Do you have a kitchen gadget you simply could NOT live without? For me, it’s my salad supplies. (And about a million other things, but that’s for another day!) These gadgets will help you with your “Make Your Salads Count” Monday Mission, another way to get a salad on the table quickly when it’s crunchtime.
It’s important to me that my food is both fresh and frugal. Buying the whole head of lettuce and cutting it myself is one way to achieve both. I’m convinced that you get a lot more lettuce for your dollar than buying the bagged, pre-cut salads, especially if you choose organic. Besides that, I have yet to see bagged lettuce at my Farmer’s Market. (Okay, actually I’m lying. One organic stand has leaf lettuce in bags. They’re not always there though, so I still need my goodies.)
Why a Special Knife Just for Lettuce?
I remember learning in high school chemistry class that the reason you might tear lettuce instead of cutting it with a knife has to do with cells. When you cut the leaves with a sharp knife, you damage the cells, allowing oxygen to degrade the food. That’s the classic lettuce-browning-gooey-symptom you’ll find if you cut lettuce ahead of time with a metal knife. (There’s also something to do with a reaction with the metal.) Either way, my lettuce knife does the trick:
It’s plastic, and it tears the lettuce instead of cutting it. I can chop up a whole head of lettuce at once and leave it in a regular old plastic bag (or bowl, whatever) in the fridge for almost an entire week. Sometimes I put a paper towel in there to absorb excess moisture, but it’s not necessary. Seriously, you have to have one of these things!
Here’s an example from Amazon.com (affiliate link), but you can find them at just about any store in your town (even grocery stores):
How to Wash that Whole Head of Lettuce
Here’s my salad process: After you do an initial rinse of the lettuce, chop it with your special lettuce knife, and dump the salad into the spinner. Wash, spin, and serve. So simple.
Timesaver: Don’t wash your salad spinner every time you use it. Lettuce touched it this time, lettuce will touch it next time. We only wash it every few weeks. Just rinse off the lettuce pieces, flip upside down to dry, and store at the end of the night.
My salad spinner has fallen on its head from its perch high in the pantry one (or two or three) too many times to pose for a photo opp. Here’s the same style from Amazon:
There are tons of different fancy spinners out there. If you want one, consider this variation: Some let water run through like mine, some don’t. I like to run the water over my lettuce, spin and go. If you’d like to store the lettuce right in the spinner, you might like the other kind, which is more like a bowl. You just have to rinse your lettuce outside of the outer bowl and then spin it.
If I worked outside the home, this might be one area where I’d grab the convenience food – the good old bagged salad – except when I got a chance to shop at the Farmer’s Market. You cannot beat fresh, from the local soil lettuce.