In the kitchen

Washing Leafy Greens

You know what’s not super delightful? Biting into a nice green salad or plate of food with freshly chopped parsley only to feel like you’re grinding sand with your teeth. Why would that happen? Well, because you probably are grinding sand with your teeth- ew. Out of season greens and herbs are often grown in sandy dirt in greenhouses, and you’ll see how sneaky that stuff is in the photos below. Washing it in water over and over again (eek for the H20 bill by the way) simply swirls it around and it likes to hide right back in all the nooks and crannies of your produce. The following method however lets those teensy tiny grains sink to the bottom (thank you gravity) and you’re left with clean non-grainy goodness.

The women in my family have always used the technique of chopping leafy green lettuce or parsley, placing it in a big bowl full of water, swishing it around, draining it and doing the whole process several times until they felt like it was clean. So naturally I adopted the process until one day I served my visiting relatives a very grainy,crunchy (not crunchy in a good way) salad. Super embarrassing experience, and made me shy away from those leafy goodies when I went grocery shopping.

Enter Rachael Rae and all of her kitchen wisdom a few years later. As I was watching her show one day, she revealed a very simple, and water saving, method that changed my salads forever. So now I pass on Rachael’s wisdom to you. I needed fresh parsley for a potato soup recipe last week, so I’m using parsley as an example in the photos.

First, I remove the parsley leaves from the stalks by pulling them off gently. You can already see the sand and dirt.

Next , I place the leaves into a big enough bowl that they’re not crammed in too tightly. The idea is to have a good inch or two between the bottom of the bowl and where the parsley (or lettuce greens) will be floating. Then fill the bowl with cold water.

Give the greenery a gently swirl with your hand. Mix them pretty well but don’t get too crazy. The idea here is to loosen the grainy dirt from the leaves and giving it a chance to sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Then just give it a moment to rest and hang out. Give all those sandy bits a chance to say goodbye and part ways with your greens.

I accidentally deleted the photo with the strainer, oops and sorry! But your next step will be to gently lift the parsley (or lettuce or what have you) out of the water from the top and place it in a strainer or colander. Don’t grab from the bottom or dig too far down, you want to keep the water as still as possible so you don’t whirl up the grit at the bottom.

After I moved all of my parsley into the strainer, I poured out the rest of the water in the bowl and this is what was left behind! See why the swoosh and pour and repeat technique doesn’t work? Hope this was helpful! Enjoy your next leafy salad.

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