Storing Leafy Greens
Quality food storage consists of controlling three things: temperature, humidity and ethylene gas. Just like storing your own lettuce or spinach in your fridge, you want wild greens to stay crisp as long as possible without becoming slimy or without drying out. Stored properly, greens can last 10+ days in the refrigerator.
1) Best temperature for greens is 35-40 degrees. Keep greens in the coolest part of the refrigerator (towards the bottom) to hit this temperature range. But, then again, you don’t want them to freeze if the refrigerator runs cold.
2) Humidity directly around the greens is maintained at the best level by using plastic bags with perforations or holes in them, and perhaps adding a slightly damp paper towel to the bag. Read on to get specific ideas how to pack greens in bags.
3) Ethylene gas is rough on greens, so keep packaged greens in a crisper away from fruits and especially bananas, or use an ethylene absorbing product (Read section on Ethylene Gas and Food Quality).
From yard to fridge. You walk with armful of whole dandelion plants, tracking dirt and mud into your kitchen. Time to clean the greens!
- Swish greens around in a large bowl or bucket of clean cold water. You can use an additional commercial veggie cleaner product or splash of vinegar if you desire and rinse the greens again. Or mix your own veggie cleaner in a spray bottle:
- 1 part Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Pure Castille Soap
- to 3 parts water
- Add 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract.
- Use a salad spinner —do not pack the spinner too tightly— to spin off excess moisture.
- Spread the greens out on a half of big towel, fold the other half overtop and give the greens a quick blot, just to make sure there is no dripping moisture left on them.
For short-term storage of a few days, I use ziplock bags with perforated holes in them. These can be reused grape bags. Or I cut about 12 holes in a 1 gallon zip lock bag by rolling up the bag and making four “triangular V” cuts along the folded edge with scissors. Then when I unroll the bag there are 12 diamond cuts in the bag, like when you cut out paper snowflakes!