Can You Freeze Lettuce?

Can You Freeze Lettuce? Most food can be frozen, but some shouldn’t be. I would definitely read this before trying!

Food, such as vegetables, these days are usually frozen and thawed before cooking. This is because freezing vegetables is one of the easiest ways to preserve the quality of the food and can be kept longer for later consumption. It also saves time as the vegetables can be prepared beforehand and then frozen for later uses. To know how scroll down to read our article about freezing lettuce.

Lettuce: A leafy vegetable

Lettuce is one of the more popular green leafy vegetables, most often used in salads. It is also a great source of Vitamin A and K and also known to have a short life cycle. Lettuce is usually domestically grown in farms under a warm environment in several varieties – the one most commonly used lettuce is called Butterhead for its buttery and soft leaves – and ranges in different shades of green, purple, deep red, etc.

While the Butterhead variety is used commonly, the Crisphead variety is more suitable for long-distance shipment. This kind is used in the US the most; however, it is rarely found in other countries. Lettuce bulbs can also be harvested prior to blooming. This can be done by developing its leaves when the bulbs produce yellow flower heads from which achene fruits grow.

Lettuce in different dishes

Lettuce is usually used as the main ingredient in salads. It adds freshness and an extra crispiness to the texture of salads. Lettuce can be used in many other dishes, even dishes as simple as stir-frying the lettuce in soy sauce and garlic and having it with some rice. There are some varieties of lettuce, such as iceberg and crisphead, which can be eaten raw right after washing. It is advisable to always blanch lettuce leaves to destroy any remaining germs and bacteria which stay on lettuce naturally.

 Storing lettuce for days or weeks use

If you’re planning to immediately use lettuce, it’s best to buy a whole head of lettuce and then store it at a low temperature in the fridge after placing it in a plastic container. Before placing the lettuce head in the container, make sure to use saran wrap around the exposed base of the lettuce head to stop air from flowing in – if there is too much air circulating, the lettuce head will start to rot and give off a bad odor. Do not separate the leaves from the head of the lettuce as the root of a lettuce leaf being exposed to oxygen will cause it to wilt faster. 

Storing Lettuce for prolonged use

 Lettuce leaves are usually stored in plastic containers by many households. However, storage in plastic containers can worsen the condition and the quality of the lettuce leaves by making them soggy. This way, it results in the lettuce leaves losing their flavor.

 One of the full proof ways to make sure lettuce does not lose its quality while being frozen is to blanch it right after buying it. Blanching is a two-minute bath into hot simmering water which can be done following few easy steps.

• Firstly we have to detach the leaves from the bulb

• Next, we must wash the leaves thoroughly in cold tap water.

• Then, we have to steam blanch the leaves by placing the leaves in a pot filled with boiling water and with a tight lid, and a basket to hold the leaves about four inches above the bottom of the pot.

• This process will take a while but steam blanching will vastly make the texture, taste, and color of the leaves enhance.

• This method also stops the wilting process of lettuce any further. Right after steaming the lettuce, we have to place them on a cool surface and dab the excess water with paper towels.

Store the lettuce

 After we have the lettuce clean and blanched, we must make sure to contain them in airtight containers or zip lock bags. For that, follow the steps mentioned below

• There are specific plastic bags designed to store frozen leaf vegetables but a zip lock bag is a good alternative.

• Then carefully place the lettuce inside, making sure to emit as much air as possible when closing the bags shut. This step shall prevent the circulation of air that may will oxidation.

• Put in the freezer and store it for months.

These steps will prolong the goodness of lettuce however we suggest you purchase your greens freshly.

Can you freeze lettuce?

There are certain vegetables that can be a hassle to store and freeze without completely getting dried out and one of them is surely lettuce. It is quite possible to freeze lettuce but there are several disadvantages that come with freezing any vegetable. When we freeze lettuce, the water within the tissues of the lettuce turns into ice which causes it to expand and that can cause several kinds of damage to the tissues of the lettuce.

The water content of lettuce is high. After lettuce is frozen and later thawed, it can get soggy. In this process, lettuce may lose its freshness. As a result, a leafy vegetable like lettuce can get withered and grey. So, what do we have to do in order to make sure lettuce freezes properly?

Is it alright to freeze lettuce?

The formation of small ice crystals reserves the quality of lettuce when frozen. This allows the lettuce to still maintain its moisture even after being thawed. To make it possible for the small ice crystals to form properly – we have to place the zip lock bags carrying the lettuce leaves inside the freezer, on a flat surface, as soon as we are done closing the zip lock bags. If we don’t do this quickly, large ice crystals will form which gives the lettuce a very spongy texture as the large ice crystals break the plant cells. The small ice crystals form when the lettuce leaves are frozen quickly and kept at a constant temperature of 0° or lower for the entire storage process. As a result, when the lettuce leaves are taken out again to be consumed – they will remain crisp and fresh.

Bottom Line

While lettuce can be frozen – it is a very time consuming and lengthy process to go through to ensure that the lettuce leaves remain of good quality. The advisable and easiest way to use lettuce in cooking is to buy it in small portions instead of a whole lettuce head as this way; there is no hassle of steam blanching and flash freezing.