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Ask the Produce Docs (General)

Red Lettuce Leaves Deteriorate More Quickly?

Category
  • Fresh-cut Fruits & Vegetables
Question

In doing a market study, a complaint I received about mesculin mixes was that the "red leaves" (looked like a red romaine variety) became black and mushy long before the rest of the bag's contents. Can you please advise what this variety may be and if it specifically or red leaves in general have this tendency. What might be done to prevent? Is red orach also susceptible (I would love to include it in my mix)? Thanks. (E.H.)

Answer

I have only done one study where we separated the components and determined respiration rates and shelf-life of individual types of leafy greens. Here is a link to the paper from that study. Based on what we did, I don't think the red aspect per se makes them more susceptible to decay. We did include red orach in one study (see bottom of page 372 of the paper) and it had a shelf-life similar to that of spinach. The study we did was of a preliminary nature and your question has prompted me to put a more detailed study on the list of things to do in 2004. –Marita Cantwell

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