How to Keep Salad Fresh

Salads are a great way to work fresh fruits and veggies into your diet, but it can be difficult to ensure they’ll stay fresh if you make them in advance. If you don’t want to mix your salad right before eating it, make sure your greens are stored in the refrigerator with a paper towel and that your fruit salad is kept fresh with water or citrus juice. No salad will stay fresh indefinitely, but with some simple tricks, you can enjoy yours for up to a week after preparing it.

1- Chop and wash the lettuce and other leafy greens.
Chop off the roots of leaf lettuce and remove the core of the iceberg lettuce. Fill a bowl with cool water and let the leaves soak for about ten minutes, then remove them. If the water appears dirty, pour it down the drain and refill the bowl to repeat the process until the water comes away clean. Rinse the leaves off and lay them on a clean paper towel.

2- Dry the leaves with a salad spinner. Place the leaves inside the spinner’s strainer basket and put the lid on securely. Run the spinner for 15-20 seconds to remove excess water.

3 – Roll your lettuce in a tea towel if you don’t have a salad spinner. Open the towel and spread out the wet leaves on top. Roll up the towel with the leaves inside, pat it gently, and unroll it to remove the dry leaves.

4 – Chop the other ingredients and wash them. Many vegetables, like tomatoes and cucumbers, can be rinsed under running water and dried with clean paper towels. Some, like carrots, may need to be scrubbed with a vegetable brush or peeled with a vegetable peeler to remove any dirt caked into the outer crevices of the skin.

5 – Assemble the salad in a bowl. Place heavier vegetables, like carrots and cucumbers, at the bottom of the bowl, and lay the lettuce and other leafy greens on top. Toss it gently, but don’t put the dressing on the salad, as this will make the leaves limp.

6 – Wait to add dressing until right before you eat the salad. Store any dressing in a separate container in the refrigerator. Adding it too soon will make the leaves limp and soggy.

7 – Place a clean, dry paper towel on top of the bowl. Lay it flat across the top of the leaves, or fold it for a smaller bowl. The towel will absorb water and condensation, keeping the leaves from getting soggy.

8 – Layer paper towels if your salad has veggies with high water content. Take extra measures if your salad has vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, which have high water concentration and could make your leaves prematurely soggy. Lay some of your salad in the bowl and lay a paper towel on top. Spread out more salad on top of that and lay another sheet of paper towel over that. You can repeat this for two to four layers, but make sure that a paper towel rests on top.

  • Other vegetables with high water content include celery, radishes, zucchini, squash, and bell peppers.

9 – Seal the container with a lid, plastic wrap, or both. Spread a tight layer of plastic cling wrap on top of the bowl to keep the air from getting in and spoiling the leaves. If the bowl has a lid, put that on top of the plastic wrap for an extra layer of protection.

10 – Refrigerate the salad to keep it fresh for a week. Check on the salad every few days and gently stir the leaves around. Replace the paper towel if it’s getting soggy.

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