Storing greens responsibly requires a modicum of planning and of stocking your pantry -- but once you get there, your greens will be better. They'll last longer. You'll be able to make that salad you planned for Sunday but didn't get to until Thursday.
So grow up already and store your greens like an adult.
Here's why you should. When you throw salad greens haphazardly into the fridge, you might be risking high ethylene levels and too much (or too little) moisture -- all of which will make your greens spoil faster. (Read: no salad for you.) The good news? All of those things are avoidable.
When You Get Home From the Market Unless your greens are extraordinarily dirty, wait until you are ready to eat to wash them. If you wash before you store, it's more difficult to get the leaves dry before you put them away -- and extra water droplets can result in browning and rotting. Instead, pick through your greens and remove any that are wilted or slimy. This is extra security: as produce matures, it releases ethelyne gas, which makes neighboring fruits and vegetables ripen (or in the case of leaves, wilt and rot) faster.
After you pick them over, you have a few different options for storage, but their placement in the fridge is non-negotiable. Always store them in the lowest drawer (usually the crisper) -- it's the coolest, and the colder the temperature, the slower your produce will break down.
In a Container For salad greens to thrive after they've been picked, they need slightly humid conditions (to prevent the leaves from drying out), but minimal water droplets. To emulate this, store them in a plastic container with a paper or tea towel draped over the top instead of a lid. You can also use a bag that's left open, but if you choose this route, reuse one, gallon-size zip-top bag to minimize waste. (By the same token, if your greens came in a clamshell, just snip the lid off and use that.) Be sure to fill your bag or container loosely, as packing them tightly will bruise the leaves, making them more susceptible to rotting.
In a Towel There are a lot of fans of this method out there, in which you wrap your greens in a towel, and keep the roll in the fridge. (A tea towel would also work.) Each day, just grab the greens you need, and keep the roll intact.
If you don't have the fridge space, or the patience, for this kind of operation, fear not: your greens will have a happy home whichever method you choose.
Do you use a method we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments!
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.