100 lb. Club - Salad advice
05-14-2008, 11:28 AM
I recently made a commitment to try a new salad for dinner once a week. I admit I have not made a lot of salads. Just used bagged stuff. Yesterday I got a fresh head of lettuce and washed it. Then it was all wet!! Who wants wet salad?? Very hard to get dry. I do not have a salad spinner or anything like that. So someone please tell me...
1. how to you get your salad to be dry?
2. how do you store your leftover salad to stay fresh and not get all icky?
Thank you :)
Fat Chick B Gone
05-14-2008, 11:39 AM
You could use a salad spinner if you want to purchase one. I personally just use a clean kitchen towel and squeeze the crap out of it!!
I generally make a big bowl of salad every 4-5 days. You could store it in Tupperware or I use a glass bowl that has a tight fitting lid. I find that tomatoes don't do as well if you cut them up so I would store those separately or use cherry or grape tomatoes that you don't cut until you eat. Other then that carrots, celery, broccoli, onions, chickpeas, etc does pretty well for the 4-5 day period. Toppings and dressing shouldn't be added until you're ready to eat.
Lyn, I sympathize with the soggy salad thing! I don't have a salad spinner either. It's on my list of kitchen things I'd love to have though.
I've had good luck branching out with different types of salad. Spinich and romaine are both good and seem a bit easier for me to dry out. Good job on eating your greens!
05-14-2008, 12:27 PM
Tai, I got inspired by going to the allrecipes site and doing an ingredient search for "lettuce" with keyword "salad." Then I ranked them by user ratings. There are SO MANY cool ideas there. That's why I thought, why not just pick one of these every week and make it for dinner? Time to branch out. I have loved trying new veggies but have never been much of a salad fan (except when someone else makes it for me, lol).
I have a teensy tiny kitchen and cannot buy one more kitchen gadget unless I get rid of something... so I can't buy a salad spinner as of now. I tried patting them with paper towels but it took like half a roll!
05-14-2008, 01:26 PM
There are some commercials out now for some new storage boxes for the fridge that keeps the veggies off the bottom of the container and lets the veggies stay crisp. I haven't seen them, but of course the commercials say they are great! Its a wal-mart/ target type of thing not as seen on TV stuff.
Rachel Ray suggests wrapping herbs and such in paper towel then into a zip bag. Maybe that would work for lettuce too. The enemy is moisture, so if the towel gets wet or if water accumulates in the bottom of the container, drain it quickly.
I personally have a salad spinner and put it immediately into a zip bag. But you are right it takes up alot of space in my little kitchen. I can't imagine not having one with all the salad I eat.
Good luck on your quest!
05-14-2008, 01:39 PM
Get a couple of good quality dishtowels - not terry cloth ones, but linen or muslin ones. Use those to blot dry your lettuce. they'll absorb more water than the papertowels.
Another thing you can do (what I do) is I wash and tear my lettuce when I get home from the store. Leave it out on a tea-towel to dry for a couple of hours and then package it in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge. Taht way it's washed and ready to go when I want it.
05-14-2008, 02:07 PM
You can improvise and make your own spinner out of a big towel (not terry~flour sack towel works best.) You'll want to this outside so you don't get water everywhere. Just take your wet lettuce and place in the middle of your large towel. Bring the corners up and get a good grip on all of the corners (you might even want to grip it a bit farther down then just the top of the corners.) Then go outside and spin the towel with your arm. The spinning will help the water fly off of the lettuce. Or you can just blot with paper towels until dry, although this will use a lot of towels.
Here is another option, that won't take up as much room as a spinner, although, I'm not sure how well it works:
I also vaguely remember my parents having a collapsible wire basket that they uses to dry greens. I can't find anything online about them though. I think it was a French thing.
05-14-2008, 02:46 PM
I rip up all my lettuce and add in my spring mix and some spinach, give it all a rinse and spread it out over some paper towels, let it dry out a bit, and then ROLL IT ALL UP! heheheh it's fun! and then I put if in a plastic grocery bag (loose) and leave it in the fridge. All the other veggies I cut up and leave in plastic containers with water so they stay crisp & fresh. Come eatin' time, i unroll a little and grab the lettuce I need, open containers and grab a few handfuls of whatever, sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on, some grape tomatoes etc., and good to go
05-14-2008, 03:10 PM
Um I rarely actually wash/rinse my lettuce... rubbish of me eh... If I do though I just wash each leaf under a cold running tap and kinda flick it dry. Seems to do the job :)
05-15-2008, 03:11 AM
Until I got addicted to the prewashed lettuce mixes, a variant of what other people described here worked for me.
