Lately I have been sharing about how important leafy greens are for us. You can check out my posts on inflammation and dark leafy greens if you missed those posts. Well now you have bought all those leafy greens, but can’t seem to eat them before they start to wilt and get mushy, right? This is like throwing money in the garbage. So here are a few tips on how to extend the life of your greens.
I always have some type of leafy greens in our fridge. I shop a few different stores throughout the week so I can pick up smaller amounts throughout the week (if I won’t be getting any from my CSA that week). I do this to have variety and fresh greens available. This is not an option for everyone, so lets talk about ways to keeps those greens out of your garbage.
Many people wonder if we should wash our greens right away or wait to wash right before we use them. Yes and No.
Baby greens are rather delicate so it is best to wash them as you will use them. I do this, but once I open a bag, I will put a clean paper towel in the bag before I put it back in the fridge. This will help to absorb excess moisture that will develop. I normally can keep baby greens for about five days using this method. So this is when the answer is NO for cleaning before storing.
When you have mature leafy greens, (which can be from your garden, CSA, farmers market, or grocery store), the answer is YES you want to clean the greens before storage. It will take a little bit of time, but you have invested in the greens so lets make them last as long as possible.
So here is the process:
Step 1: Fill a sink or large bowl with cold water. Add the separated greens to the water, removing any dirt or bugs (yes, you may find bugs-they like the greens, too!), and any wilted leaves. Yes, one bad leaf can ruin the whole bunch. Let them rest in the water for 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the greens from the water, straining as much water as possible off the greens. If you have a salad spinner, they are a wonderful time saver when it comes to removing the water from the greens. Mine broke and I greatly miss it; it is on the list to replace very soon. Here is a salad spinner if you would like to purchase one. If you don’t have a spinner, shake off as much water as possible.
Step 3: Lay the greens out on a vegetable mat, tea cloths, or paper towel to dry. You will want the greens dry before storing in the fridge. This is very important as moisture will encourage the greens to wilt and rot.
Step 4: Once the greens are dry it is time to store them for later use, you will wrap them in either tea towels, flour sack dish towels, or paper towels. The greens can then be placed in an OPEN plastic bag or reusable produce bags. If using a regular plastic bag, the reason you want the bag left open is to allow air to escape from the bag and reduce the amount of moisture that builds up. If you are using the reusable produce bags, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. My greens normally last about seven days.
I hope this post has been helpful so you will enjoy your dark leafy greens all week long. Remember eating these nutritious foods is a great way to invest into yourself and your health. How do you store your greens? Share any tips in the comments below. Thanks again for reading and following along.