I buy and cook with enough produce that I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on how to store most things and how long they last (you’ve all been using my handy printable storage chart, right?) but I have to confess that lettuce and leafy greens in general were my biggest weak spot. I could not get them to last more than a few days, and I referred to my crisper drawer as “where greens go to die.” Not good.
I felt like my problem was two-fold. One, most of the stuff I’d read said to not wash or chop your greens until right before you eat them. Which made every salad seem like a little bit more of a chore than I really wanted it to be – it’s one thing to wash and chop a whole bunch of greens at once, it’s another to have to do it for each and every salad. At least if you’re as lazy as I am! The second problem was just that even unwashed greens seemed to wilt and get unappetizing remarkably quickly, or get completely forgotten in the depths of the crisper drawer.
So the first tip is to get a salad spinner, which I used to think was a superfluous kitchen gadget but now find incredibly useful.
The secret to making it so useful is to really utilize all the functions – you can chop up a head or two of lettuce or other greens and rinse it right in the spinner’s colander, then spin it dry and just seal the lid on and keep the whole thing in the fridge. Greens stay fresh and crisp in there for up to a week! The best part is that it’s already chopped and rinsed so you can just grab a handful or two for any salads or other recipes and be good to go.
The only downside to this is that the salad spinner is a bit big so you may not have room in your fridge. But fear not, that’s where my next tip comes in! Did you know you can store leafy greens in glass jars? I saw this tip in a couple of places around the internet but for some reason was convinced that it wouldn’t work – I felt like my greens would wilt and get gross that way. But I was definitely wrong! It’s really that easy – you can chop, wash and dry most greens (I’ve done it with spinach, chard, kale, and iceberg so far) and then just shove a bunch of them into a mason jar – you can fit quite a bit into a quart sized jar, you’ll be surprised – and they honestly stay fresh and crisp for a long time. Mine look pretty much exactly the same a week after I put them in the jar!
So if you love spinach, kale, chard, and all those other fabulous leafy greens, but don’t like how quickly they wilt, try these tricks and let me know if they work for you!