To be lean, eat lots of greens and follow these tips for keeping them fresh and spending less of your “green” on them.
At the market:
* For loose greens: Put your hand down into the plastic bag and then grab the greens with it. Pull the bag from the top down over the greens and release your hand. It’s a quicker, drier way to get wet or over-sized bunches of greens into the bag.
* For prepackaged greens or salad: Choose greens packaged in a plastic clamshell container as they last much longer if purchased in these than in the bags.
When you get home:
* Take a second to remove the twist-tie from your bunches of greens when you bring them home to prevent damage and aging caused by the metal wire.
* It’s worthwhile to rinse the greens, shake them to remove some of the moisture, and then roll them in a clean cotton dishtowel or a clean cotton pillowcase. The fabric will become damp, which is good. Put this rolled setup into the vegetable crisper for quick and easy, access to prepped greens. This will extend the freshness for many days.
* If you purchase a single or multi-pack of romaine lettuce, break off the core at the bottom of each head, wash the leaves, and put them into a white cotton pillowcase and into the crisper. Again, damp is good. This works for any lettuce, but you will be amazed by how the flavor of romaine improves when stored this way.
* To extend the life of salad greens in plastic clamshell containers, add a dry paper towel to the greens to absorb the moisture, which collects over time inside the container. I usually put the towel at the top because that’s where the condensation tends to form, but sometimes the greens begin to go soggy toward the bottom, and I’ll add a fresh one there.
* Recycle large plastic clamshell containers within your kitchen. They are perfect for storing prepackaged salad greens. The greens will last days longer in hard containers like this or in any glass or hard plastic container than they will in plastic bags.
* Prepare crisp salads with simple dressings such as, lemon juice and olive oil, or use large leaves of chard to wrap up healthful fillings instead of tortillas.
Adios soggy, spoiled greens!
Sherry Brooks is a healthy, happy and trim “frugalista” living the lean and green life near Malibu in sunny southern California.