How Long Does Lettuce Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 to 3 days

Lettuce is a popular vegetable used widely for its leaves and stems. It is an annual plant and its scientific name is Lactuca sativa. The use of lettuce is predominant in food cultures that involve high consumption of salad, soups or sandwiches.

Lettuce is a great source of vitamins like Vitamin K and Vitamin A. It is also abundant in nutrients like folate and iron. Thus, the consumption of lettuce has several benefits other than its great taste.

It often happens that people buy vegetables in excess but do not know when they will be unusable. This article explores the usable period of lettuce.

How Long Does Lettuce Last?

Type of LettuceUsable Period In Refrigerator
Leaf Lettuce1 to 2 weeks
Head Lettuce1 to 3 weeks
Lettuce leavesA week

The period for which lettuce is usable depends on the type and part of lettuce bought and stored. In addition to that, the place of storage of lettuce, in the refrigerator or in open, also determines for how long can lettuce be in a usable condition.

There are various types of lettuce available in the market. Some prominent ones which are used widely are leaf lettuce, head lettuce and lettuce leaves.

Leaf lettuce is a very common type of lettuce used. The varieties of leaf lettuce are romaine and butterhead. It is also known as loose-leaf lettuce and can be safely stored in the refrigerator for a week to two while it can be kept in the open for four to five days.

Head lettuce is another common type of lettuce used in kitchens and Iceberg lettuce is a well-known variety of head lettuce. Lettuce of this variety can be stored in the refrigerator for a week to three weeks. At the same time, head lettuce can be stored for nearly a week in the open, if fresh at the time of purchase.

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Lettuce leaves are an important part of lettuce cuisine. It can be stored for only a week in the refrigerator while it would be fresh for a day or two when put under normal conditions.

Why Lettuce Lasts For So Long?

The basic reason lettuce lasts for so long in a refrigerator is the design of the refrigerator itself. The refrigerator is designed in such a way that it should be able to assist in keeping the edible items stored in it for a longer time. This was the basic purpose behind the creation of refrigerator.

Thus, when lettuce is stored in the refrigerator for a longer period, it is merely an impact on the system of the electrical device. If the lettuce remains edible for a longer period in the refrigerator, it is a prove of the good performance of the device.

Moreover, the structure of the type of lettuce stored also has an impact on the duration in which it would be edible. The pattern of leaves and the packing of layers of leaves can either store it for a longer period or less period, as the case may be.

The packing of leaves in a layer is quite helpful in preventing the early spoilage of the lettuce. Conversely, if the leaves of the lettuce are loosely packed, it would lead to a probably early spoilage of the vegetable.

In this regard, one should see the leaf lettuce and head lettuce. Head lettuce or Crisphead lettuce has its leaves packed in a tighter manner resembling an onion. This saves the inner leaves from spoiling faster. In contrast, since leaf lettuce is loosely packed, they are spoiled faster.

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Conclusion

Lettuce can be kept edible in a controlled environment like the refrigerator for two to three weeks but the same would last for only a couple of days when kept in an open and natural environment.

The duration for which lettuce lasts depends on the setting in which it is stored. In addition to that, the pattern of lettuce leaves and the packing of layers of those leaves also influence the edible period of the vegetable.

References

  1. https://hilgardia.ucanr.edu/Abstract/?a=hilg.v03n11p275
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-011-9699-4_2
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