To make your romaine lettuce last longer, rinse well, then wrap it with paper towels and put it into a food storage bag. It lasts a long time this way!
By Debbie from New Ipswich, NH
According to one expert, lettuce rust is caused by a reaction of ethylene gas and the phenol compounds in the lettuce. It's not harmful to eat it, but looks and feels yucky. It also occurs or accelerates when you damage the lettuce, like by cutting or rough handling. Tearing or plastic knife seems to reduce the effect. Most fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes.. give off acetylene gas as they ripen and actually adding the gas to them makes them ripen faster. Ripe fruits and vegetables begins the spoil process.
There is a fungi called lettuce rust, but it's rare, and looks different. Yellow cup like on the upper surface and yellow spots on the bottom surface. Not the typical brownish orange color where the lettuce is cut or damaged, that most people call lettuce rust.
So anything that reduces the absorption of acetylene gas, coming from other food, or from the lettuce itself will reduce the rust, as well as not damaging it. Maybe store it whole, or whole leaves, rather than torn into pieces.
Not sure if putting it in a container or bag will help or not. It should keep other food from affecting it, but that would trap the ethylene given off by the lettuce itself.
Maybe something to absorb the gas in the container. Someone mentioned paper towels, and someone said a soda cracker wrapped in a paper towel does the trick.
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