Does anyone have an alternative to storing lettuce and other large vegetables in plastic bags in the fridge? I have found that leaving lettuce and other produce in the fridge without a container leads to wilting. Most smaller veggies I can keep in glass containers, but what about those giant heads of lettuce? I know they need to be kept in a high moisture environment to stay crisp. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
I've dedicated a crisper drawer to veggies which should stay damp and have a damp towel under and over them. Lettuce I specifically keep (in the drawer) in a cotton muslin bag I got from a great vender on Etsy. It stays just damp enough. Things are lasting longer than they ever did in plastic! I have mesh bags for other veggies that I don't want to lie loose, but root veggies just sit in there. There are always a few which need to be airtight and those are in glass, airtight containers.
Mushrooms, in the same kind of muslin bag, stay on a shelf in the fridge where they breathe, and stay dry.
Just learned a great way to store strawberries: unwashed, stacked with something (I use little cloth cocktail napkins) in between single layers, in an airtight jar. Lasted a week with NO mold! Very tasty.
um, I only kinda answered your question, but would only add that before I had netting and muslin bags for the bigger veggies I used to just wrap them in dampened cotton napkins, bandanas or dish towels.
Use the crisper.
Lots of really great ideas suggested here. I've got to try your method for storing strawberries.
I'll just add that it also helps to optimize the fridge's temperature (ideally between 36-38 degrees F) and to avoid storing produce in the back and very bottom of the fridge, where it tends to get too cold. BTW, I've noticed that delicate herbs keep longer when I wrap them in a dish towel and store them in the butter drawer.
I love the idea for storing strawberries. I'll have to do that if I ever have a situation where they aren't eaten immediately. Strawberries don't last long in my house with 3 children. They are usually eaten before they even make it into the refrigerator. ;)
As to the lettuce and other veggies...I have a crisper drawer in my refrigerator as well. That thing is awesome! What I've been doing is just dumping all the veggies out of their cotton mesh bags directly into the drawer. It's a big jumble, but everything keeps really well. I've got a head of lettuce in there right now that is almost 3 weeks old and still looks great. I'll be having that for dinner. ;) So much better than that packaged, prewashed, precut ready made salad. That stuff would only last 3-4 days in it's plastic bag!
Re strawberries: if you notice the napkins getting damp, they should be switched out for dry.
Also do your research and keep ethylene gas producers away from the others, and if you can justify it, use one of those little thingys that absorb the gas. Ethylene will spoil other veggies in a split second!
I saw this great comment on storing veggies and fruit: just look at a [respected] market and see how they set out their produce, e.g., lettuce chilled, potatoes not. Mimic that at home.
This is one place where I do use plastic bags. I bought special plastic polyethylene produce bags that help preserve the freshness of the produce. Lettuce especially wilts so quickly. I get almost all of my produce from my CSA (except for celery), and it comes loose delivered to my door in a large bin. So I just pop the lettuce and any other perishables in my very large polyethylene bags and refrigerate.
After eating the lettuce I just rinse out the bags and pop them over a wine bottle to dry out. And then I reuse them next week.