Kristina

I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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January 27, 2011

How to wash super dirty greens

This might be kind of a random post. But I’m betting that there are at least a few of you out there who will be kind of excited about it, just as I was when I figured this out. Which I can’t take any credit for, btw. Years ago I was visiting my friend Laura’s farm in Athens, GA and while we were prepping the harvest for their CSA pickup, I learned this little trick.

This works for any type of greens: lettuces, kale, arugula, etc.

Fill your sink with cold water.
Dump greens into sink.
Swish them around a bit.
Let sit for, I don’t know, 15 minutes? Or longer.
Scoop the greens out of the sink and into a colander.

Behold: the sink bottom is now covered in dirt and your greens are squeaky clean.

When I saw this in action, (using like 1 ton of freshly picked arugula and a large vintage bathtub), I had a major “Ohhhhhhhhh” moment. As in, “So that’s how you do it!” And I’ve never looked back. It works like a charm and I haven’t ground a tooth against a granule of dirt in my salad since.

Some of you probably already do this and are like, um, yeah, DUH. But I bet there are others who are stuck trying to rinse their lettuces by hand, like I was. Try it!

comments

  1. Melissa said on January 27, 2011

    This is a great tip! I never seem to get it quite clean enough. Sometimes I wish more people would share simple tips like this on their blogs. Everyone assumes that everyone else already knows the simple stuff, but those of us who are domestically challenged appreciate the tips!

  2. Alicia said on January 27, 2011

    If you put a bit of salt in the water, i will do magic! Especially on dirty spinach.

  3. jordan said on January 27, 2011

    Great tip! Thanks so much for sharing it. I can’t wait to move back to Oregon and for Farmer’s Market season to begin.

  4. steph schneider said on January 27, 2011

    consider me in the “aha” camp. thanks for the tip.

  5. Rachel (heart of light) said on January 27, 2011

    This is exactly how I do it! I do all my CSA stuff at once, and then dump it from the sink into terrycloth salad bags – the water keeps them crisp, but the terrycloth absorbs any excess so they aren’t swimming around. So easy.

  6. Amanda said on January 27, 2011

    Ooo! Totally beats running water over them in a colander while it sprays all over!
    Now, if only someone could tell me how to easily and quickly rinse quinoa. It usually takes me forever and I lose precious grains in the process. ugh.

  7. Alexis said on January 27, 2011

    dah. brilliant. I have been in need of a new method.

  8. Sara said on January 27, 2011

    I did this once because I was too lazy to wash each leaf individually. Then I realized how this method saved more time, energy, and water!

  9. Kristina said on January 27, 2011

    See! Some of you DID make use of this tidbit.

    @rachel – of course you already knew this.

    @Amanda/100LC – Wait, you WASH quinoa??? Have I been eating dirty quinoa all these years?

  10. Carina said on January 27, 2011

    I grew up on a South African farm where pretty much everything was grown in our veg patch. I would actually insist exactly like my granny on adding a good helping of salt to the water to kill any slugs or bugs that can survive a water bath (however microscopic they might be). x

  11. Amanda Halbrook said on January 28, 2011

    HA! you *may* have been eating dirty quinoa! Oh the horror. Haha. I ate it without rinsing for years too, and awhile back I kept seeing recipes that called for “rinsed” quinoa. Rinsing sort of takes the chalky taste out. But it is a MAJOR pain to rinse! Let’s discuss this perplexing dilemma on our way to Palm Springs this Sunday. xo

  12. Sally Mae said on January 28, 2011

    Am I the only one who uses a salad spinner? The base is a big bowl for soaking, but then I let the colander insert and centripetal force work their magic. I love my OXO brand but maybe I’m missing something with the “sink soak” method that I’ll have try. I don’t have a big garden to reap greens from so mine might not be as dirty;)

    P.S. I’ve been following for a while (since before baby) and I’m freakin out that he’s almost one!!!! Happy celebrating:)

  13. Giovanna said on January 29, 2011

    @Amanda, I have a small colander with tiny holes (there’s probably an actual name for it) which I use specifically for quinoa and any small grain, like couscous. I dump the quinoa in it and run water over it, while tossing the grains around with my hands every so often, for a few minutes. It sounds like a pain, but it’s really not, and I think it works.

  14. Kiersten Johnson said on January 30, 2011

    Wow…I never knew that. Thank you so much for what you call your random post! I have a CSA box and get overwhelmed by cleaning all my greens.

  15. Kristin said on January 31, 2011

    brilliant! and so simple. I can’t believe I never thought to do this sooner. I’m a quinoa rinser, too. I just use a fine mesh colander and it works great.

  16. danielle said on February 2, 2011

    This is too funny. I read about this on a cooking site last week, and then tried it. I exclaimed to my friend, this is so smart, look! And she said, oh yeah, i thought everyone knew that fun fact.
    SO thanks for not just assuming other people know this crazy trick, bc I am a new convert!

  17. karen said on February 3, 2011

    I’m probably being really OCD about this, but those who clean greens this way clean their sink first? I know I certainly don’t scrub my sink every day…I’m thinking this might not be too sanitary if you’re not a vegetarian household? Or even just in general unless your sink is sparkly clean? Am I over-thinking this?

  18. Kristina said on February 3, 2011

    Maybe I need to look into this quinoa rinsing thing. But I agree, I would use the sieve thing I use to strain stock, I think.

    @Karen – we’re a veg house so we don’t worry about it. But I do usually spray the sink down first, at least.

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