We’ve all fallen victim to the unopened bag of spinach on refrigerator-purge day. Our Sunday grocery shopping dreams dashed, personified by wilted leaves that go straight in the trash. If that spinach had lasted an extra few days, would you have made that strawberry salad you promised yourself? I mean, maybe not, but it can’t hurt! If you’re in the market for some extra motivation to use up your leafy greens before they have to be tossed, here are a few tricks you can start to implement in your refrigerator that go beyond the crisper drawer.
The plastic container that tender greens like spinach, arugula or butter lettuce usually come in are designed to keep them as fresh as possible, but if you want to go a step further to ensure their crunch for as long as possible, try washing them in cold water and drying off completely with a paper towel (water speeds up wilting). Lay them flat on paper towels, roll ‘em up and store in a gallon ziplock bag, pressing as much air out as possible before sealing.
Heartier greens (kale, collards, broccoli rabe) also don’t like moisture, but they especially don’t like the dry air of a refrigerator – there’s a reason these are usually stored on the open-air misting shelves at the store. Keep these dry and line a sealed container (like a tupperware) with paper towels, loosely packing in the greens and topping with another paper towel before closing it up. The container option is thought to work best.
Some other tips:
- If the outside leaves on a head of romaine are a little banged up, don’t pull them off right away! Let them protect the inside leaves.
- Kale can also be left on the counter in a vase, like a bouquet of flowers.
- If the paper towels your greens are stored with start to become too soggy, be sure to swap them out.
- Don’t pack things like arugula or spinach too tightly when you store them. Dense packaging speeds up decay.
- Store those prepackaged containers of greens upside down with a paper towel, so that all the moisture that would usually sit at the bottom will get soaked up.
- If leaves are looking wilty but not rotten, give them a cold water bath to crisp back up.