Keeping lettuce crisp


DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thanks for a great column again.

How can you keep a head of lettuce crisp and fresh?

How do you cook bacon in the oven?

I also have a tip regarding the newspaper sleeves. Before returning them to the carrier, keep a few to put shoes in when traveling. — No Name, Lewiston

ANSWER: All the websites Sun Spots perused seemed to agree on handling lettuce.

They suggest that when you get home from the store, wash it in cold water (submerging in a bowl is good) and remove any damaged leaves. Then dry it and wrap it in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag (or a storage container).

Store lettuce in the refrigerator (the crisper drawer is the best place), replacing the paper towel any time it feels especially wet. You want the lettuce to retain moisture but not drown. You shouldn’t see pools of water in the bag.

For iceberg lettuce, rinse the head in cold water, then wrap in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag.

Sun Spots also removes iceberg’s core by banging the head down on a corner of the sink, which makes it easy to twist out, but in light of the next tip, she’s not sure if this is a good idea.

That website post noted that lettuce bruises easily, so to be careful not to shove other foods up against it in the fridge. Banging the lettuce around may not be good either.

The same site also said if it takes you a while to eat a head of lettuce, you may want to consider buying romaine. It tends to stay fresh longer than other varieties.

By the way, iceberg lettuce has little in the way of nutritional value, so while it’s crispiness adds to a salad, you might want to mix it with other lettuces in salads.

As for cooking bacon in the oven, several online posts recommend it as easy and less messy, but they disagree slightly on technique. One site said to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; another said to put the bacon in a cold oven.

All suggested laying it out on a cookie sheet. Some suggested lining the pan with foil or parchment paper; another said using a rack on the pan would make the bacon crispier. It takes about 20 minutes.

If Martha Stewart is the ultimate expert, preheat the oven, use parchment paper to line the baking sheet and bake 15 to 17 minutes.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: First, thank you for the many times you have helped me and others. I read your column and can see it’s not only me who is honored by your Sherlock Holmes ability. Well, this time it’s going to be a reach.

I’m looking for a Monday Night Football jacket. I had one. I won it. I can’t remember how, but I had a number on something, and my son stayed up and watched for the drawings and I won. (There were a couple of hundred given out nationwide.) I loved that jacket. It was a beautiful blue. I wore it often.

At some time during a troubled time for me and I was in the hospital, it was taken from me. I believe this person sold it in a garage sale or gave it away. If someone has one, I would love to buy it. This was a few years ago. I just thought I’d take a chance. Thank you again. — Debbie, 207-312-5439, [email protected]

ANSWER: There are several different styles of Monday Night Football jackets online at This one looks like it might be what you want:

DEAR SUN SPOTS: My husband is a 21-year Vietnam veteran who is in need of a chairlift to go upstairs. He does not leave the house, and his joy is his upstairs “man room.” I’m hoping someone may have one they no longer need or want. I am willing to pay a fair price. Thank you, — Jane, [email protected], 207-689-4119

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