[ This article is part of our Save The Food series on how to make the most of your food ]
Can you still use your hearty greens?
- Hearty greens, alternatively referred to as Winter Greens, include a variety of sturdier leafy vegetables that generally do well in cold temperatures. This group includes kale, arugula, spinach (excluding baby spinach), collard greens, bok choy, cabbage, mustard greens, Swiss chard, radicchio, endive, sorrel, and more.
- The sturdier these greens feel, the longer they will last. Cabbage can stay fresh for a month or more when properly stored, while spinach will usually only last about a week.
- If the greens start to appear brown, they become slimy, or the smell is off it's time to toss them.
- Hearty greens that are beginning to turn yellow or wilt are usually still fine to eat. They are well suited for recipes that require cooking them.
How to save hearty greens
Freezing: Many hearty greens freeze well, the key is to blanche them first. Blanching and freezing is a great way to preserve the nutritional value of veggies. To do so, first separate the leaves from the stems. Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil and then boil the leaves for about 2 minutes from the time the water returns to a boil after adding the vegetables in. Immediately put the vegetables in ice water or under running cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the greens. For stems simply add ~1 minute to the boiling time. Once the greens are blanched dry them thoroughly and then pack them away in a clear and / or labeled airtight container in the freezer for later use. See here for more info.
Sautéing and Wilting: Sautéing or wilting is another great way to use up hearty green before they go bad. The key is to add the stems into the pan first and cook them for a few extra minutes before adding in the leaves. You can either add a few ingredients, like garlic and / or your choice of sauce into the sautéed or wilted greens to make the a dish of their own, or add them into another dish.
Incorporate: Incorporating hearty greens into other dishes is another great way to use them.
- Smoothies & Shakes: Certain hearty greens, such as kale or spinach, work well in smoothies or shakes. Blend with your choice of other ingredients, such as berries, avocado, or other fruits, into delicious smoothies.
How to prevent hearty greens from going bad
- Many hearty greens are sold in bunches. Remove any twist ties or rubber bands prior to storing.
- Store hearty greens in an unsealed bag in the crisper drawer. Add a piece of paper towel or wrap them loosely in a dish towel to absorb any moisture if the greens are wet.
- It is generally recommended not to wash the greens until you are ready to eat them.
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