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Six Tips For Prepping Salad Greens
Although prepping a salad is seemingly a simple culinary task, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when selecting your greens and then later turning them into a delicious course.
When at all possible, try to use young, fresh greens. Young salad greens have a more tender and delicate flavor, where as older, “over-grown,” salad greens tend to be more fibrous, giving off a somewhat rubbery texture.
Slice your greens, don’t tear. There is a common misconception that for some reason tearing your salad greens is better than slicing them with a sharp knife. However, tearing salad leaves force you to grip them firmly, potentially crushing cell walls, which will ultimately cause bruising and wilting. Instead, use a sharp chefs knife to cut your leaves down to size if you feel they are too big.
Don’t wash lettuce leaves directly under running water. The pressurized water coming from the faucet has enough force to crush the lettuce green’s cell walls, causing bruising and browning. Instead, place the lettuce greens in a sink filled with cold water and agitate gently with your hands. Switch out the water when it becomes dirty and repeat until the salad greens are nice and clean.
Soak your greens for a couple of minutes in ice water, especially if they aren’t quite as crisp as you would like them to be or they’re showing signs of wilting due to age. Soaking them for a few minutes in ice water will replace any water-loss from their cell walls, bringing back their nice, crispy texture.
Use a salad spinner to dry greens. The centrifugal force of a salad spinner will make sure that salad greens are thoroughly dried. Patting dry with a towel is inefficient and could cause bruising. Also, salad greens that have too much excess moisture on the surface of their leaves will repel a vinaigrette, making it hard to actually dress the salad properly.
Store in a clean container, with damp paper towels. Wet some paper towels and then ring out the excess moisture until they are just slightly damp. Line the bottom of your storage container with damp paper towels, and then cover the top of the greens with more damp towels. Do not store in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap. Salad greens need to breath.