Farm to Home to Table: The best way to store your greens

FARM-DIRECT PRODUCE LASTS LONGER, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S GROWN BY FARMERS WHO KNOW THEIR SOIL. 

FARM-DIRECT PRODUCE LASTS LONGER, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S GROWN BY FARMERS WHO KNOW THEIR SOIL. 

FARM-DIRECT PRODUCE LASTS LONGER, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S GROWN BY FARMERS WHO KNOW THEIR SOIL. 

At the beginning of summer, there’s enough diversity in texture and flavor to make a giant, satisfying salad out of nothing but greens.

If you’re a CSA subscriber or get carried away at the market stand like we do, the downside to such abundance can be a pile of soggy yellow leaves at the end of the week. Knowing how much skill it takes to grow a flawless bunch of spinach, it pricks our conscience when we have to throw one out.

To avoid this, buy the best produce you can and learn a few tricks for storing it.

SPIN OR TOWEL-DRY YOUR GREENS THOROUGHLY AND PLACE THEM INSIDE, PRESSING OUT ANY ADDITIONAL AIR. STORE IN THE CRISPER DRAWER OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR.

SPIN OR TOWEL-DRY YOUR GREENS THOROUGHLY AND PLACE THEM INSIDE, PRESSING OUT ANY ADDITIONAL AIR. STORE IN THE CRISPER DRAWER OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR.

Farm-direct produce lasts longer, especially when it’s grown by farmers who know their soil. Pick the brain of your favorite farmer the next time you see them, and be prepared to hear about cell structure and the water content of foods grown in healthy soil. It lasts days longer.

How to store your gorgeous greens? We found several techniques that work.

SPIN OR TOWEL-DRY YOUR GREENS THOROUGHLY AND PLACE THEM INSIDE, PRESSING OUT ANY ADDITIONAL AIR. STORE IN THE CRISPER DRAWER OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR.

Microperforated bags

YOU CAN ALSO HAVE FRESH GREENS ALL WEEK SIMPLY BY EATING THEM IN THE RIGHT ORDER.

YOU CAN ALSO HAVE FRESH GREENS ALL WEEK SIMPLY BY EATING THEM IN THE RIGHT ORDER.

Jo Robinson, health writer and author of Eating on the Wild Side, says that greens continue to respire after they’re harvested. Treat them like a living thing, she says, with enough air and humidity to keep them plump and full of nutrients.

To do so, soak your greens in very cold water for ten minutes as soon as you arrive home. (For head lettuces, separate the leaves first.)

While they’re soaking, use a pin to poke tiny holes in a resealable plastic bag. Spin or towel-dry your greens thoroughly and place them inside, pressing out any additional air. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Container storage

Or follow the lead of The Kitchn, whose writers experimented with three methods for preserving salad greens. The best way they found to preserve tender greens is to store dry leaves in a hard-sided container lined with paper towels. The greens stayed fresh for 10 days.

A market produce worker mentioned a similar technique that works well for head lettuce: wrap it in a cotton cloth and place in a plastic produce bag in the crisper drawer. Ours lasted more than a week.

YOU CAN ALSO HAVE FRESH GREENS ALL WEEK SIMPLY BY EATING THEM IN THE RIGHT ORDER.

A Jar of Water

The same worker mentioned that she keeps greens fresh by giving the stems a fresh cut and placing them in a jar of water in the refrigerator, like a bouquet of flowers. We’ve used this technique for a long time with parsley and cilantro but found that mustard and radish greens wilted. It’s a better bet for arugula or spinach.

Eat Them in Order

You can also have fresh greens all week simply by eating them in the right order.

MUSTARD GREENS

Feathery and tender. Of all the greens we purchased this week, these wilted first. Eat them immediately.

PEA SHOOTS

Eat these immediately for the best flavor and texture. They’ll stay fresh for two or three days

RADISH GREENS

These tend to yellow and go limp within two or three days. Eat them right away or separate the greens from the roots for longer storage.

BUTTER LETTUCE

Use it up mid-week for the best texture and flavor. If you can’t get to it, this will last a week or more if it’s stored well.

SPINACH

Spinach will last between three and seven days. Use it by mid-week for the best flavor and texture, especially if you’re serving it raw.

ARUGULA

Stored properly, arugula can last a week. Use it within four or five days for maximum freshness.

BOK CHOY

Though the stems are sturdy, the leaves of baby bok choy will start to yellow after a week. Use it toward the middle of the week if you can.

LEAF LETTUCE

This is your go-to for an end-of-week green salad, after you’ve eaten everything else.

We hope you find yourself sitting across from good friends sharing beautiful, fresh salads in the weeks to come. Live well!

Until next time,

The Mastro Team