Leafy greens are the bookends of every CSA. They are cold weather crops, available from early spring through the beginning of summer and from the end of summer well into the fall. I love my greens but they are also one of the vegetables I’m most likely to waste because washing and drying them is time consuming. However, I’ve found a few tools and a method that’s been working well for me this year.
The day I bring my CSA home I immediately prep the greens.
If it’s a head of lettuce I grab a lettuce knife and cut off the stump. Using a lettuce knife is key, it prevents the oxidation and browning caused by metal knives with sharp blades.
Next, I separate the leaves, spray them with a vegetable wash and put them in the outer bowl of the salad spinner. I fill the bowl with cold water and gently agitate and swirl the leaves to remove dirt and occasionally a bug that’s hitchhiked to the city.
Then, I strain the leaves by pouring the contents of the bowl into the salad spinner basket. If the leaves are still dirty I will repeat the step above, otherwise I rinse them under cold water.
Then, I put the basket in the outer bowl and spin until the leaves are fairly dry.
To store the greens, I pour the water out of the bowl and place the whole salad spinner in the refrigerator. The leaves will continue to to drip dry, leaving a small pool of water in the bowl. The moisture will help keep them fresh and they will be ready for you to use when it’s time to make a meal. Keeping them in the salad spinner also allows air to circulate, which has advantage over a bag which tends to crush wet leaves together and encourage rot.
Since I no longer have to tediously dry each leaf before a meal, I’m more likely to eat my greens. But when I can’t finish them all myself, Sugar’s there anxiously waiting for the leftovers. And she wants to encourage all of you who don’t have a furry vegetarian companion to donate extra greens to your local animal rescue for the bunnies, guinea pigs and hamsters waiting on their furever homes!