The Easy Hack To Transform Soggy Lettuce Into Bright, Crisp Greens

Nothing is worse than opening your fridge to find that your lettuce has gone limp and wilted. The fact of the matter is that greens are a very delicate ingredient, so even if you do your best to store lettuce properly, eventually it will fall victim to unpleasant textural changes. Luckily, there is an easy and effective trick to revive lettuce that is too far gone, and it's one that we use all the time to refresh ourselves: lemon water.

The science behind this trick is simple. Lettuce doesn't wilt because it is decomposing; it does so because it is dried out. As lettuce sits on the shelf of your fridge, it steadily loses the water that is naturally in its cells, causing them to shrink and become soft and shriveled. By submerging lettuce in lemon water, you are allowing the lettuce cells to reabsorb the water they lost, making them firm and, by extension, making your lettuce crunchy once more. Lemon juice gives this process an assist by turning the water slightly acidic, which can help the lettuce cells absorb additional water beyond what they would otherwise.

How to soak your lettuce

To try out this technique, fill a large bowl with cold water and add a few squeezes of lemon juice. Be careful not to go overboard with the lemon — if you add too much lemon juice, it will make your lettuce taste noticeably citrusy. Submerge the lettuce leaves and let them soak for a few minutes or until you notice the lettuce returning to its fresh appearance.

Once you are happy with the texture of the revived lettuce, remove the leaves from the bowl. You can either dry them in a salad spinner or, if you don't have one available, you can use Ina Garten's lettuce drying hack — just place the wet leaves in a clean, dry dish towel, hold the towel by all four corners, and whirl it around manually for a few seconds. The results of these two steps will leave you with perfectly crisp, delicious lettuce that is ready to eat.