Take care of your romaine as soon as you get it home from the supermarket to keep it fresh and brown. With your hands, separate the leaves from the core and thoroughly rinse them under cool water. Spin the greens rapidly in a salad spinner until they are dry. This removes any residual moisture that would cause the plants to start going brown after a few days.
The best way to keep green romaine is by purchasing organic varieties. Organic romaine has not been sprayed with pesticides and thus keeps its color longer. If you can't afford organic, then just wash and dry your greens as soon as you get them home. This will still help preserve their color for a few days.
If you let romaine sit outside of the refrigerator door for several hours or overnight, then come back inside, some of the redness will go away. This is because energy levels change when it's warm out and the plant needs to recover before being eaten. However, if you want to preserve the color of the whole head, then this is okay to do.
If you have browned romaine before, then don't worry about it getting darker after being washed and dried. That's what dry heat is for! Heat speeds up the aging process of lettuce and makes it more likely to turn brown sooner.
Romaine is quite perishable. I keep it in the fridge in a large plastic container with a piece of paper towel wrapped around it to absorb excess moisture and condensation. This method allows my lettuce to last up to 5 days. Wet lettuce will likely only last a few days if stored in a produce bag. Lettuce should be eaten within 3-4 days of buying it.
Lettuce goes bad quickly because it has no protective layers like other fruits or vegetables. The amount of water inside the head of lettuce affects how long it will stay fresh. Lettuce that is grown under humid conditions will have more water content than those grown under dry conditions, so they will last longer. Also, lettuce that is not washed before being packaged can build up bacteria which makes it smell bad and cause various illnesses.
If you don't want to use up all your lettuce during its life time then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will still taste good but it won't look as nice. Romaine tends to get limp faster when frozen either whole or sliced. If you do choose to freeze it, wrap each head in a separate paper towel and place on a baking sheet. Put them in the freezer for 6 hours or until completely frozen. Then transfer the frozen packages to zipper-lock bags or containers and store in the freezer for up to three months.
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If you have romaine lettuce in your refrigerator, toss it out—and then scrub the fridge well, preferably with bleach. A multistate epidemic of a virulent strain of E. coli has been connected to Arizona romaine lettuce, including the pre-chopped type as well as entire heads and hearts. The bacteria live in the soil around plants and can be transmitted through contact with those plants or their water.
The best way to destroy pathogens like E. coli is by heating them to a high temperature for a long time. This will kill any bacteria that may be on the lettuce, as well as any others that might be present in small numbers because they're not causing problems. Unfortunately, this also means that all the nutrients and flavors in the lettuce are lost when processed this way.
There are two main types of lettuce: crisphead and butterhead. Crispheads have tightly packed leaves with a distinctive head at the base of the stem. Butterheads have more open leaves with a larger central lobe. Both types of lettuce can be bought in supermarkets year round but especially during the summer when heat-resistant lettuces are needed. Iceberg and green-leaf lettuces are less common but available in season; avoid romaine unless it's from Arizona because it's been affected by the E. coli outbreak.
Lettuce needs to be cleaned before chopping or eating because bacteria can grow on the leaves if they're dirty.
If you have Romaine in your house, the CDC recommends throwing it out and cleaning the area in the fridge where it was found. That does not exclude you from eating lettuce. According to the CDC, iceberg lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and butterhead lettuce are still safe to eat. They said that even though romaine has been identified as the source of a bacterial outbreak, this does not mean that all lettuce is dangerous.
Lettuce can get contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella when it comes into contact with feces. Bacteria can also find their way onto lettuce when it is grown in soil with contamination or when it is sprayed with pesticides. When you buy lettuce, look for signs of disease or spoilage, but if it looks okay, go ahead and eat it!
You should always wash your hands before eating food, but especially if you have been around someone who has diarrhea or vomiting, then you should wash your hands after being around other people too. Lettuce can be eaten raw or cooked; either way, it's best if it is organic because non-organic lettuce has been shown to contain high levels of pesticides.
The most common symptom of E. coli infection is diarrhea. However, some people may experience stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or blood in the urine. The illness usually lasts two to seven days, but it can be more severe for some people.