Tired of having your lettuce go limp and slimy on you? Then, it’s time to change the way you’re storing it. Make yourself a lettuce crisper bag, and your lettuce will stay fresh days longer. This simple project takes 10 minutes tops, and only requires you to sew four straight lines.
What is a Lettuce Crisper Bag?
A lettuce crisper bag is just a drawstring bag made out of terry cloth. To use it, you get the bag wet; then, wring out the excess moisture; and stick your washed lettuce inside – you don’t even have to dry your lettuce first. Cinch the bag shut; then, pop it in the crisper drawer in your fridge. Rewet the bag periodically, to keep it from drying out, and your lettuce will stay crisp and slime-free for an extended period of time.
How a Lettuce Crisper Bag Keeps Your Lettuce Fresh
You would think storing lettuce in a wet bag would cause it to go bad faster, but that’s not the case. Lettuce needs a humid environment to stay crisp. You just don’t want to introduce so much moisture that it causes your lettuce to get slimy. It’s a delicate balancing act, but it’s one that a crisper bag nails. The absorbent terry cloth material holds the moisture necessary to keep the lettuce crisp, while also drawing any excess moisture away from the lettuce, so it doesn’t get soggy. As long as you keep the bag wet, it’ll perform its job brilliantly.
There’s absolutely nothing brilliant about those plastic bags that lettuce comes in. They’re sealed so tight, they trap excess moisture, and they don’t allow the lettuce to breathe. Bagged salad mixes are even worse because they also trap all the ethylene gases that the veggies release as they ripen, which, in turn, causes both the lettuce and the veggies to ripen and go bad faster. Lame.
Put an end to the lameness, by making your own lettuce crisper bag.
Other Veggies You Can Store in a Crisper Bag
Lettuce isn’t the only thing you can store in a lettuce crisper bag. Other humidity-loving vegetables and herbs also stay fresh and crisp longer, when stored in a crisper bag. This includes carrots, celery, peppers, as well as tender herbs, like basil, parsely, cilantro, dill and mint.
Lettuce Crisper Bag Sewing Tutorial
Follow these simple instructions to turn a hand towel into a lettuce crisper bag. These bags make a great gift, so consider picking up a few extra towels. Your friends and family will think you’re a rock star for solving their lettuce woes.
What You’ll Need:
- (1) Terry cloth hand towel
- Sewing pins, or sewing clips
- A ruler
- (2) drawstrings – cording, ribbon, twill tape or double-fold bias tape (approximately 36″ long)
- A safety pin, or bodkin
- A sewing machine (This is the machine that I have)
I picked up a two-pack of hand towels from Target for $2.75. I had everything else on hand, so these crisper bags cost me $1.38 each to make.
I didn’t have any ribbons or cording that were long enough to serve as the drawstrings for my bag, so I made my own by sewing double-fold bias tape closed. My hand towel was 15-inches wide, so I cut two 36-inch drawstrings. If your hand towel is a different width, just take the width and double it. Then, add six inches.
What You Do:
Lay the hand towel out on your work surface, good-side down. Cut off any tags.
Fold the top and the bottom of the hand towel down one inch, to create the drawstring channels. Pin, or clip in place.
Zig-zag stitch along the bottom edge of both drawstring channels.
Then, fold the hand towel in half, right-side facing in …
and zig-zag stitch up both sides of the bag, stopping when you reach the drawstring channel.
I serged my sides, instead – mostly because I wanted to play with my new serger.
Flip your lettuce crisper bag right-side out, when you’re done.
To create the drawstrings for your bag, attach a safety pin, or a bodkin, to the end of your first drawstring That’s a bodkin in the photo. It’s just a bendy piece of plastic with an eye on the end. It makes it really easy to insert drawstrings.
To insert the drawstring, stick your safety pin, or bodkin, in the front drawstring channel. It doesn’t matter which side of the bag you start on.
Work it through the channel, until it comes out the other side.
Then, feed the drawstring through the back channel, until it comes back out on the side you started.
Tie the ends of the drawstring together, so they can’t pull through the bag.
Then, repeat the process with the other drawstring, on the other side of the bag, and you’re done!
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