Keeping Produce Fresh

Do you have a New Year’s resolution to eat more salads?  It’s a great way to incorporate vegetables into your day, adding beneficial fiber and nutrients.  If weight loss is your goal, adding a salad to your reduced-calorie meal can help you to feel fuller and more satisfied.

The first step to eating more salad is to get the ingredients in the house.  Ready-to-eat salad bags are available in the produce section of your supermarket, but I am always disappointed with how quickly they go bad.  The lettuce gets so mushy it is practically liquefied.  If you do not have time to prepare your own lettuce, these bags are definitely the way to go.  Just keep in mind that you should plan to eat the lettuce within 2 days for the best quality. 

I prefer to wash and spin-out the lettuce myself, I find it lasts longer (well over a week) and really does not take too long.  It is less expensive than the ready-made bags as well.  And, in case you are wondering, yes, it is important to clean your lettuce!  Here are the steps:

1.  Start with a clean sink and a fresh head of your favorite lettuce, preferably organic.  Remove the outer leaves of the lettuce and cut off the bottom “nub” where the leaves attach.  Is “nub” the anatomically correct word?  I’m not sure, but you know what I mean. 

2.  Separate the leaves, placing them in a colander and rinsing with cool water.  Shake gently to remove excess water.

3.  Using a salad spinner, spin the leaves in a few small batches.  Be sure to drain the water from the spinner between batches.

4.  Place a paper towel at the bottom of a container designed for produce.  I like the Produce Keeper by Rubbermaid.  It was about $12 at the grocery store and contains vents to prevent moisture build-up.

For happy lettuce!

5.  Place the lettuce in the container and add another, folded-up, paper towel on top.  Place the lid on and place in the fridge.   Replace the top paper towel as needed.  You now have fresh, crisp lettuce ready for your next salad creation.  No more liquid lettuce!

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