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5 Tips for Extending the Life of Salad Greens & Other Produce

Two OXO Salad Spinners in a fridge, fruits and vegetables in Debbie Meyer GreenBags, and fruits and veggies in OXO GreenSaver containers in a fridge.
OXO/Debbie Meyer

Making fresh salads is a great way to get your daily dose of veggies. However, it’s a challenge if you don’t have time to go to the grocery store or farmer’s market frequently. Luckily, we’ve got some tips for prolonging the lifespan of your greens.

Most people would like to limit their trips to the grocery store. If you’re only having to food shop once every two weeks, bravo! That takes some solid meal planning, especially if you’ve got hungry kiddos eating everything in sight.

If you’re trying to eat healthier, though, you don’t have to skimp on salads just because the ingredients only stay fresh for a few days. With these tips and tricks, you can get those precious greens to last for up to 10-14 days, or longer!

Add a Paper Towel

First, thoroughly wash and dry your leaves. Use a salad spinner or towel to get them extra dry. Technically, you can skip this step if the greens are prewashed, but it’s a good opportunity to pick over them, tossing out anything that looks yucky.

Next, wrap them with dry paper towels. Any type will do, but we recommend using unscented to prevent your greens from smelling funny.

Why paper towels? Well, it absorbs the extra moisture released from your greens, and thus, keeps them ultra-fresh. Don’t believe us? Check out the video above to see the proof.

After you’ve wrapped them up, you need to select a storage container for your salad ingredients. For greens you intend to eat within the week, a ziplock bag will work. Easy, right?

If you want your greens to stay fresh for up to 10-14 days, use a firm plastic container instead of a bag. This will give them more room to breath and keep them from getting squashed. Either a Tupperware container or the plastic container the greens came in will work.

Simply line the container with paper towels, toss in your greens, and then cover with another layer of paper towels before sealing the lid.

Store Them in a Salad Spinner

A salad in the bowl included with the OXO Salad Spinner.
OXO

You gotta wash your greens anyway, so why not store them in the salad spinner? Many say this gives greens more air to breath, limits moisture, and keeps them from getting damaged by heavier items in your fridge.

Sure, it’ll take up more space in your fridge, but you’ll have fresh greens for days! You can take it a step further by combining this method with the paper towel method we described previously.

Use Special Veggie Storage Bags or Containers

Two Oxo GreeSaver Containers with produce in them.
OXO

It’s often claimed that reusable veggie bags will extend the life of your produce, but is this true? Well, as it turns out, this is one claim you can trust!

Fruits and veggies release ethylene gases as part of their ripening process. This is what causes your lettuce and salad greens to wilt when kept for too long. These special bags slow down that process by removing the ethylene gas, and thus, prolonging the “fresh” phase of your veggies.

However, the bags don’t work forever. Pay attention to the recommended number of uses listed on the package and buy some new ones once you’ve reached the limit.

Alternatively, you can opt for these produce keepers. They’re durable, long-lasting, and have a nontoxic activated carbon filter trap, which absorbs the ethylene gas. Plus, the removable basket also works as a colander.

Remove Gross Leaves

Mesclun and spring salad mixes tend to spoil the quickest. This is usually due to a few bad leaves, which, unfortunately, drag the rest down with them.

When you first get your greens home, immediately discard any questionable leaves. Then, check on them daily and remove anything that looks slimy, gross, or rotten. It takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it to have those yummy salads.

Buy Heartier Greens

A spinach strawberry salad in a wooden bowl.
Well Plated by Erin

Certain fragile greens, such as mesclun and spring mixes, just don’t have the oomph to last for weeks on end—even if you implement all our tricks.

However, if you balance out those delicate greens with some more robust options, you can easily enjoy a nice salad every day for two weeks straight.

Add some of these heartier options to your shopping cart:

  • Kale: Not everyone loves the toughness of kale, but you can chop it finely, mixing it in with other greens. This grilled pineapple kale salad is divine.
  • Cabbage: A head of this can last for weeks in your fridge if stored in a GreenBag. Chop it finely to make a delicious slaw.
  • Spinach: These leaves tend to be more durable than the finicky spring mixes. Don’t believe us? Try this spinach strawberry salad.
  • A head of lettuce: A sturdy head of lettuce will last longer than most pre-packaged mixes. Pair it with our vinaigrette dressing recipe for a healthy and satisfying meal.

There’s no need to forgo fresh salad greens just because you can’t get to a store every few days. If you stock up on your next trip to the grocery, use a few (or all) of these tricks, and you’ll be enjoying fresh and tasty salads for at least the next few weeks.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »

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