Senior Health

9/15/2023 | By Julie Kendrick

If you’ve ever gone to the refrigerator to get a bag of greens to make your favorite salad and found nothing but a slimy, spoiled mess, then you know how quickly good greens can go bad. While the fresh flavor of salad greens is a welcome addition to almost any meal, lettuce and other delicate greens tend to wilt quickly. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to keep bagged salad fresh and extend the life of your greens.

How to keep bagged salad fresh

1. Keep it cool on the way home from the store.

If it’s warm where you live, your mission to keep a bag of salad greens fresh longer starts before you leave for the grocery store. So begin by bringing along an insulated cooler bag to keep your greens at the right temperature all the way home.

2. Remove wilted leaves.

When you get home from the grocery store, the way you store your produce will make a big difference in how long you’ll be able to enjoy this bounty in the days ahead. Before you store greens, open the packaging and spread the greens out on a dry paper towel or clean tea towel. Pick out any wilted leaves you find, which will help keep spoilage from spreading.

greens in a bag. It's important to keep bagged salad fresh.

3. Keep the greens dry.

If your greens are particularly damp, you might want to give them a quick spin with your salad spinner before storage, ensuring that they’re as dry as possible. No salad spinner? Put the greens in a pillowcase or fold them in a large kitchen towel and give them a few spins to remove every last drop of water.

4. Add a towel to absorb moisture.

Giving greens a cozy absorbent bed will help them stay fresh and crisp. You can roll them loosely in a paper towel, or even slip a sheet of toweling right into the bag with them. If you want to make a more Earth-friendly choice, consider using a cotton tea towel instead. Seal the bag tightly.

5. Consider transferring the greens to a new container.

You don’t have to stick to the cellophane bag your greens came in, either. You might want to transfer them to a hard-sided airtight container that can protect the delicate produce. Start by lining the bottom of the container with towels, either paper or cloth, then place the leaves inside and add another towel on top.

6. Store greens in the crisper.

Be sure to store greens in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, which is the best possible environment for your salads-to-be, since those drawers are designed to release the gases and moisture that can accelerate spoilage. Speaking of the fridge, it’s a great idea to check that it’s set at 40 F or below, which is the FDA’s recommendation for safe food storage.

7. Keep your options open.

You may have gotten into the habit of picking up a bag of greens whenever you make a trip to the grocery store, but you might want to reconsider your shopping habits to avoid food waste. If you prefer prepared greens, consider a clamshell package instead of a bag, since it can better protect tender greens. You can keep these sturdier containers for later greens purchases too.

EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at

©2023 Dotdash Meredith. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Read similar healthy eating articles on Seniors Guide like this one: How to Make a Satisfying Salad in 6 Simple Steps

Julie Kendrick