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Why Does Lettuce Turn Pink? (2 Reasons & 3 Avoiding Methods)

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Are you wondering looking at your lettuce turning pink? Why does lettuce turn pink? You are probably worried, and you want an answer to this question. Don’t you? You’ll find your answers in this article. Just stick till the end.

Lettuce has large green leaves that are basically used in households to make salads. Lettuce is used all around the world as it is considered the healthiest thing to eat that carries high nutritional value.

Lettuce plants are available in many varieties. It belongs to the family Asteraceae which is native to the Mediterranean area. It generally has succulent leaves which turns pink if not cared for properly. The leaves of the Lettuce plant stored for future use generally turn pink.

However, pink lettuce is safe to eat as it is not caused by any kind of microorganisms like mould or bacteria. Instead, it is due to some sort of chemical reaction.

The Lettuce plant’s leaves turning pink indicate that you need to eat it as soon as possible. The quality starts deteriorating as some kind of nutrient already goes out. But it might taste the same as fresh green lettuce.  

Why Does Lettuce Turn Pink
Why Does Lettuce Turn Pink? via Reddit

Reasons That Answers Why Does Lettuce Turn Pink

You might be keen to know why does lettuce turn pink. Sometimes lettuce turns pink, and sometimes it doesn’t. So, what might be the reason? You’ll find them below.

1) Ethylene Gas Exposure

When the lettuce plant gets exposed to the Ethylene gas, oxidation occurs, which turns the lettuce pink in colour. Lettuces are usually packed in sealed bags in stores containing a higher level of nitrogen gas and CO2 than the surrounding air.

So, once the pack is opened, lettuce gets exposed to environmental oxygen. The greater the amount of oxygen, the more likely the lettuce is to oxidize. Air is a significant component that turns Lettuce pink.

Carelessness during the packaging is why lettuces mainly turn pink. The oxidation reaction can be avoided by proper packaging and maintaining good storage.

2) High Temperature

When it gets exposed to high temperatures, lettuce mature faster and lose the fresh green colour. If you leave your lettuce in a warmer place, it loses its quality and freshness.

Hence, lettuce should not be stored in places where the temperature is high. If done so, it is more likely to turn pink.

Always store your lettuce in cooler places, and don’t leave it out for a longer period of time. However, pink lettuce is not going to harm you if you consume it by washing properly before cooking.

Lettuce is believed to have a high nutritional value containing different kinds of nutrients. Also, the presence of antioxidants in the lettuce is beneficial for humans if consumed.

How Can Lettuce Be Prevented from Turning Pink? Avoiding Methods

You might be eager to know exactly how can lettuce be prevented from turning pink. This chemical change can be avoided if proper storage measures are followed. Some avoiding methods and measures to follow are mentioned below.

1. Reduce the Airflow

If possible, lettuce should be packed in bags so that the air does not increase the oxidation process. It can be stored on a Ziplock bag or some kind of Tupperware. But make sure to keep the lid loose or off to evaporate the condensation.

It is also recommended to wrap your lettuce with paper before storing it, as it absorbs the moisture content and cuts down the airflow to keep it fresh. This helps you increase the life span of the lettuce. Store the lettuce in a refrigerator to limit its exposure to air.

It will be best if you are careful before storing the lettuce as well. Always make sure it is kept away from vegetables and fruits, producing high levels of ethylene gas.

Some of the vegetables and fruits that produce higher levels of ethylene gas are Avocados, Pears, Melons, Peaches, Apples, Tomatoes and Bananas. Try keeping your lettuce away from them.

2. Store Lettuce in Refrigerator

Lettuce should ideally be stored at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It should also not be left out for more than 1.5-2 hours.

It is necessary to store lettuce properly to keep it fresh and green If stored properly, it can even last for a week. The quality of lettuce deteriorates, changing the colour to pink if left out for a longer period.  

3. Cultivate Lettuce Locally

Locally available lettuce is always fresh and does not undergo shipping processes under its valuable self-life. Shipping processes is also the main reason why lettuce deteriorates in quality.

You will need to check the lettuce properly before buying. It might have already started turning pink. Avoid buying lettuces if you need to store them for a longer period of time.

Consuming pink lettuce is not harmful, as already mentioned. But a few nutrients may be gone. So, it is always best to have green and fresh lettuce.

You can just simply purchase and consume fresh and green lettuce rather than storing it. This is the easiest method to avoid pink lettuce.

>> Related Post: Why Does Lettuce Turn Red – 4 Astonishing Reasons


Here, we studied briefly why does lettuce turn pink and the preventive measures to avoid them. When exposed to ethylene gas,, lettuce turns pink as an oxidation reaction takes place.

You can store lettuce in a Ziplock bag or Tupperware to avoid this. You can also remove the moisture content from lettuce by using a paper towel to decrease the airflow around the lettuce. Exposure to high temperatures also causes the lettuce to turn pink.

Availability of proper storage is mandatory for the lettuce to avoid turning pink. Storing the lettuce in the refrigerator is the best way to keep your lettuce fresh and green.

You can always consume pink lettuce as it is not harmful. But lettuce turning pink is a sign of its decreasing quality, so consume it as soon as possible. It tastes the same as fresh and green lettuce if consumed while just turning pink.