How Do You Keep Your Greens Fresh?
It’s such a wonderful bracha that we can so easily obtain bug-free lettuce today. What was once an arduous job to wash, check and recheck every leaf is now something that can be done in just minutes with soap and water and a running faucet.
However, it can be very upsetting if, after you’ve spent the money to buy all those lettuces and have spent the time it takes to wash them properly, to find that just a day or two later, and often less than that, the lettuce is already wilted and starting to go bad. This can be especially frustrating in the hot weather when produce tends to wilt faster.
Here’s the method I use to preserve my greens and I find it works for any kind of salad greens and lettuces that come in whole heads or stalks. (This does not apply to already shredded greens, salads or cabbage that are sold in small bags. Those should be used within one or tops, two days of being purchased and opened.)
One implement I do feel is very important to have for the best lettuce results is a salad spinner. While I am not one that feels you should always be buying the latest household gadgets, this one is so indispensable for fresh lettuce users that you really can’t get the same results without it. That being said…
Fill the bowl of the salad spinner, or an ordinary large bowl with water and dishsoap. Twist off the base of the lettuce, being careful not to twist off the actual lettuce leaves. Separate the leaves and push them all down in the soapy water. Move them around a bit. When they are ready to be rinsed, do so one at a time so that you can be sure you removed all the sand and any possible surface bugs that may have been there. As you finish the rinsing, place the leaves in the strainer part of your salad spinner.
When all the leaves are rinsed thoroughly, put the salad spinner together and spin the leaves as much as possible.
To store the leaves you will need a dry and clean kitchen towel, a roll of paper towels and a large freezer bag.
Lay the kitchen towel down in front of you. Put two squares of paper towels down on it. Put down a layer of already spinned-out lettuce leaves. When there is no more room, put down two more squares of paper towels and then another layer of lettuce leaves. Keep doing this until you have no more leaves.
Now comes the fun part. Roll up your little pile of lettuce leaves and paper towels layers like a jelly roll, keeping it firm. Place this into the freezer bag. Press it a bit so you can get all the air out of it. Then twist it closed and clip it shut with a clothespin. Place it on one of the bottom shelves of the refrigerator. If you place the lettuce too close to the top of your refrigerator or too near the motor it will cause it to freeze and ruin the leaves.
When you remove some of the lettuce in order to make a salad, remember to re-roll it up and put it in the freezer bag, sans the air, until the next use.
You should see that your lettuces will last closer to a week this way, being fresh and nice all the time.
You can do the same for fresh parsley and dill. The difference is that for these kinds of greens, if you are not going to use the entire package right away, you should just place them directly into a freezer bag after you have spun them dry, without any paper towels. Then place them in a freezer bag and just freeze whatever you have not used up yet. Any time you want to make soup or your favorite chicken recipes that use these fresh greens, just break them off and drop some in. It works so well every single time!
Enjoy your greens throughout the summer!