‘Eat your greens’ is a phrase that most have heard repeated from the dinner table. Our moms were right. Green vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals, boasting at least three major ‘super food’ status veggies: kale, broccoli, and leeks. So if we want the best for our families we have to keep serving those greens! As with any other fruit or vegetable you must wash your greens before you enjoy them. We have broken down our greens into three categories: leaves, flower/buds, and stalks. This guide will help you better understand proper washing technique to ensure what you are serving is safe and free of any unwanted pesticides or bugs.
Remember that it is important to wash your own hands before you begin washing any type of green veggie. So sing your ABC’s and scrub! Also, remember that when you wash a green veggie it will remove some of the outer waxy layer (which is not bad) and it will cause the veggies to spoil at a faster rate. So don’t wash unless you are ready to consume within a few days.
Leaves (Leafy Greens): Spinach, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Lettuce, Basil, Collard Greens, & Parsley
Make sure all surfaces such as countertops and cutting boards are clean before washing any leafy green.
If you are washing a leafy green like cabbage or lettuce, remove the outermost discolored leaves before washing.
Place your leafy green (like kale or spinach) in a colander and rinse with cold running water. Hot water has the tendency to wilt the leaves so make sure that water is nice and chilly! Some prefer to soak leafy greens in cool water for 1-2 minutes before rinsing, however this is unnecessary for most of the leafy greens (it is however, useful for lettuce because of pitted surface).
To dry, use paper towels or clean rags and gently pat any unwanted moisture.
The best way store any remaining greens is by wrapping it in a paper towel, sealing it in a plastic bag, and placing it in the ‘fresh rack’ in the refrigerator.
Whenever rinsing any flower (such as broccoli) make sure and use cold water. Like before hot water has the tendency of wilting or even softening green veggies.
Make sure all surfaces are clean.
Place broccoli in a bowl of cold water to soak for 1-2 minutes. It is important to begin by soaking because of all the nooks and crannies on broccoli florets.
After soaking, rinse broccoli in a colander in cold running water.
To dry, gently shake broccoli over the sink to get rid of water hidden within the floret. A little remaining moisture is not a bad thing when prepping broccoli.
One way to store broccoli is to place it in a sealed bag with a little moisture and then, using a toothpick, create holes near the floret. This will allow the broccoli to breathe and will keep it fresh for 3-4 days.
Make sure all surfaces are clean.
Rinse vigorously under cold running water. Generally, leeks can be one of the dirtier green veggies.
After rinsing, place leeks on a cutting board, chop the roots off and discard. Next, either chop or slice leek leaves to desirable size.
Rinse leeks once again, this time in a colander, to remove any excess waste or dirt
To store leeks you must blanch them. Place in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then immediately put in ice water. Once chilled place leeks in an airtight freezer bag and store them in the freezer. They will stay fresh up to a year.