How to Wash and Dry Salad Greens

Don't just rinse your salad greens under the faucet. You might still miss hidden dirt, and even bugs (yuck!). Instead, wash and dry your greens thoroughly for a clean, healthy dish.

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If you've just been rinsing your lettuce or greens, you're doing it wrong! Dirt, grit and bugs can hide among the leaves in places where the faucet just can't reach. Follow this foolproof method to ensure your salads are crunchy and delicious, not gritty, dirty or soggy.

Inspect Your Greens

Look over your salad greens to make sure they're healthy. Discard any bruised or wilted leaves.

How To Wash and Dry Greens, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Felicia Perretti

Felicia Perretti

Use this method for tender salad greens and herbs or hardy cooking greens like kale and chard. First, pick out any bruised or wilted leaves. For heads of lettuce, gently separate the leaves and tear into bite-size pieces.

Draw a Cold Bath

Wash the leaves in cold water, which helps keep them crisp and vibrant.

How To Wash and Dry Greens, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Felicia Perretti

Felicia Perretti

Fill a large bowl or pot with clean, cold water. Cold water keeps the greens crisp and vibrant. Dunk the salad greens in the water. They should fit loosely in the bowl without being too crowded and should be completely submerged. Wash them in batches if you need to.

Swish and Wait

Swish the greens around to loosen and remove any dirt or debris. Then let them sit. The dirt and grit will settle to the bottom of the bowl. (Bugs will usually float!)

Lift and Repeat

Don't settle for one wash. Many salad greens need two or three "cycles."

How To Wash and Dry Greens, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Felicia Perretti

Felicia Perretti

Don't drain them in a colander -- you'll pour the dirt right back on. Instead, gently lift the greens from the water. Your hands are the best tools for this task. Inspect the bowl and repeat the process with fresh cold water until it looks clear. Some greens, like kale or bunched arugula, can be particularly dirty and will need a few turns in the water.

Dry Well

Spin the greens dry or lay them out on a clean kitchen towel. Dry greens stay fresh longer and are easier to dress.

Now your lettuces or greens are ready to be dressed and enjoyed.

Here's What to Make with Your Greens:

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