Lovely Naked Lettuce (and Other Pretty Plastic-Free Produce)
Lettuce wraps are my new best friend. I don’t love salad, but I’ve discovered (very late to the party) that nice fat lettuce leaves can substitute for any bread-type product. In fact, I can’t think of a single type of sandwich, be it on bread, bagels, tortillas, or any other grain-based leavened baked good, that can’t be made even better (and of course healthier) by using lettuce instead. (Okay, grilled cheese. But I’ll figure out a way.)
The thing is, I can’t buy lettuce just anywhere. Why? Because, in the immortal words of Jeb Berrier in the film, Bag It, “I like my lettuce loose, like my ladies.” Or something like that. It’s 1am, and I don’t feel like looking it up. But most lettuce, even if it’s not wrapped in plastic, has either a plastic band or a big fat twist tie around it.
And while some of those twist ties are wire and paper instead of plastic, I’d rather not generate any garbage if I can help it. (How many twist ties can anyone actually reuse? And vendors won’t take them back.)
So I wait until I find a store (like Market Hall Produce in my neighborhood) selling naked lettuce and snatch it up. Just like I did today.
I buy my lettuce in an organic cotton produce bag. And when I get it home, I remove the lettuce to wash it, wet the bag completely, wring it out equally as completely, and put lettuce back in the bag in a metal bowl in my refrigerator. It will stay fresh and crisp all week, although I may have to wet the bag again after a few days.
Another way to buy lettuce without any packaging, bands, or twist ties is to find loose mixed lettuce and put it in your produce bag. This kind of lettuce doesn’t really work for wraps, but it is how I buy my spinach.
Here are a few more plastic-free produce photos to inspire you. The broccoli and carrots are the good guys. I’ll buy celery at a different store that doesn’t put a band around it.
I have a hard time finding kale or chard completely packaging-free:
So instead, I opt for heads of cabbage, which are also cruciferous veggies. I can usually find Brussels sprouts loose in a bin too. And often, green beans. Just have to remember my cloth bags!
Here are a few related posts you might find useful:
Ditch the plastic salad spinner. Use your cloth produce bags instead. They work better!
Here’s a ginormous list of ways to buy and store produce without plastic.
Even little plastic produce stickers are a problem.
And what’s wrong with Trader Joe’s?
One more look at the tasty bite I made today…
What amazes me is how so many places sock-it-to-ya when you buy “package free”! If only I could get smaller sized apples and buy 3-lbs for the same price I can buy a bag of apples for. I still buy them loose, but am irritated every time!
What a great idea! Ymmm! Lettuce wraps: what a terrific way to have fresh and crunchy at the same time. Brilliant way to store lettuce in the fridge, too.Will definitely be copying! Did you take out the plastic produce bins?
I buy salad greens, baby spinach and baby winter greens same way as you, and have the same problem with ties/rubber bands on full sized winter greens, asparagus. I kind of get it when something is priced by-the-bunch, but not when it’s by-the-pound. I take off rubber bands, ties and leave behind when I can, hopefully making a point [doubt it]. Even at Farmers’ Markets too many use the ties, etc. There, I ALWAYS undo and give back. Dumb. Just leave loose and sell by weight. Sheesh. Wish I had the willpower to just refuse, like you do with the winter greens.
Don’t get me started on stickers. Argh. Leave ’em all behind!
On a good note, my local fav produce market frequently carries things like berries and cherry tomatoes loose (no plastic basket), to just be scooped up. WooHoo. Spotted organic celery *finally* without any ties today.
It’s the little things.
It is really hard to find plastic free produce! Which is crazy!
Yum! Lettuce, egg and avocado sounds filling and also refreshing! And, about a year ago was when I got the idea on your blog to dry salad by putting it in a cloth bag – YES, it’s awesome and totally works! Just have to hang dry the cloth bag afterwards, but I’m seriously considering selling/giving away my plastic salad spinner (clear space). :)