A Proper Washing and Storing of Lettuce

Salad spinner and Romaine lettuceGuinea Pig Today

Salad spinner with Romaine lettuce

Does your lettuce turn into a wilted mess before your guinea pigs can enjoy the last bite? There could be many reasons for this, but we’re going to focus on one solution that everyone should add to their routine – washing and storing your lettuce.

This is something I learned from a good friend. This should take about 20 minutes every one or two weeks. If done correctly, your lettuce can be ready for use up to two weeks. That means you can keep a larger variety of lettuce at your home for your dinner salads and your guinea pigs to enjoy.

Selecting Your Lettuce
There’s a lot to be said on this topic but here’s the basics. If you don’t know already, the darker greens are the better quality for your guinea pig because they have a higher nutritional value. The reason iceberg lettuce is a no-no is because iceberg has high water content and little nutrients. This is why many people on diets tend to eat a lot of iceberg lettuce. It’s empty calories. Your guinea pigs certainly won’t die if they eat a slice or steal a piece from your garden. It’s not poison, but it’s certainly better for their long term health and happiness for them to get the proper variety. You also want to check out the calcium content of the greens you choose. Some of their favorite greens and herbs like spinach, kale, and parsley are high in calcium which can lead to bladder stones. The best diet is one that has a wide variety.

What You Need

One thing that makes this a whole lot easier is a salad spinner. There are different types of salad spinners but they are all a bowl shaped item that will dry your lettuce. You don’t have to purchase the one I have but a reliable spinner will probably cost you about $20. It’s well worth the price as it will save you money and time running to the store. You will also need large (gallon sized) plastic bags and some paper towels.

Individual Romaine lettuce leaves on a paper towel.Guinea Pig Today

Romaine lettuce on a napkin

Wash, Dry, and Store
This method works for all types of lettuce greens and also herbs. Perfect if you have a home garden and want to bring in many items at the same time.

1) Separate all the leaves of lettuce and put them in a full sink of cold water. If any of the leaves appear wilted, let them soak for up to 30 minutes and they will improve. This is a good time to check for any dirt and bugs.

2) As the lettuce pieces are removed, rinse them under the faucet and place them in the salad spinner. Tear the leaves into smaller pieces if they are large (like large leaf romaine). Fill your spinner but don’t pack it tight.

3) Now for the fun part. Spin! Spin! Spin until dry!

4) Tear off two paper towels but leave them connected together. Pile the dry lettuce leaves in the middle and fold the paper towels around them.

5) Slide the whole thing into a plastic bag. Press the extra air out and seal. You may find you can store your lettuce in the fridge for up to two weeks. Remove lettuce as needed, push the air out and reseal each time.


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Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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Comments
3 Responses to “A Proper Washing and Storing of Lettuce”
  1. Kathy says:

    I’ve been using this method for several years now and swear by it! Lettuces stay fresh and crisp much longer and it makes salad fixing (for piggies *and* humans!) much easier.

  2. tammy says:

    I have been using this method for years, and love it! i also replace the paper towels if they are getting too moist. i would only add one thing: using a knife to cut lettuce (instead of tearing, as instructed) will result in browning of the lettuce. so everyone, make sure you tear, don’t cut, the lettuce leaves!

  3. Veganwheekers says:

    Excellent article. I buy a week’s supply of lettuce and other veggies from the farmer’s market and use the plastic bag method as well as a Progressive International Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Keeper to keep things fresh and crisp. And as you say, it always amazes me how semi-limp veggies would perk right back up after a good soak!

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