A quick internet search brought me to a statistic that an estimated forty percent of food grown/produced in the United States is wasted. I’m going to be honest…I am not immune to waste. It frustrates me to no end….for one thing, I work really hard to buy my groceries. For another, there are a lot of hungry people in the world-heck, there are a lot of hungry people in our city. The biggest offender in my fridge tends to be fresh herbs and salad greens. And if my Facebook and Twitter followers can be trusted to provide an accurate assessment of what most of you are throwing out too, we’re in the same boat. So…how about a tutorial on storing salad greens?
A couple of things to consider up front is what sort of salad greens you are buying. Bagged greens are extremely tempting, I know…and if you can’t spare the ten minutes to chop, wash, and spin your greens, then by all means, you can still wrap your greens in paper towels (I gave away a step!) and it will extend the life. However, if you can find ten minutes to do the chopping and washing, you’re likely to find that storing salad greens this way will help your greens last longer, especially if you wait until you are ready to start using them before you do the chopping (I have managed to store uncut bags of romaine hearts in my fridge for a month before). So, buy a whole head of lettuce, or some packaged hearts of romaine.
So, here’s how I go about storing salad greens:
1. Lop of the bottom of your lettuce. Cut it in half down the center, then turn the halves and cut them down the center as well. Chop the quarters crosswise about an inch thick.
2. Drop the chopped lettuce into a salad spinner and fill it with cold water. Give it a few swishes with your hands, then pull out the basket and drain the water. Put on the spinner and give it a few spins. If you don’t have a salad spinner, rinse your greens in a large colander, shake off the excess water, and proceed to step three.
3. Spread a clean, absorbent kitchen towel out on your table or counter. Spread the greens down the center of the towel and roll them up in the towel.
4. Rip off a few paper towels. Spread about 1/4 of the greens down one edge and roll them up in the towels. Repeat this step until all of the greens have been wrapped, then seal them up in a gallon-sized bag and stick them in the fridge.
These should keep well for about a week (you can expect a slight bit of browning at the edges from cutting the lettuce, but this won’t affect the taste).
By the way, I love to make these Mason jar salads a few at a time for a grab-and-go lunch. This one is green goddess dressing, feta cheese, leftover Thanksgiving ham, sunflower seeds, alfalfa sprouts (sprouted in my own sprouter because I also used to waste lots of sprouts-not an issue anymore since I can sprout just a little at a time on my kitchen counter!), broccoli florets, and chopped romaine. Just make sure the dressing or any other “wet” ingredients don’t touch the lettuce and you’re golden!
Have you ever tried any other methods for storing salad greens? Comment below and tell me about it!
More salad tips from Chattavore: Perfect salad!