Friday, November 15, 2013

Everyone Knows You Can't Freeze Lettuce

I remember seeing this cartoon years ago and it made me laugh.  Poor dolt, everyone knows you can’t freeze lettuce!

Or can you?

I’m here to tell you that there is a big difference between freezing lettuce and lettuce freezing. 

When the temperatures start to get frigid on a regular basis 
(it was 24* at choretime) 
many of our customers are astounded that we still have greens.  

The lettuce is particularly perplexing to them.  Everyone knows you can't freeze lettuce!

You must have a greenhouse!

Well, no… we have 2 hoophouses.  The difference being that greenhouses generally have some source of heat and hoophouses do NOT have any heat, except what builds up during the daylight hours. Without a source of constant heat, it gets cold in the hoophouses in the overnight hours…real COLD!    Here’s a little more about the hoophouses.  Here's a little more about the hoophouses.

Our quest for fresh greens in the wintertime go back a long way.  Read this. After reading “Salads in the Snow”, I was more than a little excited to try growing lettuce, spinach and kale (to name just a few) during the dark, depressing days of winter.  According to the article, the author was growing greens in the winter…in MAINE!  Surely we could do the same in Virginia.

The first time I walked into the hoophouse on a very frosty morning, I nearly cried.  Look at my plants!  They were dark and drooping and frozen solid.  Yes, frozen solid.  Oh, I must have misunderstood…maybe we lived in the wrong zone…maybe the author of the article lied or at the very least misspoke. It was a dark and depressing day.

When I went back (dragging the Boss along to survey the damage) I was astounded …it was warm and bright in the hoophouse…the plants had recovered…life looked good again. 

 By mid-day, the hoophouse is a balmy oasis even when there is snow on the ground outside.
Yes, that is SNOW behind me!

Further research revealed that plants (even lettuce) can survive the freeze/thaw cycle as long as they are attached to their roots. That only makes sense when you think about it. Of course there is some winter kill, but ultimately…”Salads in the Snow” are not only possible, but highly probable…thanks to that 6ml plastic skin on the hoophouse!

So, while it's still not recommended that you freeze lettuce (yes, it does get mushy and gross) ...I'm here to tell you that lettuce can indeed freeze and still be tasty and delicious!

Homestead Hill version of
"Salads in the Snow"


  1. I, for one, am sooooo thankful that you discovered this truth about lettuce! I count fresh lettuce nearly year 'round as one of my favorite items from Homestead Hill and feel so blessed!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Kim! ...and for overlooking the occasional slug. LOL