People swear by myriad methods for keeping greens lively and fresh. I’m sure each has its merit, but this one has never let me down. So give it a try if you don’t already have a tried and true technique.
But first, a note: prep the greens ASAP after purchase, ideally the same day. There is usually residual water on the greens that seems to speed up their deterioration.
How To Store Herbs and Greens for Maximum Freshness
- Wash the GreensSeparate the leaves and rinse as well as possible. I use a salad spinner and often let the bowl and strainer fill with water as I’m rinsing the leaves. Then I give the leaves a little swish in the water before lifting the colander out of the water and letting them drain.
- Dry ThemI swear by the salad spinner for this. I give the leaves a spin and dump the water, and then do it again. Then I move the leaves around a little with my hand and do it a few more times. They are still a little damp afterward but have no beads of water remaining. It’s perfect. And fast.If you don’t have a salad spinner, get the greens as dry as possible any way you can. My first alternate choice is to shake the leaves over the sink, lay them out on a tea towel, then roll up the tea towel and give it a gentle squeeze.
- Store in Airtight Container with Something to Absorb the Moisture.I usually line the container with a paper towel, put a paper towel or two in between layers and then lay one on top. I don’t have fresh greens around all that often (I live in the desert, after all) and I don’t use paper towels for hardly anything else, so it doesn’t bother me. If you’d rather use something more environmentally friendly, maybe use a tea towel instead. (I’d love to hear what alternatives you come up with!)
- RefrigerateKeep greens refrigerated at all times so that they maintain their crispness. I have no scientific explanation for you here, but in my experience, herbs and greens left out at room temperature for even 30 minutes can go irreversibly wilty. Then again, my room temperature is likely a good bit hotter than yours. Lucky you.
One Final Note
This method works for a small bunch of herbs or a large head of lettuce; just choose an appropriately-sized container and you’re all set. And, as an added bonus, everything is already cleaned and waiting for you when you need it. Overall a pretty big win, I’d say.
What do you do with fresh herbs and greens? Think you’ll give this a try?