How to clean greens

I remember having a lovely lunch in a restaurant by Fisherman’s Warf in San Fransisco. Everything was perfect: wonderful view of the ocean, sterling service and then I felt a crunch of sand in the spinach Florentine. How could such a high caliber kitchen fail to thoroughly wash those greens? It happened years ago but I remember it vividly.

There are quick and simple steps to keep a similar memory from being associated with your precious cooking. You go the extra mile to have quality greens, whether from your own garden or from the farmers’ market. Then you prepare those greens with specially chosen seasonings. There is no need to mess up the picture with a bit of grit hiding in those greens.

Simple Steps to Cleaning Your Greens

  1. Fill a large container half way with cool water. The largest size aluminum bowl is a good choice.
  2. Immerse your greens in the water and swirl them around for half a minute or so. Do swirl the greens but not so much as to bruise them.
  3. Lift the greens out of the bowl to a colander. Check the bottom of the bowl for grit. If there is any, repeat the process until there is no sand left in the bottom of the bowl.
  4. If you are using the greens in a salad, let the greens drip dry or use a salad spinner to dry them.

Why Is Cleaning Greens Necessary?

  • Many greens are savoyed or roughly textured leaving ample opportunity for bits of sandy soil to cling to the surfaces.
  • With some greens, the perfect lodging place is on the back of the leaf so you may not see it at all. I am often shocked at the amount of dirt staring up a me from the bottom of the bowl when I would have sworn that the greens were perfectly clean
  • Greens are usually grown in sandy loam which means there will almost always be a bit of sand carried away with the crop.
  • Simple rinsing does not do an adequate job of dislodging the more stubborn deposits of sand. Swishing in the bath water is the dislodging answer to this problem.

A greens bath may seem like a lot of work initially, especially if you are accustomed to reaching into a bag of pre-washed greens from the grocery store. After a couple of rounds with this cleaning method, you will be an expert and think nothing of the few minutes it takes to ensure squeaky clean greens.

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Collard greens grow in sandy soil, so freshly picked, unprocessed greens are often quite dirty. To loosen stuck–on dirt, soak and swish your greens in a sink or large bowl filled with clean water. Then, give them a final rinse to remove any remaining dirt or grit before cutting the greens and preparing them as desired. You may need to repeat the cleaning process a few times, however, to ensure that your collard greens are completely clean!

How to clean greens

Tip: If your tap water is coming out too warm, add 2 to 3 cups of ice to the sink or bowl to cool the water down before you add your greens.

Introduction: How To: Keep Greens Fresh

How to clean greens

How to clean greens

How to clean greens

Several easy steps that help keep your greens crisp and fresh in your fridge for up to two weeks.

Greens are delicious, nutritious, and always seem to be cheaper if you buy 3+ bunches at the farmers market. They also have a tendency to wilt and rot if they are kept too long in the fridge without the proper storage. The good thing? Proper storage is easy. Just follow these few simple steps and you’ll be eating fresh greens all week long.

Step 1: Materials

Step 2: Separate Leaves

Using your kitchen shears or simply your own fingers, separate each lettuce leaf from the head of lettuce. As you are doing so, remove insects and any parts of the greens that you do NOT want to keep.

If you are looking for a faster method, you can cut off the bottom of the head, the majority of the leaves will fall away. I’ve found however, that it doesn’t take that long to pluck the leaves from the base and as a bonus, you can easily remove any insects you may find as you go along.

Step 3: Wash

Wash your leafy greens with cool water in your salad spinner. You’ll want to wash your greens in something (bowl, strainer) other than just the direct sink to avoid cross contamination and germs leaping on to your greens.

Wash and rinse until you’re satisfied and all of the bugs and dirt have been removed. Drain the water from your salad spinner and move on to the next step!

Step 4: Dry

This step is essential. You want to dry your leafy greens as best as you possibly can to avoid mildew and rot during storage.

Place your greens back in your salad spinner in a small batch. You want to work in batches for this step to make sure that your greens don’t clump and so that they dry properly. Place the lid on your spinner and spin those greens until they are dry. You can also blot them dry with a dish towel.

Work through all of your batches, making sure all of the leaves are dry.

Step 5: Roll ‘Em

Unroll a few sections of your paper towel roll on your countertop–do NOT disconnect your paper towels from the roll yet–and place your dried leafy greens on them. Make sure you leave a space that is about the width of one of your leaves at the end.

