Can Lemon Juice Revive Limp Lettuce?

Can Lemon Juice Revive Limp Lettuce?

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Can sad, slightly wilted lettuce be revived? A common trick is to submerge the leaves in cold water to help crisp them up, but when we heard that adding lemon juice to the water would perk them up even more, we had to try it out for ourselves!

The Original Tip

Since limp lettuce results from moisture loss, soaking the leaves in cold water adds that moisture back in. Adding lemon juice, which is acidic, to this water is supposed to encourage cell turnover in lettuce leaves so they absorb even more water. What results is re-crisped, revived lettuce that is in better shape than just soaking in cold water alone.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

The Testing Method

After leaving a head of romaine lettuce uncovered in the refrigerator for over a week, the edges of the leaves were limp and wilting.

I placed half of the leaves in eight cups of cold tap water. The rest of the leaves were placed in a second bowl with eight cups of the same cold tap water plus the juice of half a lemon. I let both bowls sit out for 10 minutes undisturbed, then drained and spun each batch of lettuce dry.

Left: No Lemon Juice; Right: Lemon Juice
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

The Results

I tasted the dry lettuce leaves from each batch straight up without any salad dressing. The lettuce soaked in the plain water had perked up a bit, although the edges of the lettuce that had wilted were still a bit soggy.

The lettuce soaked in the water and lemon juice mixture definitely had a hint of lemon flavor. Texture-wise, it didn't seem noticeably crisper than the other batch of lettuce.

Verdict: This is not a mind-blowing tip.

Final Notes

While the hint of lemon flavor in the second batch of lettuce wasn't unpleasant, it didn't seem to add any value here and just seemed to be a waste of a lemon. While I would definitely recommend soaking lettuce in cold (or even ice) water to freshen it up, save the lemon for the salad dressing instead!

Created with Sketch.