To begin: Detach leaf by leaf from head, quickly wash in plenty of cold water. This preserves the water-soluble vitamins and keeps the lettuce crisp.
Pluck lettuce and place it in the bowl. Soak the leaves for a few minutes giving them a good swirl every few minutes. Do not soak for more than 10 minutes. Since we do not grow in dirt you do not have to worry about doing this for an extended amount of time so the direct can fall to the bottom of your bowl. Plus, you want to retain the water-soluble vitamins.
Spin the lettuce. The easiest way to dry lettuce is with a salad spinner. Once the leaves are washed, remove the colander, with the lettuce. Pour out the wash water from the bowl and put the colander back inside the bowl. Put the lid on top of the bowl and turn the handle to spin the lettuce to dry out the leaves. (Only dry separated leaves in a spinner, no whole heads!) Dry lettuce leaves absorb salad dressing better than wet and will stay crisp in the fridge.
To store salad greens, make sure they’re completely dry. Then store your salad greens in a lettuce keeper in the refrigerator. If you don’t have a lettuce keeper, a plastic bag works just as well.
Tips, Tricks, and Questions:
- Should I cut or pluck lettuce from the head? Lettuce leaves should be plucked if the lettuce is not prepared immediately. Plucked lettuce does not brown as quickly as cut lettuce at the cut points. If you prepare lettuce and keep it in the fridge, plucking lettuce is the best choice.
- Wash lettuce and other greens (including herbs) in cold water.
- They will be plump and crisp.
- They retain their water-soluble vitamins.
- Can I use warm water to wash lettuce? Warm water can wilt lettuce and water-soluble vitamins dissolve quickly in warm water. The exceptions are bitter lettuce varieties like chicory and endive. Washing these lettuces in hot water for approximately 5 minutes will remove the bitter taste. Once lettuce is removed from warm water place it in cold water so that it regains crispness.
- To refresh wilted salad place it in a bowl of ice water (ice cubes necessary) for 5 minutes. Spin or dry as you normally would.
- Concern about Romain becoming contaminated? Leafy greens like romaine can become contaminated with bacteria through agricultural runoff, contaminated water supply, and proximity to livestock or other animals. Any nearby feeding or grazing activity, whether wild or domestic, can lead to contamination. None of these situations are present on our Vertical Aeroponic Farm