Store Lettuce in a Jar, Not a Bag

The saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come,” popped into my mind this week when I received today’s first tip in my email box. I was certainly ready to learn, having just experienced the heartbreak of tossing a hopelessly spoiled head of romaine into the garbage. I hate when that happens, so you can be sure there’s now a 2-gallon sized Mason jar in my refrigerator.

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Jar the lettuce. I was having a real problem keeping lettuce from either freezing or spoiling in my fridge until a friend told me to store it in a glass canning type jar with the lid applied. That seems to work so much better than plastic bags to prolong the life of any kind of lettuce. I’m not sure why this works, but I’m so glad it does. —Louise, Oklahoma

Puppy weenies. I hate the high price of doggie treats, which can run $4 to $8 a pound where I live, sometimes even more. And honestly, most of them look like some kind of mystery (artificial?) food. Here’s what I do to save a lot of money and also give my dog real food. I buy store brand hot dogs for about $1 a pound, slice them into 1/2-inch bites and store them in the refrigerator. It’s easy to grab and my dog thinks they’re quite a treat! —Rachel, Michigan

Healthy frying. While your frying pan is heating up, add one tablespoon of white vinegar just before adding your cooking oil—one or two tablespoons of any kind. This will help cut down on the amount of fat that your frying food absorbs, which means it will taste less greasy. You will get a strong vinegar smell as it mixes with the oil, but don’t worry. It will dissipate and your food will not taste like vinegar. —Julianne, Idaho

Myself-cleaning oven. Here’s the best and cheapest way ever to clean an oven: Preheat to 200F then turn it off. Fill a heat safe glass dish with 1 to 2 cups of ammonia and set on middle rack. Fill another dish with 2 cups boiling water and set on bottom rack. Close the door and leave overnight. The next morning, remove dishes and wipe down the inside with a hot wet sponge that you have dipped into baking soda. Rinse and enjoy your sparkling clean oven. —Molly, Kansas

DIY double-boiler. You don’t need to own a double-boiler that you will use only occasionally. Make your own using a small to medium-sized pot and an oven-proof (like Pyrex) glass bowl that will fit inside the pot without resting at the bottom. Fill the pot about 1/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and set the bowl into the pot over the boiling water. The bottom of the bowl should sit at least 2 inches above the water, optimally.  —Emily, Wisconsin

Question: What’s your favorite way to use “this for that” to save money? Share your comments then don’t be surprised if you see your tip in a upcoming column. You know you want to.


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  • Sharon

    I found that putting a small amount of water in the bottom of the produce bag then stand the Romaine Lettuce up so the stem is in the water helps the lettuce to last for over a week. Each time I take it out to use some of the leaves, I make sure the water in the bottom looks fresh and clean. I store it standing up on the bottom or next to the bottom shelves in the frig. It works great for me. I do the same for celery.

    • ellieinkentucky

      I have had great luck with storing lettuce (I usually buy green leaf or romaine or sometimes red) in a waxed paper bag from an empty cereal box (I never buy sugared cereal – don’t know if those bags might be sticky?). I wash the leaves carefully, drain somewhat in colander, and put them in a salad spinner, torn into salad-size pieces. Spin dry and put in wax paper cereal bag with a about half a paper towel dampened a bit. Roll top closed and secure with rubber band. Lettuce is ready to make salad or use in sandwiches or whatever and really keeps well. So I save cereal bags for free and space-saving storage of greens.

    • Martha

      I just Recently Found Out That You Can Put The Stump Of Romain Lettuce In Water And It Will Continue To Grow.

  • I haven’t tried putting lettuce in a jar to have it last longer but I have put a head of lettuce in a zipper bag with a paper towel and my lettuce last a month or more. I change the paper towel when I feel that it is damp from moisture.

    • Tiana

      I do this too in a similar fashion, particularly when we get a bounty of lettuce from the garden. I wet my hands and then use a long piece of paper towel to dry them. Then I use the slightly damp paper towel to wrap my lettuce in for storage inside a ziploc bag. The slight moisture keeps the lettuce looking fresh and every other day I replace the paper towel with a new one to maintain freshness. This only works on lettuce from a head or bunch, not previously bagged varieties.

  • ksmartbl

    Where can you find a 2-gallon Mason jar? Also — I wonder if it’s the glass jar or the metal cap that does the trick? I can’t think of anything that’s available other than a used-but-clean 1-gallon pickle jar that would be big enough to accommodate our lettuce quantities…. Would that work?

  • The reader feeding her puppy store brand hot dogs (or any hot dogs) as treats should know that they contain far too much sodium and far too many preservatives to be a safe choice as regular treats for any dog. She would provide better care to her dog by making homemade biscuit type treats, in small sizes, and storing them in the refrigerato for longer life. There are numerous recipes available online for biscuits that contain minimal sugar, minimal sodium and lots of nutritious ingredients like whole wheat and peanut butter. My grand kids and I make biscuits often for family pets and friends’ pets, takes a little time and the dogs love them.

    • marysews

      Do you have any suggestions for those of us who feed our dogs a grain-free diet?

      • Joy Buysse

        You could probably make something from a mixture of sweet potato/peanut butter/ and a few eggs and bake. Just experiment with proportions, or maybe beans instead of sweet potatoes? You can make jerky like treats by cooking meat on low for a while to dry it out, and keep them in the fridge.

  • Yvonne

    How do you fit a head of lettuce into a canning jar?

  • Yvonne

    I cannot think of a lot of things less healthy for a puppy than a hotdog. The sodium alone is horrenduous.

    • marysews

      Nitrites in most hotdogs are bad for humans, too!

  • Yvonne

    I never thought to store lettuce in a jar. I save those oblong plastic container that spinach comes in, and store my lettuce in this. It keeps very well.
    Another hint: When my tall pillar candle has burnt down, I clean and save the glass container. I then buy just the pillar candle at a much cheaper cost, often on sale / clearance and it fits the container perfectly.

  • Dee

    I think the vinegar and then oil into a hot pan sounds like a burn waiting to happen. Anytime you have something water based and oil in a hot pan it spatters like crazy. Has only one tried this?

  • macy

    Lettuce – I always did the ziplock bag with a paper towel and lettuceas others stated UNTIL I read online that someone recommended wrapping the lettuce in aluminum foil as it will keep lettuce for weeks. I was skeptical but tried it and it is AMAZING! My lettuce stayed perfect for 10 days until I used it all. This week I found a some lettuce wrapped with aluminum foil from a month ago and it was green – little to no brown edges. I’ve tried many ways to preserve lettuce but this is the best. I reuse the aluminum foil as well. I would like to try the jar method but don’t think I have the room in my small fridge.