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How to Store and Prepare Types of Greens Vegetables

Storage and Preparation:


All types of greens should be stored, unwashed, in a perforated vegetable bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, away from any fruit. Tender delicate-leaved greens should be eaten soon after picking or purchasing, two to three days at most. Hardier lettuces will keep up to two weeks, discarding any leaves that have begun to wilt or decay. Changing the bag from time to time will increase the life of the remaining greens.

All greens - except those that are pre-washed and packaged - need to be washed and dried before preparing. Some experts suggest washing with lukewarm water rather than cold, claiming that it loosens the dirt and grit more completely than cold, but does tend to wilt the leaves a bit. However, if the washed greens vegetables are dried - preferably spun in a salad dryer - wrapped in paper towels or a kitchen towel, placed in a plastic bag, and refrigerated for an hour or two they will crisp up again beautifully. If the lettuces must be served right after washing, I suggest using the coldest water available, even adding a few ice cubes to the water if you like.

The greens vegetables can also be washed, spun dry, and stored in a closed plastic bag for up to two days. Leaf lettuce can easily be separated from stem by twisting off the base. The simplest method of coring head lettuces and other heading greens is to hold the head in your hands, stem down, and rap the stem sharply on the counter or other hard surface. This will loosen the core, allowing you to twist it out completely. Iceberg lettuce can be rinsed by holding the cored hole under the faucet, spreading the leaves slightly. Drain by shaking the head well and then turning the cored side down in a colander.

Very large leaves with heavy stems should be stemmed and cut or torn into bite-size pieces. If you like the added crunch, cut the crisp stems into 1-inch lengths and toss with the leaves. Small tender leaves can be left whole or torn into pieces before tossing with dressing.

Some experts say that types of greens should always be hand torn and never cut with a knife. I have prepared tubs of salad for huge dinners and have used very sharp stainless-steel knives to stem and cut the leaves without any evil effect, so I have some difficulty with this philosophy. However, I suggest you use whichever method you prefer.

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