Saving Wilted Lettuce With Ice Water Review – Does it Work?

5 out of 5 leaves

5 out of 5 leaves

“Eat your vegetables!” is a common theme we are all familiar with. To this end, a home chef will often plan a yummy green salad as a quick and easy side dish. Unfortunately, purchased lettuce can quickly wilt in the fridge if not cared for properly. While there are many suggestions for how to keep lettuce fresh, is it possible to save lettuce greens after they have wilted?

The Good

  • Better for you – revived lettuce greens mean more veggies in your tummy
  • Better for the Earth – saved greens means less waste to the landfill (or were you already composting?)
  • Saves money – preventing food from going to waste means you don’t have to buy it again
  • Super easy – lettuce greens can be perked up with simple items in your kitchen

The Bad

  • Takes 20-30 minutes to work, so if you are surprised by wilted greens at the last minute, dinner will be delayed

My Experience

Beautiful lettuce saved from the compost heap!

Recently our family tried out CSA delivery. While we enjoyed a wide variety of local, fresh, organic veggies, it seemed that the greens we received were always wilted the next day. Maybe the CSA lettuce was not as fresh as possible when we received it. Maybe my box was left in the sun too long. Maybe I didn’t store them in my fridge properly. Regardless, it was frustrating to reach into my fridge and pull out a bunch of limp, wilted lettuce. It was especially upsetting when I had included the greens in my weekly meal planning, and then had to come up with a replacement on the fly.

Then someone suggested that wilted lettuce could be revived by placing the leaves in a bowl of ice cold water with the juice of a lemon. Say what?! It seemed a little silly to me, but the next time I had wilted CSA greens, I decided to try it out. I placed the bunch of wilted lettuce in a large bowl, covered it with ice water from the fridge, squeezed a lemon into the bowl, and left it to sit for 20-30 minutes.

Half an hour later I peeked into the bowl and found fresh, crisp lettuce, ready to be made into a salad! I couldn’t believe it, but it worked! Lettuce that has been completely wilted had perked back up and was almost as good as new. I chopped it up and used it as a base for a yummy side salad. No one noticed a difference in the lettuce vs. fresh, and the little bit of lemon flavor added a nice tang to the salad. I left some of the leftover leaves in the bowl of water and they remained crisp until dinner the next day as well. Many thanks to the commenter who suggested this great green idea!

Do you have any simple amazing but true tricks that have worked for you in the kitchen?

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18 Responses to Saving Wilted Lettuce With Ice Water Review – Does it Work?

  1. Foxmom says:

    I have used that trick for years with lettuce. I never heard of adding lemon to it though so if you don’t have it cold water should still do the trick. If I have wilted lettuce for a salad I planned for lunch at work I just wash and tear it up anyway, without drying it out much. Fresh from the fridge at work it’s good as new, just drain off any settled water.

  2. Wow, I’ve never heard of this before! Sometimes I have to toss lettuce because it’s just far too wilted to be appetizing. I will definitely be trying this next time! Thanks.

  3. Bobbie says:

    Hey thanks for sharing this! It’s very relative to me right now. Nice photo too. Lemons are like beautiful kids for photo ops I think :). I always love my lemon photos.

    Thanks for linking.


  4. the says:

    If you like wilted lettuce salad, you can also do that. Takes full advantage of the wilted state! πŸ™‚

    Here’s how I do it for the two of us:
    Cut up a slice of bacon and about half an onion into small pieces and saute until onion is tender.

    Add a couple of T vinegar and a couple T of sugar to this. Sprinkle a little salt in it, too.

    Then when that’s still warm but not hot, pour over the top of your torn lettuce. We LOVE this. There are lots of variation, but this is one way. Of course, it wouldn’t be good to take to work

  5. Nancy says:

    Well this is a great tip — no more soggy lettuce! πŸ™‚

  6. Great tip! Found you at the DIY linky party and so glad I did! I love the idea behind your site! I shared a similar post on celery last week here:

    Looking forward to more of your posts!

  7. I’ve worked on a farm this past month and helped package the CSA’s with all the lettuce and greens. The past few weeks, CSA members have gotten a minimum of three heads of beautiful, gourmet lettuce–but unless you have a big family, three heads of lettuce is hard to eat in a week!

    What a great tip to pass on to them.

    • Victoria says:

      Wow – three heads of lettuce IS a lot. But so good! I love, love love a fresh salad with a simple vinegarette.

  8. Sam says:

    What a great trick! I have the same issue with my CSA greens: A bag of mixed greens and a head of lettuce, plus three different types of cooking greens–it’s a lot to get through in a week. Especially if one’s partner doesn’t “do salads”. Thanks for the tip!

  9. I haven’t tried this with lettuce, but I have had success doing this with celery. Great to know! Thanks for sharing it on Hearth & Soul Hop. πŸ™‚

  10. April Harris says:

    My late Mom used to revive lettuces in a bowl of ice water when I was a kid, but she never added the lemon. I think that sounds like a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing another great tip with us at Hearth and Soul πŸ™‚

  11. Pingback: Hearth & Soul Hop at Savoring Today 6/12