I remember having a lovely lunch in a restaurant by Fisherman’s Warf in San Fransisco. Everything was perfect: wonderful view of the ocean, sterling service and then I felt a crunch of sand in the spinach Florentine. How could such a high caliber kitchen fail to thoroughly wash those greens? It happened years ago but I remember it vividly.
There are quick and simple steps to keep a similar memory from being associated with your precious cooking. You go the extra mile to have quality greens, whether from your own garden or from the farmers’ market. Then you prepare those greens with specially chosen seasonings. There is no need to mess up the picture with a bit of grit hiding in those greens.
Simple Steps to Cleaning Your Greens
- Fill a large container half way with cool water. The largest size aluminum bowl is a good choice.
- Immerse your greens in the water and swirl them around for half a minute or so. Do swirl the greens but not so much as to bruise them.
- Lift the greens out of the bowl to a colander. Check the bottom of the bowl for grit. If there is any, repeat the process until there is no sand left in the bottom of the bowl.
- If you are using the greens in a salad, let the greens drip dry or use a salad spinner to dry them.
Why Is Cleaning Greens Necessary?
- Many greens are savoyed or roughly textured leaving ample opportunity for bits of sandy soil to cling to the surfaces.
- With some greens, the perfect lodging place is on the back of the leaf so you may not see it at all. I am often shocked at the amount of dirt staring up a me from the bottom of the bowl when I would have sworn that the greens were perfectly clean
- Greens are usually grown in sandy loam which means there will almost always be a bit of sand carried away with the crop.
- Simple rinsing does not do an adequate job of dislodging the more stubborn deposits of sand. Swishing in the bath water is the dislodging answer to this problem.
A greens bath may seem like a lot of work initially, especially if you are accustomed to reaching into a bag of pre-washed greens from the grocery store. After a couple of rounds with this cleaning method, you will be an expert and think nothing of the few minutes it takes to ensure squeaky clean greens.