Lay a dishtowel on the counter. Cover it with a continuous strip of paper towels (2-3). Wash your lettuce and drain/shake as much water off as you can. Lay the lettuce (whole pieces) on the paper towels, single layer as much as possible. Roll up the cloth towel/paper towel/lettuce into a loose bundle and set it into a crisper drawer. I would buy non-ziplock large plastic bags. If I was planning to use the lettuce more than a couple hours later, I'd stick the bundle into one of these plastic bags. The paper towels just weren't absorbent enough for me. Like you, I'd be using half a roll. Even though I wash my dish towels in chlorine bleach, I felt the paper towels were cleaner plus I didn't get any green stains from the greens on the dish towels.
05-15-2008, 06:52 AM
I know this is going to sound crazy - but I used to use a pillow case! A good, cotton, absorbant one! throw the lettuce in and, as zenor said, shake with your arms. And then think that you're getting in exercise too! LOL :)
05-15-2008, 09:26 AM
Not crazy at all, I've used a pillowcase too. I hate bagged lettuce, it tastes odd to me, so I like to buy heads and wash them myself. If you can get them fresh from the garden, it's a whole different animal than the bagged stuff. Sometimes I'll pull the leaves apart, wash them well, then wrap in paper towels and stick in a big ziploc in the fridge. You want the paper towels a little damp. This keeps fresh for a while, and is prewashed so when you're ready for salad you just tear the leaves up.
My favorite summer lunch -
romaine leaves with 1 oz goat cheese, about 5 snipped dried apricots, and a small handful of pistachios, chopped, with your favorite vinaigrette. If you don't like goat cheese, feta will work too, but I love the goat cheese and apricots together. so yummy!
Oooh, just thought of another fave summer salad meal - salade nicoise. My kids will even eat parts of this.
05-15-2008, 10:09 AM
Before I bought my spinner I used a pillow case too. I did the grab the coner of the dishtowel trick for a while...then one time a corner slipped out of my hand and I had salad greens all over the front lawn.
As for storage, I keep my lettuce in a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid (Tware) I take a damp paper towel and lay it over the lettuce, it is just enough moisture to keep it fresh and crispy. When I buy the prewashed mixes I also get these out of that bag and into the Tware bowl as soon as I get home. I buy matchstick carrots, they are a corser version of shredded carrots and don't get mushy, and mix them in with the lettuce blend. Usually everything else gets it's own bowl in the fridge. I do this for two reasons. First somethings just don't keep as long as the salad greens. Second I have picky people in my house who don't eat all the things I like on a salad so we usually have "make-yer-own."
As for different salad ideas here are a few favorites:
A mix of spinach and romaine, topped with grilled chicken breast, pecans, red onion, feta cheese, sliced strawberries and strawberry balsamic dressing. I bring this to every event that calls for a dish to pass.
Mixed greens tossed with, whole kernel corn, black beans, red onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, fat free cheese (I use feta, because I always have that on hand) I use salsa for dressing, fat free low cal ranch works great too.
Napa cabbage or Mixed greens, broccoli slaw, matchstick carrots, grilled chicken breast, green onion, edamame, toasted slivered almonds, and orange sections, dressing made with sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, a little ginger and garlic.
I love chopped nuts and fruit mixed in with a veggie salad. The best salads are ones that you just start tossing stuff in a bowl!!! Be Creative!!!
05-15-2008, 04:02 PM
Thanks for all the great ideas! It sounds like I have several easy options to try :)
05-15-2008, 04:52 PM
Even though I wash my dish towels in chlorine bleach, I felt the paper towels were cleanerThis made me laugh. :)
Ok, just for perspective: you wash your dish towels in bleach and then the only person who handles them is you, in your own home.
Your paper towels are processed in a factory, handled by dozens of people and oil covered machines, stored in warehouses for months at a time, and then stacked on the shelves in the grocery store. The plastic that the towels are wrapped in is not sealed ... I'll promise you that bugs and other creepy crawlies have been inside at least 70% of the rolls of paper towels on any given pallet at any time.
Why on earth would you think that papertowels were CLEANER?????