Romaine lettuce is one of the most popular varieties of lettuce in the world. It has a mild flavor and soft texture that lends it to use in salads or garnishes. The leafy green vegetable can be used both raw and cooked, making it very versatile in the kitchen. While romaine lettuce might be found growing naturally in your own backyard, this type of lettuce is also available at supermarkets across the globe, where you can purchase it year-round.
If you use a lot of romaine lettuce for making smoothies or cooking, you will want a supply of them at home. Would freezing romaine lettuce be a method to store them at home?
So, can you freeze romaine lettuce? Yes, you can freeze romaine lettuce. This variety of lettuce contains a high amount of water so you will have no problem freezing them. You can either freeze the lettuce fresh or as a puree. Properly stored, romaine lettuce will stay fresh for up to 1 year in the freezer.
Do Romaine Lettuce Freeze Well?
Romaine lettuce very well. The reason for this is because romaine lettuce has a high water content (about 96%) and very low sugar content (about 0.1%). This makes romaine lettuce freeze easily and can stay fresh for a long time.
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Freezing lettuce is very similar to freezing spinach or other leafy greens. This method of food preservation is often used by those who prefer the taste of fresh vegetables, but want to save some money as well.
Lettuce can be frozen in two ways: whole and chopped. The key is blanching it first before you put it in the freezer. Blanching will shock the leaves and make them easier to chop and quicker to cook when you use them later on.
Below are two methods on how to prepare and freeze romaine lettuce:
Freezing Fresh Romaine Lettuce
Us this method if you’re planning to use romaine lettuce for making soups, stews, and other meals that require blending and mixing.
Step 1: Cleaning
Start by cleaning the romaine lettuce thoroughly with water. This will help remove any dirt that is on there.
Step 2: Blanching
Once it’s cleaned you’ll need to blanch the lettuce. Without blanching, the lettuce will not last very long in the freezer.
Follow the steps below to blanch your romaine lettuce:
- Heat a pot of water. Make sure the pot is large enough to fit the lettuce
- Once the water is boiled, drop the lettuce into the pot for 3 minutes.
- Remove the lettuce from the pot and place them into a bowl of ice water. This will stop the romaine lettuce from cooking any further. Let the lettuce sit for 5 minutes.
- Then remove the leafy greens from the ice water and place them into a colander. Let it sit for 10 minutes to dry. You also use a paper towel and pat them gently to speed up the drying process.
Step 2: Flash Freezing
On a tray, lay a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Then place each piece of romaine lettuce onto it. Keep each piece apart so that they don’t touch each other. Then place them into the freezer. Let it sit for 2-3 hours to freeze.
Step 3: Place into Freezer bag
Once the romaine lettuce is completely frozen, remove them from the freezer. Immediately, transfer the lettuce into a freezer bag.
Once all the lettuce is in the bag, press on it to remove any air that is in there. Then seal the bag.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
With a marker, write the date of freezing on the freezer bag. Then place them into the freezer.
Freezing Romaine Lettuce Puree
This method is great if you’re planning to use romaine lettuce for making smoothies, juice, and other drinks. Since the romaine lettuce is already blended, it will not change texture and color while it’s frozen.
Below are the steps to freezing romaine lettuce puree:
Step 1: Prepare Ice Cube Tray
Grab one or more ice cube trays, depending on how much puree you have. Then clean the tray with water thoroughly.
Step 2: Pour Into Ice Cube Tray
Pour romaine lettuce puree into each slot in the ice tray. Fill each slot and leave a small space at the top. This will allow the puree to expand when frozen so it won’t overflow.
Alternatively, you can use a muffin tray to freeze the puree. This is a good way to store a lot of puree in larger amounts.
Step 3: Flash Freezing
Cover the ice tray with cling film and place it into the freezer. Let it sit for about 1-2 hours to freeze.
Step 4: Transfer to Freezer Bag
Once the romaine lettuce puree is completely frozen, remove it from the freezer. Then transfer them to a freezer bag immediately.
After all the puree ice cube is in the bag, press on the bag to remove any excess air before sealing.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
With a marker or pen, write the date of freezing and the content on the freezer bag. Then place them into the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Romaine Lettuce?
Romaine lettuce will last for a long time in the freezer. If you’ve to blanched them first, they will last for up to a year. After that time, you’ll still be able to safely eat them, but the quality will deteriorate. You may find the texture a bit soggy and the taste is not that sweet.
For unblanched romaine lettuce, you won’t be able to store them in the freezer for too long. They will remain fresh for only about 2-3 months. For that reason, be sure to use the lettuce before them.
How Do You Defrost Romaine Lettuce?
To thaw frozen lettuce, use this simple method that most people use. After removing the lettuce from the freezer bag, place the lettuce at room temperature on paper towels. To prevent any mess when it thaws, you can place the paper towels on a large plate to absorb the melted water.
Using this method will take about an hour, but you’ll end up with iceberg lettuce that’s not too soggy.
Another method to use is simply to toss the frozen lettuce into a meal that’s being cooked. This could be a soup, stir-fry, or your favorite smoothie drink.
Make sure to use a little less in the food when it’s being cooked. Frozen iceberg lettuce contains a lot of water when it melts.
How Long Can You Freeze Romaine Lettuce?
You can freeze romaine lettuce for up to 6 months. After that time, the lettuce will start to deteriorate in quality.
However, romaine lettuce will still be safe to eat, but it may not enjoy the taste.
Related Article: How long does lettuce last
Can you freeze bagged romaine lettuce?
Yes, you can freeze bagged romaine lettuce. However, the best way to store lettuce is in a sealed plastic bag or container that keeps it fresh and crisp. Airtight containers are the best way to preserve lettuce’s crisper texture and longer shelf life. If you still want to freeze romaine lettuce, follow these steps:
- Wash the romaine lettuce
- Spin-dry it in a salad spinner or blot with paper towels until completely dry
- Put the romaine leaves into a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it shut
- Label and date
- Place into freezer
Can you freeze romaine lettuce for smoothies?
Yes. Romaine lettuce is the best for smoothies because of its crunchy leaves and a mild taste. You can freeze any type of romaine lettuce, but not the whole head of lettuce. Instead, trim off the outer leaves, removing any brown spots. It’s better to leave them attached at the bottom of the plant so they don’t dry out too much before you cut them off. Wash them thoroughly in cold water, then dry with paper towels.