Before you go and think this is going to be one of those boring PSAs about environmental stuff, I want to assure you that it’s far from it. I love to research, but fall asleep with that topic, so never fear. What I’m actually talking about is your leafy greens! Do you ever go to make a salad and get seriously irritated that it resembles a slimy swamp? I have found a method that keeps those greens looking (and tasting) good for a bit longer.
Larry likes to have a salad for his “lunch” (in quotes because it’s usually eaten at night) on workdays, but we only get groceries once a week, since we live in a rural area. Those last few days of his work week often left me scrambling to figure out something else to make for his lunch, because the second package of lettuce wasn’t so appetizing anymore. I figured that someone else must have trouble with this too and figured if the info is anywhere, then it’s on Pinterest. I sifted through a lot of pins, but finally saw one that was super easy to test and wouldn’t require any special tools. Over at PopSugar they wrote that you can get several more days out of your leafy greens (even some green herbs!) if you dry them well, put them in a zipper bag, and blog them full of air. I was pretty skeptical, but Larry’s always saying I’m full of hot air, so I figured I was set to try this.
Now, I’ve tried prepackaged salad and fresh romaine leaves. Since I can get a lot more lunches out of 3 heads of romaine leaves, I put in the extra work now. I cut off the bottoms of the heads, because this method really only works well for the leafy green parts, plus we’re not big fans of the bitter bases. I then cut up the leaves, which also gave me a chance to sift through the lettuce to dispose of any areas that were browning or wilted.
Next, give it a really good rinse. I used to rinse first, but then I found myself washing it all again once it was cut, because chopping exposed the rest of the lettuce to the hidden yucky spots that I throw out. Save yourself the work and water – rinse after you’ve cut it all up. By the way, that’s one head of romaine in the picture. Once it’s all clean you need to get it as dry as possible. This is a seriously important stage. I’ve learned that the more dry the greens are, the longer they last with this method. If you have one on hand, I recommend using a spinner. I then empty the spinner onto a towel and dry the lettuce with a few healthy pats (and shakes, rolls, and pretty much anything else I can manage lol).
Once your greens are as dry as you can get them (some days I really suck at it, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a bit to get them good and dry), put them in a plastic zipper bag. Now, I’ve ventured away from the original instructions here just a little, because I’ve found that I can get a couple more days out of my greens if I add some paper towels to my bag. I use the select a size variety (not on purpose – I need to pay more attention when I buy bulk packages – but for this the smaller sized towels work perfectly), and have put single towels in all different locations. All that matters is that most of the lettuce has some paper towel nearby, since it will lose some moisture while hanging out in the bag, no matter how well you dried it. (Two set ups that work great: one towel on the bottom of the bag and one at the top & one towel down each side.) Also, trust me, don’t use the kind with the little white doodad that slides the bag closed. Go for the plain old zip it together with your fingers until the blue line turns purple to show it’s sealed, because now you need to blow into the bag. I found it’s a lot easier if you zip up all but about half an inch at an edge and then blow the bag up. You want to fill it as much as possible and keep blowing into it as you zip, or else some might escape, and your greens won’t stay fresh as long. I’ve been experimenting with this method for almost two months, so just trust me. *grin* That little tip about the white zip thing was learned the hard way, by the way. It’s disturbingly easy to get a bit of your lip caught under that thing and end up with a bloody lip. *rolling eyes* So far I’ve never popped a bag thankfully, but you want to make sure the bag is full of air, like this.
You might have the same problem that I do, too. The towels like to move all around on me and one ended up moving to the top while one is on the side. lol Don’t worry about it. After about three days the towels will be damp, so change them out every so often. This bag will make a week’s worth of lunches and I’ll change the towels once. The best part is that the lettuce will look just as crisp and green in the last bowl as it does right now.
According to the website you can do this method with any leafy green and it’ll keep them fresh longer. I haven’t tried it on other greens or herbs, just romaine and iceberg. The key thing is that it has to be a leafy green. It doesn’t work for other stuff, like iceberg lettuce. There isn’t enough green to it for the method to actually work. If you try others, please post in the comments. I’ll update my pin and the post with your experience(s).
I hope you have a happy weekend!