Everyone loves a good salad, but sometimes lettuce can be a pain. Delicate leaves can wilt or decay, and hearty lettuces like romaine can develop rusty brown spots. Don’t despair! There’s good news: a little brown lettuce doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole head is bad. Professional chefs call these spots “rust,” and they simply remove them before making a salad. Don’t throw that perfectly good lettuce away! Just follow these steps to remove lettuce rust and get cooking. 

rusty brown lettuce
These romaine heads have rusty brown spots, but they’re still good to eat

Rust usually occurs near the roots of a head of lettuce. These reddish-brown blemishes can be the result of too much moisture during storage. Although it’s not harmful, it can certainly be unappetizing. It’s best to remove these spots before making a salad. Luckily, it’s easy to just cut away any discoloration.

To remove the lettuce rust simply take a chefs knife, hold firmly onto the head of lettuce, and cut away from your hand.

remove brown lettuce spots
A little brown lettuce is no match for a chef’s knife

If the lettuce has more than one brown spot, just keep cutting until all the rusty pieces are removed. After the brown portions are removed, just continue your preparation. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, try a romaine salad with feta and roasted red bell peppers, or a hearty main course salad with chicken, homemade croutons, and creamy caper dressing.

romaine lettuce salad
Voilà, a perfectly good salad

Watch the video below to see how a Blue Apron chef gets rid of lettuce rust in just 20 seconds.