Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lettuce Save You Some Green

Here are some tips on keeping your greens fresh and spending less of your "green" on them.

At the store:
-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.
-Rinse the greens, shake them to remove some of the moisture, and then roll them in a clean cotton dishtowel or 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 singe 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.
-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. Put the towel at the top because that's where the condensation tends to form, but oftentimes the greens begin to go soggy toward the bottom, so add a fresh one there also.
-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.

For meals:
-Prepare crisp salads with simple dressings such as lemon juice and olive oil, or use large leaves to wrap up healthful fillings instead of tortillas or use as "buns" for a hamburger.

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