Given that many ingredients in salad will go bad after several days, how can one store leftover salad so it is not wasted? Many vegetables, such as beans, lose their freshness after opening the can/package.

A head of lettuce, can of beans, or the prepackage stuff is too much. For example, I can only consume 1/3 a can of beans each time...and I might not want to eat salad everyday (even once a day ).

Will it help if I put the remaining beans in a sealed bottle? What about the vegetables? will they last for 2 weeks?

  • possible duplicate of Making Subway-like salads at home w/ zero work
    – TFD
    Oct 9, 2012 at 7:06
  • Exactly what kind of salad are you going for here? Pasta salad, bean salad, lettuce salad....?
    – lemontwist
    Oct 9, 2012 at 12:22
  • Beans can be frozen, and will keep for months that way. Portion them out before freezing, of course, because its too late once they're frozen. Vegetables (for salad), unfortunately can't be frozen.
    – derobert
    Oct 9, 2012 at 15:49
  • @lemontwist lettuce salad, possibly with some salad beans in it. Oct 10, 2012 at 8:51
  • @derobert By frozen do you mean to put it into the coldest partition? Oct 10, 2012 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


I myself love to eat salads, but can't ever seem to store them for more than a week. For me, I only buy salad when I want to eat it. However, there are some tricks for getting more miles out of your garden treats. Here are two:

Remove as much air as possible from your storage container This is kind of a no-brainier, but I have had people in my household set an open plate of salad in the refrigerator, and wonder why it spoiled over night. Air and moisture are the enemy and make sure to protect your goods. You have probably seen on commercials special bags or containers that claim to remove air and keep vegetables fresh. Be wary of these products, I have tried some and usually don't get the features promised.

Don't cut salad with a metal knife Perhaps a lesser know fact about lettuce is that cutting it with certain metals accelerates the oxidation process. This simply means that your lettuce will turn brown faster if you cut it. Try using a ceramic knife or rip your greens when preparing to slow down on browning.

To answer your questions about storing. I would recommend not keeping your greens for more that a week, and store them in within the designated bin marked in your refrigerator. This bin is designed to remove moisture and keep your veggies fresher longer.

  • 1
    Moisture is not the enemy, and the crisper drawer does not remove moisture. It maintains a higher humidity, by partially isolating the contents from the rest of the refrigerator. Leafy greens easily dry out, which is what leads to wilting and spoilage (especially when left open to the fridge); this is why sometimes a damp (but not wet) paper towel helps keep things fresh.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 9, 2012 at 20:53
  • 2
    With respect to cutting lettuce, it doesn't make a difference unless you're doing it before storing it long-term. See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/24305/1672
    – Cascabel
    Oct 9, 2012 at 20:55
  • @Jefromi - I would agree that this practice of keeping things moist is a good idea for the grocer when you buy it off the shelf, but the times my salads have gone bad have been because of excess moisture. And the question had to do with long term storage. Cutting lettuce with a knife that you intend to store for more than a few days should not be done (IMO). Oct 11, 2012 at 15:41
  • 2
    Once again, too much moisture is definitely a problem - this can happen if you put it in a sealed bag, or if you wash it and don't let it dry sufficiently - but too little moisture is most definitely also a problem. Moist like you see at a grocery store (visible water) is too much. More humid than the rest of the fridge is good. The humidity really is higher in a crisper drawer, and it's for exactly this purpose. Lettuce really will wilt if it's too dry (and this is probably what you've seen happen with an open plate in the middle of the fridge). I'm not making this up.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 11, 2012 at 16:41

Storing leftover salad is almost impossible. Once the tender vegetables have been cut, they will start to wilt and spoil even if you haven't added salad dresing. Make one serving of salad at a time, and store the uncut ingredients for next time. Some specifics:

  • take lettuce leaves off the plant one at a time and then cut or tear them, instead of say cutting off half or a quarter of the lettuce and then cutting or tearing that. A head of lettuce will keep for a week or two in your crisper drawer. Also look into buying smaller lettuces (eg Gem, butter lettuce) rather than a whole romaine or iceberg. You can buy them as you need them.
  • canned beans won't keep well, probably not until you next salad. Perhaps you could make chili the next day? (Leftover chili freezes well.) Or add the beans to a soup? Some kind of non-salad use.
  • consider using some longer-keeping veggies (shredded or grated) like cabbage or carrots. They keep for months.

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