Do you think you know how to wash greens? Leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale and Swiss chard are some of the first plants ready to harvest from the garden, and will often be the first items you see at your local farmers market. You can get the most out of them by learning to store and prepare them right. Today I want to look at how you should wash green, leafy vegetables. I also want to talk about when to wash greens and when not to.
Leafy green vegetables, like all other fresh produce will last longer if you store them whole and unwashed until you are ready to use them in a salad or other dish. To get the leaves really clean you want to wash greens in a bowl or basin full of cool water, and not just hold them under your kitchen tap. Put a handful of leaves in the water at a time, and be sure to get a bit of friction going to loosen up any soil.
How to Wash Greens
Now let the greens sit a moment so the particles you washed off will fall to the bottom of the basin. Scoop the leaves out – do not dump them into a colander or otherwise pour them out with the washing water! This will just get all the grit back on them.
Once you’ve lifted the leaves out of the basin, check the colour of the wash water. If it’s pretty dirty, you need to wash the greens again. Keep washing and changing the water until the water is fairly clear, and you stop seeing grit in the basin after removing the greens. (Hint: Be more eco-friendly by saving this water for your houseplants or garden.)
Drying and Prepping Your Greens
Lay the greens out in a single layer on a clean towel. Loosely roll the towel up, being careful not to crush them. If the leaves are still pretty wet when you unroll the towel, you can repeat with a second dry towel.
I tend not to trim my greens until after they’re washed, because we save the stems and cores for making broth. Just toss everything into a freezer bag when you do any vegetable prep, and leave it in the freezer until you’re ready to make broth. I save all my vegetable skins, peels and ends this way. It reduces kitchen waste, and it’s also a frugal way to cook up a batch of homemade stock.
To see a demonstration of the technique for how to wash greens, check out this video:
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Original content © 2014-2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
This article first appeared in August 2014 on the now defunct site Bubblews
This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!