Washing and Storing Salad Greens

I find it ironic that just as  temperatures (and energy bills) start to skyrocket, the lettuces and greens in our gardens slow down... bolt and go to seed... or

simply melt...  

and just as the heat intensifies our cravings for the lighter fare of salads and minimally prepared dishes.

This morning I cut the last of the arugula, flowering and full-flavored...just this side of too bitter, but delicious to me all the same.

This spring, when leaf lettuces were at their peak, a friend of mine commented that her delicate cut lettuces seemed to turn to mush before she could enjoy them, then asked me to post my best cut-and-wash fresh greens technique. 

No doubt you have your own method, but here's mine:

*  Cut early in the morning before the sun hits the tender leaves and the heat sets in.

*  Wash greens immediately.  Begin to fill your basin with cold water.  If the amount is small, put the entire batch in the water, swish, then let the debris (and hitchhiking pests) settle.  Remove and lay out in a thin layer on a thick terry towel.

If you have a lot of greens to wash, rinse the leaves individually or in small bunches under a gently running stream of water as the basin fills. Lay out in a thin layer on a thick terry towel.

*  Allow the leaves to dry a bit, then use a salad spinner (find some here)

or try one of these nifty SPIN AND STORE SALAD AND HERBS bags (find and read about them here).  I bought these at my local SPROUTS store.  Added perk--good upper arm work out.

 * The key to crisp greens is removing all moisture before storing in the fridge.  Paper towels layered between greens in a paper or plastic bag works well, but offends my eco-sensibility (I have a thing about using paper towels...strange, I know. I also try to re-cycle the basin water and pour it on nearby potted plants...)

Instead, try one of these SALAD CRISPER DRAWSTRING bags (find them here), 

or if you're crafty, learn how to make your own here.  

My friend Sunshine made me a terrycloth one a while back...much appreciated. They make great homemade gifts.

Perhaps with a freshly- washed bunch of your home-grown greens?  :)

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