If you’re a flexitarian or of a more herbivorous disposition, you may find yourself purchasing and eating a lot more vegetables than the average person. And maybe you feel like your vegetables keep dying on you before you can enjoy them – particularly green leafy vegetables which are more delicate than hardy, starchier veggies like eggplant and calabasa.
Here are a few tricks I learned in cooking school and in working in vegetarian professional kitchens:
Wash your greens asap.
Post-grocery shopping, do try to take some time out and wash your greens before storing them. Doing so will cut prep time drastically when you want to make a green smoothie, green juice, or salad. Give your greens a loving bath in lots of water – most especially for greens that grow close to the ground such as spinach. Most herbs are good with one bath, but do give your green leafies at least two baths to make sure they’re completely clean.
Keep them as dry as possible.
If you eat a lot of salads, do yourself a favour and buy yourself a salad spinner. My favorite one is by OXO which has a pump you push to spin the basket in the bowl, to wick moisture off your greens. I find the other varieties (with the crank or with the pull-out handle thing) make drying greens too tedious a job. But, that’s just me and Alton Brown (got that tip from him. Thanks, A!)
Kitchen towels are your best friend in this area, especially for herbs which don’t dry well when spinned (spun?). Wrap your greens ala jelly roll in kitchen or paper towels and leave for a few minutes to absorb moisture. Voila!
Extend the life of your greens by storing them sandwiched by a kitchen or paper towel. The towel will continue to keep ‘em nice, dry, and crisp, much longer than without. Resealable bags make it easier to squeeze out excess air so you don’t waste space in your already filled-to-the-brim refrigerator. But, if you’ve got plenty of space, go right ahead and use a food container – line it with a kitchen or paper towel, and add a layer of towel a few times before putting the final towel layer on top of the whole thing (you can zig-zag your kitchen towel between layers of greens).
Take care of your greens and your greens will take care of you. You’re welcome.