This is the poor, sorrowful, faded lettuce I pulled out of the fridge yesterday.
It arrived in our vegetable box last week and, because of some slight craziness in our house, I didn't have time to pack the box away carefully and instead just shoved the contents in the fridge.
Hence, a week later, I uncovered this pathetic, dried out specimen.
Now, while you might think it's given up the ghost and is only good for the bin, I believe it can be saved.
My 2 strategies for re-vitalising a droopy lettuce
1. Give it an iced water bath
I learnt this trick years ago, while working in an organic produce shop. We didn't have air conditioning and on a hot day, after a couple of hours on the shelf, all the lettuces would start fading.
Not wanting to just throw them away, we'd spark them up by sticking the lettuces in cold water and putting them in the fridge. A while later the lettuce would be as good as new. I've adapted this technique for home use.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and place a few ice cubes in the water
Cut the stalk out of the base of the lettuce, remove any obviously browned bits, loosely separate the leaves and plunge them into the cold water.
Leave the lettuce to soak for 30 minutes and then pull it out of the water and drain.
Dry in a salad spinner or by wrapping in a tea towel.
By the end of this most of your lettuce should have perked up and be almost as good as new. You'll lose a few bits of leaf, which are too far gone, but most of it will be crisp and delicious. Plus of course, it's now washed and ready for use in your next salad.
2. If that fails, turn it into soup
Sometimes the lettuce is just too far gone and not even an iced bath will bring it back to life, well not enough life to use in a salad anyway. In that case, I turn the lettuce into this odd sounding, but utterly delicious soup, Martha Rose Shulman's Potato and Lettuce Soup.
While it might seem bland or barmy, don't let the name put you off, I've been making this soup for years and we love it. While Martha uses the tough outer leaves in her recipe, it also works perfectly with a wilted, too-far-gone lettuce.
I also make this soup in the cold months, when we don't feel like salads but are still getting lettuces in our vegetable box. It freezes beautifully and is delicious topped with a chopped up boiled egg or some toasted pepitas and yoghurt.