How to Freeze Lettuce? and How to Use Frozen Lettuce?

How to freeze lettuce

Lettuce is used in so many dishes in lots of families around the world. But like every other food, lettuce doesn’t last forever, so you may want to preserve it. While it is possible to preserve the lettuce in the fridge, there is the idea of freezing lettuce to keep it for even longer for later use. But lettuce doesn’t behave like meat in the freezer, so how to freeze it properly? How to use frozen lettuce?

You can definitely freeze lettuce, but not every type of lettuce can be frozen, and frozen lettuce can’t be used in every dish the same as before freezing.

If you want to make a salad, you shouldn’t use frozen lettuce. But if you want to cook the lettuce or use it for flavoring normally, you can use frozen lettuce.

What happens to lettuce when you freeze it?

Here is why you don’t want to use frozen lettuce to make salad.

When put lettuce in freezer, the water inside the lettuce will freeze as well and form ice crystals in the plant cell walls. The ice can damage the plant cells since ice takes up more room than water with the same volume.

For some vegetables like peas or corn, damaged cells aren’t too visible since these vegetables contain lots of starch and little water.

But for lettuce, which has a large amount of water inside, the damage will be more noticeable and looks like a slimy mess. That’s the opposite of what you want the lettuce to be in a salad.

What types of lettuce can you freeze?

Here are the 2 things that can consider if you can freeze the lettuce: type of lettuce and provenance or its origin.

Types

Some types of lettuce that can be frozen include romaine (Cos types), Boston (bib types, or also known as Butterhead), or those that blend traits of these two types (such as Little Gem).

The thicker-leafed lettuces like romaine or butterhead tend to handle freezing better than the iceberg lettuce. But after freezing, they will lose some of its crispness and taste.

Different types of lettuce
Different types of lettuce

Those types of lettuce come in many forms of leaf color, maroon speckles, chartreuse, deep burgundy, or rich green.

Lots of lettuce types that can be frozen are heirloom varieties which can be found easily on the market and grown from seed so easily.

You can grow them yourself. All you have to do is tuck them in a traditional vegetable garden, flower beds, or even shallow container; and and that is enough for a great crop.

Provenance

The more middleman the lettuces has to come through, the more they lose their original properties. This is why it’s best to grow your own lettuces or purchase them from local farmers.

Those lettuce came out fresh from the farm and didn’t have to ensure shipping and storing like those from the supermarket, so they generally hold up better during the freezing period.

Further reading: Can You Freeze Potatoes? Let’s Find Out!

How to freeze lettuce?

Using freezer bag

  1. Start by separating the lettuce’s leaves and washing them well. You can also remove some leaf bases or leaves that are ruined
  2. Use towels to blur the leaves to dry them thoroughly. Make sure there is as little water as possible since as mentioned, the ice crystals can ruin the leaves. Also, remember to handle the lettuce gently since it is relatively fragile
  3. Put the leaves on a cookie sheet and freeze it
  4. Then, transfer the leaves into a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container and remove the air out of the bag as much as possible
  5. Seal the bag and place it in the freezer. You can seal the bag by using a vacuum sealer

Using ice cube trays

  1. Puree the lettuce with a little water
  2. Freeze it in ice cube trays
  3. Transfer all the cubes into an airtight freezer bag prior to putting them in freezer
Further reading:  Mini Fridge in the Bedroom: Is It Good for Your Health?

These cubes can be used in making smoothies, cooking rice, or adding nutrition to soup.

How long can lettuce be frozen?

For the best quality of frozen lettuce, it should be used within 6 months. After being frozen, the defrosted lettuce will no longer has the similar taste as the fresh one. Therefore, you should not use frozen lettuce for salads or your sandwich.

How to make lettuce last longer in freezer?

Refrigerator is not the best place for keeping lettuce, so the way you prepare lettuce will help to preserve and keep it fresh longer.

  • Cut the stalk off
  • Remove any brown or damaged leaves
  • Wash them thoroughly using cool, clean and running water
  • Make the leaves dry completely
  • Extract the air from the bag before sealing it
  • Do not over pack the bag
  • Use the airtight bags for freezing
  • Label with date and put them in freezer

With these steps, your lettuce will remain fresh and edible for longer.

What dishes can you use frozen lettuce for?

You can use frozen lettuce in the following dishes.

  • Used frozen lettuce in stir fries
Frozen vegetable stir-fry
Frozen vegetable stir-fry
  • Made into French peas, with 1 layer of frozen lettuce at the bottom, 1 layer of peas, and many more lettuce leaves on top, then cook the whole thing slowly until the peas are thoroughly cooked.
French peas and frozen lettuce
French peas and frozen lettuce
  • Used in soup
Creamy Lettuce Soup
Creamy Lettuce Soup
  • Be substituted when any recipe needs spinach
Easy Lettuce Quiche
Easy Lettuce Quiche
  • Whole leaves can be used as wraps, just remember to defrost them in the fridge overnight
  • Braised in chicken broth and butter, or used with oyster sauce for Asian style

How to defrost lettuce?

Apply these simple steps to defrost it.

  • Take the frozen lettuce out of the fridge
  • Remove it from its frozen packaging
  • Place the leaves at room temperature until it is defrosted

You should put some paper towels under the leaves to absorb the moisture because the frozen lettuce will slowly thaw out. This way will take time, but it is safe for the lettuce.

Related Questions

Can you freeze a lettuce salad?

Yes. Lettuce salad can be frozen, and it can last up to 6 months in freezer. Once defrosted, frozen salad is safe to eat but there will be changes in its taste. It is not delicious as the fresh salad because the frozen lettuce lost its crispiness.

What happens if you eat bad lettuce?

Frozen lettuce is safe to eat when it is prepared, cooked and frozen properly. Freezing just slows down the bacteria’s growth, it cannot kill bacteria. Therefore, it is important to freeze and defrost lettuce in the right way to ensure food safety. However, if you accidentally eat the bad lettuce, you may have diarrhea, chronic vomiting, or stomach cramps. These symptoms will appear a couple of days after eating the food.

How to use lettuce that is going bad?

During freezing process, you may store the lettuce improperly and it is about to turn bad. If it is completely rotten, slimy, and stinky you should discard it.

If your lettuce is just a bit dull and lost crispness, you can still save it. Follow these suggestions to use it.

Making a smoothie: As the leaf has a mild and fresh taste, it will become a good juice or smoothie.

Cooking stir-fry dishes: Make these side dishes for your family. You enjoy the delicious food while your fridge has more space.

Cooking a soup: Lettuce leaves can combine well with spices and herbs to become a creamy soup.

Conclusion

Overall, you can freeze lettuce and use it to cook many dishes, but it shouldn’t be used to make salad. You will need to choose the right type of lettuce and prepare it properly before freezing.

Reference

1. Can you make lettuce last longer,

2. Freeze lettuce for longer, friskyforks.com, Retrieved on Oct. 15, 2021

3. Freezing Lettuce Guide, hgtv.com, Retrieved on Oct. 19, 2021

Jenny Brown
Hi, I’m Jenny. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, a compact fridge or freezer becomes one of the essential items in many homes. On my blog, you will find helpful advice about using and organizing these kitchen appliances. You will also receive the recommendations on choosing a compact refrigerator or freezer that best fits your demands. Besides, frozen meals from the freezer bring many incredible benefits because they ensure freshness, deliciousness, and full nutrients. Many helpful tips from experts on frozen meals will also be found.