Fold the end with the space over the first leaf. Begin to roll, wrapping your lettuce leaves in the paper towel as you go. Break the paper towels off the roll when all of your lettuce is wrapped up. The paper towels will soak up any additional mositure and keep the humidity higher.

OPTIONAL METHOD 2: If you are confident in your drying technique, you can stack your dried lettuce leaves and wrap the bundle in paper towels, usually two. This method saves on paper towels and work, but is not quite as good as the first.

TIP: If you don’t want to use a ton of paper towels and generate waste, substitute the paper towels with a dish towel.

Step 6: Storing

Take your bundle of wrapped greens and slide it into a gallon ziplock. Seal your ziplock leaving some air in the bag–greens are fairly delicate, especially some types of lettuce and can easily bruise. Space is also good as it keeps the leaves further apart and prevents mildew and rot. The ziplock will help by preventing the loss of water (wilting) from your greens and create a mildly humid environment.

Place your greens in the crisper drawer of your fridge. This generally the coolest place in the fridge and will keep your greens the freshest.

Your greens should last up to two weeks depending on how fresh they were to begin with! Enjoy!

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3 Comments

How to clean greens

I just store them in reusable tuber ware, then take the stock and place them in a low basin with water. they regenerate on their own. when that occurs I transfer it to soil. pick off the leaves when I use it. when you have sets of four, it feeds two people regularly and haven’t had any issues growing inside during winter in an apartment

How to clean greens

It would cost less to buy new greens every couple of days, and less wasteful if you throw your old stuff on a compost. But if you MUST keep your greens at any cost I guess this is an ok way to do it.

To nix grease, bacteria, and more.

How to clean greens

How to clean greens

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Published August 28, 2020

Reviewed August 2020

How to clean greens

From arugula to watercress, leafy greens are fresh, beautiful, tasty and healthful. They’re popular, too. Over the past several decades, salads have gone from simple bowls of iceberg lettuce to glorious culinary spectacles in the center of the plate. Greens such as spinach and kale once were primarily served steamed or sautéed as sides, but are now found in cooked and raw preparations, from smoothies to desserts. There’s one golden rule that applies to any leafy greens: Between purchasing and plating, washing them properly is key!

Leafy greens need to be handled safely just like any other food. And some foodborne illnesses have been related to fresh leafy greens. Rinsing produce helps to remove some of the dirt and germs that may be present. This step and cooking are considered safer alternatives for vegetables that pose a higher risk of foodborne illness. Proper refrigeration is another important step. Perishable foods, including pre-washed or pre-cut produce, as well as cooked fruits and vegetables, should be refrigerated within 2 hours or within 1 hour, if the temperature is 90° Fahrenheit or above. Food safety for those at greater risk for food poisoning may include additional precautions.

Top Tips for Washing Leafy Greens

The first step in preparation of fresh greens, whether produced organically or conventionally, purchased from a farmers market or supermarket, served cooked or raw, is to wash them properly. Here’s how:

  • Always start with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soap and warm water.
  • Cut away any damaged areas on leaves or stems before preparing or eating the greens. If something seems rotten, discard it. Avoid cross-contamination by using a clean knife to chop or shred the leafy greens after they have been washed and dried.
  • If leafy greens are not labeled as “pre-washed” or “ready-to-eat,” thoroughly wash them under running water just before chopping, cooking or eating. This will help reduce the presence of microorganisms. Hint: If you wash leafy greens before storing, you can potentially promote bacterial growth and enhance spoilage.
  • If lettuce has a core, such as iceberg lettuce, remove it before washing.
  • When you have loose leaves, such as mesclun, that can’t easily be held under cold running water, use a colander or a salad spinner. Toss them around under the running water and repeat. Using a sink filled with water to wash produce is never recommended.
  • Never wash leafy greens with soap, detergent or bleach, since these can leave residues that are not meant to be consumed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t recommend using commercial produce washes because these also may leave residues.
  • If leafy greens are labeled as “pre-washed” or “ready-to-eat,” washing them is not necessary.
  • After washing fresh greens, pat them dry with paper towels or a freshly clean kitchen towel — or use a salad spinner — to help remove excess liquid.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a Brooklyn-based culinary nutritionist, writer and media personality.

