Keep Your Greens Bright And Firm Throughout The Week With A Breath Of Fresh Air

What do keeping greens fresh and hyperventilating have in common? They both involve breathing into a bag!

Put your fresh greens in a big plastic bag, gather up the neck, blow a little air, aka carbon dioxide, into the bag, then seal it up quick. If your greens are perfectly dry and really fresh (…), they’ll stay bright, firm and flavorful for at least a week like this.

The price of deliciously lush greens throughout the week is less space in the fridge. What tricks do you use to keep your greens fresh? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Greenskeeping [In The Kitchen And On The Road With Dorie via The Morning News]


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  1. faust1200 says:

    “Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat. I made that last part up myself.” -Thumper

  2. defectiveburger says:

    i tried rachel ray’s method of washing them and wrapping in a damp paper towel and found my greens stayed nice and fresh for a good week, some lasted a week and a half

  3. Trai_Dep says:

    The thing about this method is it’s so hard getting the pot dime bags in your pocket afterwards…

  4. historys_past says:

    I find that the best way to do things is a combination of Rachel Ray’s technique mentioned above, and a trick from Alton Brown (everyone’s favorite nerd). Wash the greens in very cold water, salad spin them dry, then lay them on a paper towel. Roll up the paper towel with the greens, then put them in a plastic zip-bag and suck all of the air out with a straw, until you have a little vaccuum packed bag of greens. Sounds weird, but it keeps them fresh for 2 weeks or more.

  5. Jigen says:

    I work in produce section of a super market and we get our lettuce from two different sources, depending on whats available and for what cost at the time.
    One company sends the lettuce loose and the other in individual bags. I don’t know if theres more the one company does to their greens besides putting them in bags, but they are always a lot nicer than the others. The bagged ones have few bad leaves, while the loose ones often have terrible outer leaves, as well as some being rotten right through.

  6. AcidReign says:

    …..I’ll sure give this tip a try! I ALWAYS keep bagged spinach around (except for when it was banned over ecoli last fall). Usually, also, I keep a partially harvested red bell pepper, and a yellow onion in bags in the fridge, also.

    …..A great snack is to pour out a little fresh bagged spinach into a bowl, chop a fresh tomato into it, and then sprinkle with Good Seasons Italian dressing. Mmmmm.

    …..I do TRY to hit the grocery stores/farmer’s markets right when we are out of food for dinner, though. You can’t beat getting it fresh, bringing it home and cooking it immediately, and enjoying it with good wine and candlelight with your family!

  7. alhypo says:

    I’m skeptical. The air you breath out doesn’t have that much less oxygen in it. That is why those re-breather devices scuba divers use extend their dives by hours.

    To really get rid of the oxygen you should continue breathing from the bag until you get dizzy. I would highly recommend this so long as you consider fresh greens worth the sacrifice of brain cells.

    And just to be clear, there is much more Nitrogen in there than Carbon-dioxide, both of which are inert. The important part is that there is less oxygen.

  8. Havok154 says:

    So, does it also keep the e. coli fresh?

  9. cmac says:

    Get a salad spinner. I can keep greens and fresh herbs for at least a couple weeks in the spinner.

  10. Jon Parker says:

    I use EvertFresh bags for my produce. These things are amazing — I love it when you buy a product and it actually works the way it’s advertised. I can stock up on all kinds of produce cheaply at the farmer’s market or the Asian grocery, and keep it for a couple of weeks at least.

    Amazing. I highly recommend these. I have no interest in them other than being a satisfied consumer.

  11. annietym says:

    Agreed with cmac on the salad spinner. Sometimes when I keep greens in plastic bags they grow moldy after only a few days.

  12. oneTee says:

    I’ve also read that you can keep your greens in a tupperware with water.

  13. acambras says:

    I know this isn’t exactly “storage” of greens, but…

    For those that are able to, I definitely recommend planting some lettuce (or whatever greens). I have some lettuce planted in a container on my patio. I don’t have to worry about greens going bad in the fridge anymore. Whenever I want a salad, I step out onto the patio and “pick” one.

    My mom has a salad spinner and swears by it.

  14. virgilstar says:

    So basically what you’re saying is “breathe all over your food before storing it”.

    I’m sure for the single folks out there, this is fine, but for those of us that live in a household with more than one other person, I don’t think they’d take too kindly to me breathing all over their food, and vice versa. I can hear the dinner party conversation now… “Oh, this salad is delicious… yes, I breathed all over the lettuce to keep it fresh… yeurgghh!”

  15. smakdphat says:

    Courtesy of tips from Good Eats:

    fill sink with 5 inches of cold water.
    tear up greens into little pieces and drop into cold water
    agitate by hand and then let sit for 30 minutes
    remove greens gently into salad spinner
    spin dry (very dry is the key we usually spin ours dry then leave on a tea towel on the counter top to completely air dry)
    place in a very good container (we love Lock-Locks) in the fridge.

    we’ve had green leaf and red lead lettuce “keep” this way for over 14 days. Stays crisp and fresh tasting

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    Hey, question for you gardening types, if you don’t mind.

    I live close to the beach, in a big city. So there’s always a film of dust, sand and smog particulates (can’t be TOO bad but…). And a neighbor’s herb garden.

    That stuff washes off fine, right? Since some of the sooty-type stuff isn’t water soluble, soapy water and really good rinse afterward? Or just water?


  17. alicetheowl says:

    I’ve had the best luck with lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower not breaking the outlying stuff off the stalks, and shredding or breaking rather than cutting.

  18. TheZenArcher says:

    Short note to all re storing greens in water for any length of time (esp. when cut/torn): don’t. Much of the nutrients in the greens will leach out into the water, which you’re likely to pour down the drain. Good better best to follow virtually any other method that works for ya. BTW, related idea concerns cooking rice: use just enough water, don’t cook like pasta and pour all the ricely goodness away.

  19. oldhat says:

    @TheZenArcher: For gods sake use a rice cooker. If you eat rice frequently, like I do and many asian/indian households, you use a rice cooker and it’s amazing.

    I suppose you could cook in a stupid pot on the stove, usually burn the bottom, etc, but once you go rice cooker, even the cheapest one, you’ll never go back.

    And unlike most asian/indian houses, please don’t wash that enriched white rich before cooking it. White rice has no vitamins in it and has them added as a powder. If you rinse it before cooking you are just getting rid of the vitamin powder.

    If you cook fancy brown or wild rice, you don’t get or need enriched powder. But you do need to rinse! Unless you buy Lundberg organic brown rice…I swear they polish each and every grain…amazingly beautiful rice.

  20. KiloWhipped says:

    My two cents on making greens last an extra, extra long time… I have iguanas, so I go through a TON of greens in all varieties. As soon as I get them home from the store I take them out of their plastic bags, spread them out on the kitchen counter(s) and leave them there for hours, until they are completely dry. Once they’re dry I tear the leaves away from the stems and veins and simply toss the leaves into a plastic grocery bag with a paper towel or two inside. This saves room in the fridge as well. I suppose if your greens are meant for human consumption you may want to use a nice clean baggie. Assuming the greens are in good condition when I first buy them, they always last at least 2 weeks. On a side note, if your greens get a little limp, soaking them in ice cold water for just a few minutes will pep them right back up.