Freezing lettuce: is it possible and if so, how?

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If your eyes were bigger than lettuce when you went shopping, or if your home-grown heads of lettuce are all ready to be harvested at once, the question arises: where do you put all the lettuce? Many types of vegetables such as beans, peas, carrots or zucchini can be easily frozen and eaten later. The best way to do this is to clean, wash and blanch the vegetables and place them in bags or cans on ice. When preparing recipes, take only as much as you need and place the frozen food directly in the pot or pan for cooking. We usually eat lettuce raw and as fresh from the field as possible. Therefore, different rules apply to leafy, cut and head lettuces such as oak leaf, romaine and lollo rosso or blonde when it comes to freezing and thawing. We find out if you can freeze lettuce and give tips on how to store it properly.

Can you freeze salad greens?

Because common types of lettuce have a high water content, they are not suitable for refrigeration. Water will expand when it freezes and destroy the cellular structure of the lettuce leaves. As a result, the lettuce becomes soft when thawed and is no longer edible raw. Although the name suggests otherwise, iceberg lettuce is also not suitable for refrigeration. The variety of green leafy lettuce that cracks also loses shape, color and flavor due to frost. Lamb and endive lettuce salads are also not made for the fridge. The situation is similar to spinach or kale, whose fresh, young leaves add flavor and appearance to mixed salads. Once thawed, healthy leafy greens also become tender and therefore taste better cooked after being frozen.

Common leaf, cut and head lettuce varieties such as oak leaf, romaine or lollo rosso have a high water content. Because water expands when it freezes and destroys cell structure, most salads are not suitable for refrigeration. It is best to keep lettuce wrapped in a damp cloth in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. It stays there for a few days, but gradually loses nutrients, consistency and taste. It is best to eat lettuce as fresh as possible.

What salads can you freeze?

As with many things, there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to salads. For example with radicchio. It also loses its structure due to frost and is no longer suitable for making crunchy salads after it has thawed. However, if you want to store it for several months in order to use it in pasta, risotto or other warm recipes, you can refrigerate the radicchio. You have to clean it, wash it, blanch it in salt water or fry it a little in a pan and then freeze it in portions. Chicory is also suitable for freezing and cooking later. Cleaned and blanched, it can be refrigerated for a good ten months. On the other hand, rocket or rocket is cut into small pieces and placed in ice cube trays with water for storage. For example, you can use it to make smoothies.

The spicy flavor of arugula can be preserved by freezing, although the consistency suffers. We show what is important.

What is the best way to store lettuce?

Fresh salad contains more vitamins, making it particularly healthy and tastier. But often the lettuce harvest cannot be eaten immediately. Our advice: In this case, it is best to wrap whole heads of lettuce in a damp cloth and place them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Radicchio can be stored this way for up to a month. Arugula and loose leaf lettuce stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week. You have to wash them and dry them a little. The best way to store lettuce afterwards is in a plastic bag, foil bag or a vegetable box.

Practical video: planting lettuce

Don’t want to do without lettuce from your garden? In the video, our gardening professional Dieke van Dieken explains what to watch out for when planting lettuce.

As the saying goes? Lettuce should be buffeted by the wind after planting! What is it all about and what else should you consider when planting lettuce? Editor Dieke van Dieken explains in this video

Credits: MSG/CreativeUnit/Camera+editing: Fabian Heckle

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