Many a times your green vegetables are cultivated using various pesticides and fertilisers, which in some cases can also prove to be toxic for human consumption.Here are some tips that will come handy to wash your greens

It’s that time of the year again! Winters are setting in and soon markets will have a fresh green hue to them, what with all the greens like palak, methi, sarson and saag ready to be enjoyed in the form of many seasonal delicacies around the country. Green leafy and salad vegetables are a storehouse of dietary fibre like pectin, iron, folate, vitamin A, K, C , E. Spinach alone contains a dozen different antioxidant flavonoid compounds , boasting of anti-inflammatory properties that protect against heart disease and help neutralise the action of free radicals. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin present in spinach also help boost eye sight. Mustard greens (or sarson) have for long had the reputation of removing toxins from the body and lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. The diuretic action of celery and its ability to regulate high blood pressure is also a well-known fact in the world of health and nutrition. Have them raw or toss them up in salads, enjoy them as part of healthy soups or blend them into smoothies, there is absolutely no reason why you must keep yourself off these nutritional powerhouses.

But before you have them on your plate do ensure to clean and wash them well. Many a times these greens are cultivated using various pesticides and fertilisers, which in some cases can also prove to be toxic for human consumption. Cleaning them well would also prevent intake of many germs and insects that could have been breeding in the leafy bunch. Even if you are purchasing your greens from organic stores, it is better to exercise caution, to prevent yourself from the dirt and germs accumulated by the greens during handling.

Here are some tips that will come handy to wash your greens

1.Wash your hands thoroughly: Before you get down to the cleaning business make sure you wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds before handling leafy greens

2.Wash them under cold running tap water: This goes for all the greens kale, lettuce, broccoli cabbage and even the pre-bagged ones like spinach. Washing greens in hot water can make them wilt instantly.

Wash them under cold running tap water

3.Pick the outer/wilted leaves: For vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage, remove the outer leaves first. If you find any rotten, wilted or discoloured leaves, throw them in the trash. Cut out the part of the stem that seems rotten.

4.Rinse and drain: Take the greens and rinse them well in a colander ( a bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with holes in it used for draining food). Let the excess water drain. You can also use salad spinner to drain excess liquid. After this, pat them dry with paper towel. Never wash the vegetables in soap water, detergent or bleach as it can leave residues not safe to consume. Always make sure the water used to wash the vegetables are fresh and clean.

Take the greens and rinse them well in a colander

5.Store: Store the leafy vegetables clean paper towels or a freshly cleaned kitchen towel in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. Make sure to use it within a week.

How to clean greens

Store the leafy vegetables clean paper towels

Take note of these expert tips and wash your greens thoroughly to prevent intake of any pesticides and toxic substances in future.

About Sushmita Sengupta Sharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

How to Buy Them, Cut Them, Clean Them and Cook Them

Have you ever had or made collard greens that just didn’t taste good?В The recipe was followed exactly, to the “T”. В What could possibly have gone wrong?В If you want to produce a good southern greens meal, you have to do more than just follow recipes instructions. В

You have to go through the right preparation process before throwing those greens into your pot. В What process you ask? You have to buy quality greens, clean them off, and cut them properly. В No need to worry how to do this. It’s all explained here.

You can buy your greens at the grocery store or farmers market, if you’re not fortunate enough to have a garden or a friend who grows greens. В It’s best, if you can get them straight from the garden. В However you can be selective and buy from your local store or farmer.

When buying greens, always pick bunches with quality leaves. В By being very selective you will avoid unnecessary work. В Here is what to look for in a good bunch of collard greens:

  • В В Leaves Should Be Deep Green In Color
  • В В Leaves Should Be Unwilted And Firm
  • В В Leaves Should Not Show Signs Of Yellowing Or Browning

Clean your greens thoroughly before cooking them. В A good rinsing is always a must, since this vegetable tends to collect soil on its leaves and stems. В Before rinsing separate the leaves (with stem attached) from the roots.

Cleaned the leaves by dipped them several times into lukewarm water until all soil is removed. В The greens are clean when no dirt remains in the water. You can also rinse your leaves individually under running water to clean away the dirt.

Greens are tough therefore you will have to cut stems off some of the greens. For the large and mature leaves, take each leaf and fold lengthwise at the stem. Tear the tough portion of the stem away from the leaf and discharge. В If you like you can cut the stem away with a knife.

