Greens maintain their crispness by holding water in their cells. If the leaves are slightly wilted, revive them in ice water. Once they’ve perked up they’re ready to store or prepare.
Roots with Tops
It’s a good idea to remove the greens from the tops of veggies like turnips, beets and carrots. The tops can draw moisture out of the root. Store the root separately.
Cleaning & Storing Greens
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and rinse until all the grit has been removed. This step usually requires multiple rinses. Save the dirty water for your potted plants.
- Spin dry in a salad spinner.
- Roll up greens in a cotton tea towel.
- Tuck into a plastic bag and label.
- Now they’re ready to use at a moment’s notice.
Dealing with bitter greens
( mustard, turnips, collard, kale…)
If bitter greens are new to your palette you can blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately drop into ice cold water. This will diminish the bitter overtones. (Though you might enjoy the flavor.) Proceed with your chosen recipe once they’re chilled or keep them in your refrigerator for several days until you’re ready to drop them into a tasty meal.
- Wash the greens thoroughly. Shake off excess water.
- If the greens are large leafed with tough stems (like mature kale or collards), remove the stems and chiffonade the leaf.
- If the stem is tender like chard, remove the stem and sauté with onion. (I like to add a dash of nutmeg and some chipotle powder to my braising greens.)
- Stack several leaves together and roll up like a burrito.
- With a sharp knife begin slicing the bundle into thin strips. (1/4″ works well, smaller if it’s a raw salad)
- This is called a chiffonade.
- Consider preparing your greens to this point and holding them in a ziplock bag.
- You’ll have REAL food—fast.