Tips Before You Toss

Handling greens properly, from the store to your dinner table, ensures crisp and flavorful salads.

cutting lettuce in half
Before tossing romaine, remove the fibrous rib.
  • Before washing and storing greens, remove and discard discolored or wilted outer greens. Take off any rubber or metal bands that hold the greens together.
  • Any water that clings to the greens will dilute the flavor and consistency of the dressing and will make the salad soggy. After draining greens in a colander, place them on a clean kitchen towel or several layers of paper towels. Gently pat dry with paper towels. Alternately, greens may be dried in a salad spinner. Fill spinner one-half to two-thirds full to avoid bruising greens.
  • Wrap washed greens in a clean, dry kitchen towel or paper towels, and refrigerate them in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container for 30 minutes or up to several hours to crisp. If you are not using the greens right away, place washed and dried greens in the vegetable storage bins of your refrigerator.
  • To avoid bruising the leaves or causing them to brown, tear, rather than cut, salad greens into bite-size pieces. Tearing greens also exposes more of the insides of the leaves so they absorb more dressing.
  • Before tearing romaine, cut the fibrous rib from the larger leaves by placing each leaf on a cutting board and slicing along both sides of the rib with a small, sharp knife.
  • Dress the salad just before serving to prevent wilted, soggy greens. Add enough dressing to lightly coat the greens, then toss with salad servers or two spoons. Gently push downward to the bottom of a deep bowl with the servers and lift upward so the greens at the top fall to the bottom. For arranged salads, drizzle or pass the dressing; do not toss.

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