Saturday, January 16, 2010

Let Us Have Lettuce

So often I hear people say, "I don't eat salad that often because I can't figure out how to keep fresh lettuce on hand. It goes bad before I can use it up."

I learned some great tricks from Nana about storing lettuce and mushrooms, and I took her mushroom trick and applied it to carrots, and...Nana's tricks work! No more slimy produce!

First, some quick tips for mushrooms and carrots:

Nana takes her mushrooms out of their store package, and puts them into a cloth bag before storing them in the fridge.

I made two cloth bags: one for mushrooms and one for carrots. They work so well! My carrots are fresh at the end of the week! I've found that I need to keep the cloth bags in the crisper, or else my frost-free fridge tends to dry out the veggies.

I'm not including directions for making the bags here, but there are tons of crafty blogs with directions for making drawstring bags. Here's one.

Now, on to lettuce!

The trick to keeping lettuce fresh and non-slimy is to:
1. Keep it refrigerated, of course.
2. Keep it from coming into contact with plastic.

Nana's method is to wash each of the lettuce leaves individually.

Let them drain a little, but keep them damp.

Then tuck them in between paper towels.

Then the whole pile goes into a zip-lock bag in the fridge. Just make sure that the outside layer is a paper towel, so the lettuce isn't up against the plastic of the ziplock bag.

Lettuce leaves stay fresh this way for 3 weeks or more! Wow!

Nana sets the paper towels aside to dry when she uses the lettuce, and she has found that she can reuse the paper towels several times. I tried it, and it works! I turn the ziplocs inside out to dry as the lettuce is used up, and I can reuse them several times, too.

Now that you have all this wonderful fresh produce, let's make some salad. I am embarrassed to admit that I was over 50 before I learned how to make truly yummy green salads. The directions in The Sonoma Diet cookbook finally walked me through the steps to a delicious salad that I am happy to eat every night for dinner. And now that my produce is already washed and ready to go, making a salad is a snap!

Healthy Eating Tip:
Make individual salads on dinner plates, using a base of 2 cups mixed greens, and topping with your favorite vegetables, perhaps a little fruit, one or two olives or a slice or two of avocado. Drizzle with low-calorie dressing. By making the individual salads on the plates, you and your dinner companions will eat a generous portion of salad before diving into the higher-calorie main dish and side dishes. It's also easy to customize the salads this way, to cater to people's food preferences and encourage them to eat their healthy salad!


Post Grad Hair Cut said...

These are great suggestions! I am totally going to make some cloth veggie bags.

Hillary said...

very nice. I hate slimy produce! Thanks!

Katie said...

This is a great idea! Luckily we have been going through produce pretty quickly lately! Although we may need a bag for our carrots.

my name is lauren. said...

this is awesome! thanks for sharing your tricks of the trade :).

emmalou said...

Kathy, this reminds me of that summer when we helped bring down the barn and then stayed for dinner. Those salads were delicious! These are great ideas. Thanks!

Kathy Haynie said...

Ha ha! I remember that Eric wasn't so thrilled about "eating his healthy salad." Does he eat more salads/vegies yet?

Polly said...

We go through lettuce quickly enough most times, but I'm definitely going to try that with mushrooms. Those seem to go bad fairly fast. Thanks!

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