Most of us wash our greens like it is something natural to us. We’re probably not taught about the proper way to do it, which is why we just do what we believe is right. Lettuces are more delicate than most other greens.
Whether it is a crisp head, romaine, butter head, or loose-leaf, lettuces can easily become shriveled if not taken care of properly. When it comes to washing lettuce, most of us just wash starting from the stem to the leaves. If this is how you wash your lettuce, it is time to change it. Below is the proper method on how to wash lettuce.
First, you will need the following materials:
- Lettuce (of course)
- Paper towels
With the three things above ready, here are the steps in washing your lettuce:
- Remove the base of the lettuce with your knife.
- Separate the leaves using your hands.
- Position the lettuce leaves by the faucet and let the water run for a few seconds until the water reaches its coldest temperature.
- Here is the most important part: turn the stem side down and let the water wash your greens in this position.
- When done washing the lettuce leaves, pat dry using your paper towels.
Here is why you should do this method instead of the one you’re used to. The dirt in the lettuce comes from the stems and this is mostly true with other greens as well. You should always wash your lettuce stem side down; otherwise, you will not just clean your leaves properly, but also spread the dirt to the rest of the vegetable.
It is also worth mentioning that you should use ice-cold water as this is essential in keeping the leaves as crisp as possible. If you use hot or even warm water, this can cause the leaves to wilt and wither very fast.
Another very important thing to know is that if the packed lettuce you have bought states that it is ready to eat or it has been washed, you should not wash it again. Rewashing may cause spreading of foodborne diseases, such as E. coli. The bags should be securely sealed; if not, don’t buy them. When storing the lettuce you have bought, don’t just place them anywhere, such as near raw meats with leaking juices.
Always wash your hands first before you handle your lettuce and any other fruits and vegetables. You can also use clean gloves to make sure you’re not spreading any microbes. Also, to preserve your lettuce, don’t put them in the freezer once you have taken them out or else this will cause the leaves to shrivel.