Clean, Dry & Store Those Greens While Saving Some Green

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I’ve been trying to do what all the chefs on Your Life A-Z praise – shopping local.  One of the simplest ways to do that is to stop by one of the Valley’s farmers markets.  This year it seems that many of them have continued throughout the scorching summer months but as the weather cools down in the next couple of months even more will pop up. 

And, here’s what I noticed at the markets – lots and lots of greens – lettuces, spinach, even some that look like weeds but taste delicious.  So given my new found green ingredients I wanted to find the best ways to get them clean and dry and ready to use.  I’ve found the challenge to be getting them clean between leaves and within the leaves, especially if purchased at a local market – many are organic but can come with a little extra – well – dirt.

Cleaning Greens
1. Remove any damaged, wilted or yellow leaves and cut off stiff leaves.
2. Fill a large bowl with water, or you can use a really clean sink. Place the greens in the water.
3. Gently swish the greens around and lift them gently out.  Dirt will settle to the bottom.
4. Empty and refill with fresh water.  Repeat until no more dirt comes off and is found on the bottom.
5. When clean shake excess water from the leaves.

Drying Them Off
Drying greens is important if you are going to store them in the fridge or to dress them immediately in a salad. 

1. Place washed greens in a colander to drain.
2. Place layers of paper towels on a counter and place the greens on the paper.  Using more towels pat the greens dry.
3. A salad spinner also works great.
4. To make a homemade salad spinner effect – cut up your greens and place with small strips of paper towels in a bowl.  Now gently toss the greens with the paper towels and they’ll be dry in no time.

Remove any rubber bands or twist ties, wash and dry thoroughly.  Then place some more fresh paper towels in with the leaves in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.  The towels will help keep them fresher longer.

Plus, if you’re greens seem a bit wilted when you pull them out to use and you want to crisp them up – simply place them in a bowl of water with some ice cubes and it’ll perk them up.  Just remember to repeat the drying process before adding them to be topped with dressing.

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