Can You Freeze Lettuce?

Freezing lettuce isn’t something most would normally do, but you can freeze this leafy vegetable to use in cooked dishes and smoothies.
Lettuce 'All Season Romaine Mix'

Lettuce 'All Season Romaine Mix'

Keep your salad bowl at the ready when you grow this romaine lettuce blend. It includes varieties to ensure you’ll have a season-long harvest—and colorful salads. Varieties include green ‘Craquerelle Du Midi,’ green spotted red ‘Forellenschluss (also known as ‘Speckled Trout Back’),’ bright green ‘Little Gem,’ deep red ‘Rosalita’ and medium red ‘Rouge d’Hiver.’

Photo by: Burpee

Burpee

Can you freeze lettuce? Not if you want to make tossed salad with the thawed out product. But for cooking and flavoring uses, yes, you can freeze lettuce. The reason you won’t be able to use the frozen lettuce to make salads is because the freezing process causes ice crystals to form in plant cells. When ice crystals form, they rupture cell walls. For vegetables like corn or peas, cell wall damage isn’t as visible because these vegetables are high in starch and contain little water. But lettuce has such a high water content that freezing produces more of a slimy mess.

With lettuce, two things influence freeze-ability: lettuce type and provenance. Thicker-leafed lettuces handle freezing better than supermarket-style iceberg lettuce. Examples of freezer-friendly lettuces include romaine or Cos types and Boston or bib types, which are also known as Butterheads. You can also freeze lettuces that blend both romaine and butterhead traits, like ‘Little Gem’. For each of these lettuce types, you can find varieties that offer different leaf colors, from deep burgundy, to maroon speckles, to chartreuse, to rich green.

Freeze Vegetables From Your Garden

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Fresh Broccoli Beats Store-Bought Every Time

Want to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden broccoli all year long? It's a snap to freeze this fiber-rich veggie to use in stir fries, soup and more. Learn the process for how to freeze broccoli in this article by Julie A. Martens.

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Overwhelmed with Cucumbers?

Cucumber vines can be prolific producers of the treasured summertime veggie. Don't think it's possible to freeze cucumbers? Well, the secret lies in the preparation. Learn how to freeze cucumbers for summer-fresh fare in any season.

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Never Have Too Many Cherry Tomatoes

While frozen cherry tomatoes are no longer fit to be used in tossed salads, you can blend them with herbs or use in soups and stew. In this article, Julie A. Martens offers several great uses for frozen cherry tomatoes and describes the best way to preserve them.

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Freeze Spinach for Soups and More

While you won't want to serve frozen spinach in fresh salads, the leaves will work nicely in soup, casseroles and stir fries. You'll just want to freeze young leaves. Avoid the older or yellowing leaves as they'll produce a nasty taste and rubbery texture. Ever tried making frozen spinach cubes? Get more tips on how to freeze spinach in this article on how to freeze spinach.

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Can You Freeze Kale?

Yes, you can freeze kale. Frozen kale works well in smoothies and blends well into quiches, crock pot stews and soups. Find more uses for frozen kale and how to best preserve this nutrient-packed green.

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Put Your Onions in the Deep Freeze

Too many onions to eat right away? Not a problem. They freeze easily, and can be used in a variety of ways. Learn how to prep onions for safe storage in the deep freeze, how to keep the onion odor low and when to use frozen onions in your dishes.  

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Freeze Asparagus for Great Flavor

While frozen asparagus spears won't be as crisp as garden-fresh stems, they can still be used in many dishes. Here are the steps to preserving this nutrient-dense vegetable and some ideas on how to use frozen asparagus to add flavor to your meals.

©2013, Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?

You definitely can freeze garlic. In fact, you can freeze garlic in many ways. While frozen garlic lacks the crunchy texture of fresh, the flavor remains strong—and definitely won't have the chemical taste that sometimes accompanies jarred garlic. Learn several ways to freeze garlic and how to use it to add flavor to food.

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How Do You Freeze Eggplant?

Eggplant doesn't keep very long, and you won't be able to can it without pulverizing it beyond recognition. So, how do you preserve your delicious eggplant? Forget your canner and learn how to freeze eggplant. Here are several freezing methods you can try.

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Enjoy a Summertime Favorite All Year

Learn how to freeze corn and you'll be able to enjoy this summertime treat all year—even with your holiday turkey. Freezing corn is simple, and it's a great way to introduce kids to food preservation. Learn the steps to freezing corn in this article by Julie A. Martens.

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How to Freeze Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts bring more than taste to the table. This cabbage cousin boasts vitamins and is high in protein, so you'll want to make your locally-grown Brussels sprouts last. Learn the two ways to freeze Brussels sprouts and ways to include this frozen super veggie on your table.

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Steps to Freezing Cabbage

Want to enjoy the nutrition offered by cabbage all year? This unsung hero of the vegatable garden adapts well to the freezing process. Start with dense, solid heads that feel weighty for their size. Learn more about the steps to freezing cabbage in this article from Julie A. Martens.

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Freeze Celery for Soups

Celery is mostly water, and the freezing process ruptures cell walls, resulting in a limp, mushy product. But frozen celery works fabulously in casseroles, sauces, stock, and other hot concoctions. You can also use it as an aromatic with soups, broths for cooking rice, or roasts, tossing after cooking. Learn the steps to freezing celery in this article.

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Overstocked on Mushrooms?

Mushrooms might last about a week in the refrigerator, which might not be enough time to enjoy the bounty you may have grown or foraged. Consider freezing mushrooms. Learn which method of freezing mushrooms works best, and get some ideas for how to use them in recipes.

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Many of these freezer-friendly lettuces are heirloom varieties that are widely available and easily grown from seed. Tuck them into shallow containers, flower beds, or traditional vegetable gardens to raise a tasty crop. The best lettuces to freeze are those you grow yourself or ones you purchase from local farmers or community supported agriculture. This is where provenance comes into play. Locally raised or homegrown lettuces haven’t endured storage and shipping like their supermarket cousins, so they tend to hold up better through the freezing process.

To freeze lettuce, separate leaves and wash well. Remove leaf bases as desired. Blot leaves dry with towels, handling them gently. Lettuce leaves freeze better if they have as little water as possible on their surfaces. Slip dried leaves into freezer bags, and remove as much of the air as possible. Use a straw to suck out excess air around leaves. Seal the bag and place it in the freezer. Vacuum sealing systems work superbly with lettuce leaves.

Use frozen lettuce within six months for best quality. Frozen lettuce has its place in the kitchen. You can add it to soup or stock, quiche, casseroles, and stir fries. You can substitute frozen lettuce in any recipe that calls for spinach. Whole frozen lettuce leaves work well as wraps; thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before using.

You can braise frozen lettuce leaves in chicken broth and butter, or use oyster sauce for an Asian flair. Or try your hand at making peas the French way: Place a layer of frozen lettuce in the bottom of a pan, top with peas and more frozen lettuce. Cook slowly until peas are done. Add butter and/or mint for additional flavors.

Another option for freezing lettuce is to puree it with a little water and freeze in ice cube trays. Once cubes are frozen solid, store them in a freezer bag. Use these lettuce cubes to make green smoothies, to replace part of the liquid when cooking rice, quinoa, or barley, or to add green nutrition to soup.

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