How To | Washing Your Greens & Herbs to Keep Fresh
If you follow on facebook, you will see that last week I was so excited to receive my first organic box in our CSA (community supported agriculture) which is organic as well! And yesterday I received our second box.
I’m even more excited, because in the 4 years I have been living here, I have found it difficult to find organic produce let alone local and now we have both – at least until the growing season ends (not sure when that is). If you want to check out more about where I shop I wrote about it here and here.
Here’s what our box includes:
3 heads cauliflower
3 heads broccoli
3 heads iceberg lettuce
2 bunches spinach
1 bunch coriander
2 bunches parsley
1 bunch mint
4 ears of corn
1 bunch fresh fenugreek
2 big local lemons (lots more juice)
1 big white cabbage
3 boxes of cherry tomatoes (sweet)
1 Kilo Kousa (local zucchini)
1 Kilo Cucumber
1 Kilo Bell peppers
And what’s even better is they collect the boxes from us to take back and refill for next week, so there is zero wastage!
The above is a little too much for 2 adults and a baby for a week so I am sharing my box with another couple but for the last couple of weeks, we’ve had the whole box to ourselves as they have been out of the country.
One of the challenges I faced with so much produce for our little family was how to wash and store, especially the greens as they can tend to wilt when not stored properly.
As this produce is organic I do not do the usual baking soda baths that I do for un organic fruits and vegetables which I wrote about here.
How To | Washing Your Greens & Herbs To Keep Fresh
Large bowl/bucket for rinsing or sink
Gallon size sealable sandwich bags
Multiple clean tea towels/dish cloths
1. Fill up a large bowl or sink with fresh water (filtered if possible). Side note: our water in Saudi is desalinated salt water and we also have a sweet water tap in the sink which has been treated even futher – I use a US tap filter on the sweet water tap for washing vegetables, cooking water and also drinking water
2. Trim the unusable stems from the herbs/greens and discard (I actually keep these for juicing purposes and wash with the rest of the produce and store away until I make the juice)
3. Place the greens/herbs in the water (most likely in batches as you won’t have enough space for them all!)
4. I usually use my clean hands to ‘swish’ them around in the water to ensure all parts of the leaves are rinsed. Also important to note, especially here in Saudi where our locally grown produce is almost always saturated with sand/dust (product of living in the desert) that you may need to do this with the same leaves multiple times with the produce to ensure they are grit free. Having said that, this box of vegetables has been less sandy than I’ve experienced with supermarket purchased produce!
5. Place the leaves in your salad spinner and SPIN!
6. Place the leaves in a single layer on top of a dish cloth on the bench and gently lie a second cloth on top.
Be gentle as you don’t want to ‘bruise’ your leaves, but lightly pat the leaves through the dish cloth and leave a while to dry. Repeat with the rest of the leaves – emptying your salad spinner of water before the next round. If you are limited on kitchen space you can layer the clothes up like this.
7. I usually leave the leaves to dry from 20min to an hour then check on them. You will most likely need to dab them all again, as you want to try and ensure they are all completely dry before storage.
8. Place a piece of paper towel in a sandwich bag, then place your leaves inside, then top with another piece of paper towel.
9. Before you seal the bag, try and ensure limited air is left within the bag – this will ensure maximum freshness.
10. Enjoy your greens & herbs as you like, taking what you require from the bags, and sealing once again with limited airspace to savour them for as long as possible – my leaves are still as fresh as 1 week on!
NOTE: keep your bags and paper towel (can be dried) for the next week’s goodies.
Sorry if this seems elementary to some, but up until now, I struggled to keep my greens crisp and fresh for long periods of time. If you follow these instructions you will have spinach, dill, arugula/rocket, parsley, fresh for as long as possible.
You will need to do this multiple times if you have as much produce as we received in our box!
I’ve heard of many other techniques for keeping and storing herbs, so what do you do?Share on Facebook