Washing Leafy Greens for Good Health

Freshly Washed Chard

Getting leafy greens onto the family dinner plate is one of the great culinary challenges of the home.  Getting access to them, getting them home on a regular basis, and storing them properly are difficult enough, getting them cooked is a challenge on top of all of that.

Knowing how to wash and store them can make keeping the familiar ones in the house, and may help to push the boundaries of the types of leafy greens that one is comfortable with.


Cooking greens such as collards, mustard or beet greens, kale, chard, and spinach varies by quite a margin.  Their flavor profiles, their leafy structures and makeup, and their cooking time varies by quite a bit.  However, washing and storing them doesn't change much, and makes them last much longer in the refrigerator.  Having them available and ready to go makes getting them onto the table a much easier and more likely prospect.

Washing them when they are purchased helps cut down on preparation time later in the week when life moves a bit faster and things are less convenient. 

Greens should be submerged in a large bowl of basin in cold water.  They should be totally covered.  This allows the dirt and sand that are attached to them to soften up and fall off.  Agitate them so that the  movement of the water helps to dislodge the sand.  Lift them slowly from the bowl.  Rinsing them in cold water after lifting them out of the bowl may also help.  For very sandy produce, particularly that from right off the farm, doing this step twice may be beneficial.

Place the greens on a double layer of paper towel.  Add a second layer of paper towel to the top of the pile after the greens are all done.  Slowly roll the paper towel up like a cinnamon roll, in a spiral.  This dries the greens.  Place the greens in a plastic bag or plastic storage container and refrigerate.  This method helps to keep the produce fresh longer as well.


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