal jars using a wide-mouth jar attachment and a vacuum-pack machine. Screw on rings as insurance to keep lid sealed.
- Refrigerate up to 10 days depending on how fresh your lettuce is when you started this process.
The number of servings or quart jars you end up with depends on how many heads of romaine you use and how compact and large they are. It will also be affected by how tightly you pack the lettuce into the jars.
- FoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealer Machine
- Reynolds Handi-vac Vacuum Storage System
- Ball Mason Jars Wide Mouth 32 oz Bundle with Non Slip Jar Opener- Set of 4 Quart Size Mason Jars - Canning Glass Jars with Lids
- OXO Steel Salad Spinner
- Wusthof Trident Classic Ikon 7” Santoku Knife 4176-7
- :FoodSaver Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer T03-0023-01, New For Wide Mouth Pint Quart & Gal:New by WW shop
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 54 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 25mg Carbohydrates: 10g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 4g Protein: 4g