How to Keep Fresh Picked Salad Greens Crisp and Beautiful..No More Wilted Greens
When our various lettuce & mesclun plants start to get big enough to pick and eat, I am so excited! There is nothing better than a crisp, fresh salad made with your own lettuce or spinach or other type of green. I used to have this problem: I don't know how many times I have gone out to the garden to pick some salad greens for a fresh and lovely salad, and BAM! They turn into limp and saggy things before I get all the way back to the kitchen.
It's pretty common for the greens to fade away right before your very eyes! They just can't take the heat. And if I let them sit even for a few moments outside the fridge...they are definitely goners. And so is my wonderful salad. How annoying! So after an accident and some experiments, here are the steps I take for keeping lettuce lovely.
NOTE: You may also enjoy these articles: How to Amend the Worst Soil in the World So You Can Grow Stuff, 10 Tips Every Beginning Gardener Needs to Know, or maybe you'd like to find out about Fermentation Myths for healthy natural eating?
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How to Keep Your Fresh Picked Greens Crisp for a Long Time!
Want to know how to keep your greens fresh, crisp and salad perfect? Here's what I've learned to do so we can pick, wash, eat, and have a crisp wonderful salad:
Step 1 Pick Your Salad Greens in the Early Morning
This is by far the best time of the day to pick your lettuce and greens. The temperature hasn't yet heated up, and your greens are still full of moisture from the night before. You can also pick them in the evening, after a good soak, but I have found that the early morning is the absolute best time. Definitely try to get out there before the sun heats everything up.
Step 2 Soak Those Lettuce Leaves & Greens
I used to just give them a good rinse off. But one day, a little emergency happened, and I had to leave them soaking in the bowl. What a fortunate accident! Once I took them out and dried them, I noticed they were a lot more crisp than usual after a little wash off. So, soak those greens for at least 5 or 10 minutes. I have left mine for up to an hour, and no problems there!
Step 3 Shake & Lay Them Out to Dry a Bit
You don't really have to shake them, but I like to. I just step outside and give them a brisk little wave in the breeze. They I lay them out on a clean towel to finish drying off a bit. I don't leave them out for long---no more than 15 minutes or so.
Be gentle with the fragile greens. Greens such as red lettuce can bruise easily. You don't want this--
Step 4 Put the Salad Greens in a Plastic Bag & Store
Dab off any extra moisture (I am not fanatical about this---if there is still a little moisture left on the leaves, it's ok), then place them in a clean plastic bag, and leave the top slightly open.
Put into the refrigerator, and enjoy for the next day or two...or maybe even three! :-) **I usually leave a small opening in the top so a bit of air can circulate. Easy Peasy Crisp Lettuce for Salad. And it will stay fresh WAY longer in the fridge too.
Final Thoughts on Wilted Greens & Fresh Salad:
Depending on how hot (and dry) your summers get, wilting greens can be a real problem. At the very least, it's a tad annoying, if not downright frustrating to watch your lovely greens wilt before you can even get them to the table.
Try out these simple steps and see if they don't help out! :-)
During the winter time, I grow lettuce varieties and mesclun in a sunny window in my kitchen. You can use this crisping tip for lettuce grown inside as well as out! Enjoy!
Wondering where to buy seeds? I like the small family owned company White Harvest Seeds because they have non-GMO, heirloom, non-hybrid seeds. You can find out more about how to choose seeds in this article: Why You Need a Seed Bank.
How do you keep your greens crisp? Leave comments and ideas and thoughts in the comments section.
Hugs & Self-Reliance!
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