How Paper Towels Can Keep Your Salad Greens Fresh All Week Long

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As convenient as it would be to buy salad greens in bulk, the fact of the matter is that there's a good chance they'll wilt before you get the chance to actually use them up. Salad greens have a relatively short shelf life, and it can be even shorter if you don't store them properly. You might assume that keeping them in a dry, airtight plastic storage bag is the best solution, but as it turns out, this is precisely what can cause them to wilt. The same thing can also happen if the leaves are too wet.

While most people settle for keeping them in the crisper drawer of their refrigerator and hope for the best, there's a more effective way to store salad greens. All you need is some paper towels and a container with plenty of breathing room. Utilizing these will create the best balance of moisture and dryness, allowing your salad to stay fresher for far longer.

Dry vs. wet paper towels

If you've seen the paper towel storage hack being shared across TikTok, you'll notice that most people use dry paper towels. The common misconception is that a dry paper towel is needed in order to absorb the excess moisture from the leaves, but the truth is that a damp paper is ideal since a too-dry storage environment leads to wilting. For best results, dry the actual leaves using a salad spinner so the main source of moisture is contained within the damp paper towel.

@emma_mavilla

Lettuce Storage Hack Store your lettuce this way and it will last, staying crispy and fresh, for 2-3 weeks! •Chop your lettuce •Wash in your salad spinner •Put two paper towels folded together to make a square in the bottom of your airtight container •I put two handfuls and then another set of paper towels •Repeat this process until your container is full or you're out of lettuce! Lettuce lasts 2-3 weeks stored this way. Tag me if you try it! 🥬 #lettucestorage #lettuce #lettucetower #lettucehack #lettucehacks #lettucelover #saladsoftiktok #saladhack #hack #hacksoflife #lettucespinner

♬ Tennessee Orange – Megan Moroney

Salad greens usually stay fresh for a week at most before they start to turn, but if you store them with paper towels, you'll be able to keep them for longer. To ensure maximum freshness, TikTok user Emma Mavilla recommends alternating layers of paper towels and greens in a large plastic container, but placing a single sheet on top of the salad greens can also work well.

An extra step to further extend your salad's shelf life

It's impossible to prevent salad greens from eventually going bad, but if you need to stretch the shelf life a bit longer, one thing you can do is add carbon dioxide along with the damp paper towels because the gas is scientifically proven to slow the wilting process. In her cookbook "Around My French Table" Dorie Greenspan explains that your own breath can be used as a source of carbon dioxide. Simply breathe into the storage container, then quickly close it up. It's worth mentioning that this method isn't very sanitary if you plan to make a salad for a crowd, but luckily there are other ways to accomplish the same results.

Cook's Illustrated explains another method that involves freezing white vinegar in a small container and sprinkling baking soda in a thin layer on top once the vinegar is solid. This container can be lightly covered with a paper towel secured with a rubber band, and then stored in the same container as the salad greens. Over time, as the vinegar melts and mixes with the baking soda, it will release carbon dioxide. If you happen to own a Soda Stream, you can also just pump some carbon dioxide into your salad container. But, even if you decide not to go the extra mile and opt to just use damp paper towels instead, your salad will still stay fresh for far longer than if you were to leave it in its original packaging.

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