The Most Important Things to Know About Washing and Storing Fresh Greens

The Most Important Things to Know About Washing and Storing Fresh Greens

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

It's easy to eat more salads and greens as the weather warms up. You might crave something cool and crisp, or the CSA you joined is kicking into high gear and loading you up with lettuces and greens.

Do you know the best ways to wash, dry, and store your greens? A little how-to can help make prep easier, plus extend the life of your produce. Here are our best tips!

Tips for Washing Greens

Some are fans of washing their greens right before they eat them, but to be honest, I do it right when I get home so I can just grab prepped lettuces and greens when I need them.

No matter when you wash your greens, cut them up first, then soak with water in a big bowl, salad spinner, or the sink instead of just running water over them — this lets any grit sink to the bottom, plus you can recycle the water for watering plants or washing other vegetables.

Tips for Drying Greens

Drying greens properly is just as important as washing! Lettuces stored with too much water on them get slimy and gross, and salad dressing doesn't stick very well on moist greens (plus the excess water dilutes the flavor of the dressing).

It's worth investing in a salad spinner if you go through a lot of greens each week, especially since they can do a lot more besides spinning salad. Don't have room for a salad spinner? Try drying them in a pillowcase — not only do you get a nice arm workout, but you also get perfectly dry greens!

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Tips for Storing Greens

Finally, make sure you know how to store your greens. We've found that the best way to store them is between paper towels in a sealed container, but you can also store them in plastic bags for a short amount of time. If you don't want to buy new containers, just save some of the boxes you buy salad in; they will work just as well.

Lettuces need some humidity or they will wilt, so put whole heads in the high humidity crisper drawer. There are also new produce keeper boxes you can buy that trap the ethylene gas that leads to spoilage, extending the life of your greens.

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