Next stack several leaves on top of each other and roll together. В Then using a cutting board and sharp knife, slice the leaves into 1 inch thick pieces. В That completes the cutting process.

Now that you have bought, cleaned and cut your southern greens, you’re ready to follow your recipe for cooking collard greens. Let’s cook some southern greens.

Return to TOP ofВ Southern Greens В page
Look here for a simpleВ Collard Greens В recipes
More healthyВ Vegetable Recipes

How to clean greens

Although it’s gross, an occasional slug or garden spider clinging to your produce won’t kill you, but even if you are practicing organic gardening and maintain proper sanitation of the home garden, bacteria, fungi and other microbes may adhere to your freshly picked produce. Fresh veggies and fruit from non-organic gardens may have trace amounts of chemicals such as pesticides. All of these have the potential for making you and your family very sick, so cleaning harvested fruits and veggies is crucial prior to prepping a meal. The question is how to clean fresh produce?

Prior to Washing Fresh Garden Vegetables

A clean, sanitized prep area is the first step to reducing food borne disease or contaminants. Wash your hands (with soap, please!) prior to preparing produce. Clean cutting boards, utensils, sink and counter tops with hot soapy water before prepping fruits and vegetables. Clean between the peeling and cutting of different produce since the bacteria from the outside of say, a fresh picked cantaloupe, can be transferred to another item, like the newly harvested tomatoes you are cutting for a salad.

If you aren’t using your own harvested produce, consider buying local from the farmers market, as long transport times from produce suppliers to grocery store encourage bacterial contamination and growth. Purchase only what you need and be sure that leafy greens and items like cut melons have been stored on ice.

Alternate the variety of produce you eat, especially if you are purchasing food that you have not grown. This is nutritionally sensible, but also limits potential exposure to any one variety of pesticide or dangerous microbes. Once it’s home, wait to wash it until just before using. Prior washing and then storage promote bacterial growth and speed up spoilage.

Before you store your produce, either purchased or dug out of the garden, remove the tops of veggies such as celery and the outer leaves of most greens, which have more dirt and pesticide residue than the interior leaves. Store any items in need of refrigeration, above raw meat, poultry and seafood in perforated bags to allow for air circulation.

How to Wash Vegetables and Produce

While washing garden vegetables will not completely remove or kill lurking microbes, it is an effective way to reduce their numbers. It will also remove any lingering dirt and the clinging slugs and spiders aforementioned.

There is no need to use detergents or bleach when washing fresh vegetables or fruit; in fact, this can be dangerous, or at the very least it may make the produce taste quite nasty. While there are commercially available chemical washes for vegetables and fruit, the FDA has not evaluated their potential safety. Simply use plain old ordinary cold, tap water — no more than 10 degrees colder than the produce to prevent entry of microorganisms into the blossom or stem ends.

Running water should be used in most cases. A scrub brush can be used on hard rind produce. If you need to soak produce, use a clean bowl rather than your possibly contaminated sink. You can add ½ cup (118 ml.) of distilled vinegar to each cup of water when immersing to reduce bacteria, followed by a good water rinse. This may affect the texture and taste though, so be forewarned.

A slightly different method of cleaning harvested or purchased fruits and vegetables will be needed depending upon the produce, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Leafy greens, like lettuce, should be separated and the leaves individually rinsed, discarding damaged outer leaves. You may want to immerse particularly grubby leaves in water for a couple of minutes to loosen the dirt. Herbs can also be submerged in cool water. Then, blot dry with clean paper towels or use a salad spinner.
  • Apples, cucumbers and other firmly fleshed produce should be washed well under running water and/or peeled to remove the wax preservative often found on store bought products. Scrub root veggies such as turnips, spuds and carrots under running water or peel them.
  • Melons (as well as tomatoes) are highly susceptible to microorganism contamination, so scrub thoroughly and wash under running water before peeling the rind from the fruit and slicing into. Salmonella tends to grow on cut surfaces or in the stem, scars, cracks or other damaged areas. Cut these away before continuing to work with the melon and refrigerate any unused melon within two or three hours.
  • Soft fruit such as plums, peaches, and apricots should be washed just before eating or prepping under running water and then dried with a clean paper towel. Other fruit such as grapes, berries and cherries should be stored unwashed until use and then washed gently under running cool water just before eating or prepping.