What's the best way to wash greens and herbs (like chard, parsley, cilantro, etc)?



ChefDaddy April 16, 2011
Yes....Thanks pierino! LMAO!
pierino April 16, 2011
For the uninitiated, ChefDaddy is referring to a long handled Chinese style wire basket. Damn useful tool. Household spiders are pretty damn hard to train to perform kitchen tasks.
ChefDaddy April 16, 2011
If you have trouble removing parsley and cilantro from a sink of water just use a spider to retrieve. It works in cold water as well as hot.
RobertaJ April 16, 2011
Agree with all the rinsing/washing advice above. For the broad-leafed greens, (collards, mustard greens, chard, kale) a rinse under running water does the trick, then into a collander to drain to appropriate dryness according to cooking method.

Larger, curly greens, like salad greens, get the dunk into a sink full of cold water (with a drizzle of vinegar if you think there may be little beasties still lurking in them), a swish and then lifted out to drain in a collander. Be careful not to agitate the water too much at this point, or you'll stir the grit back up into your greens.

Herbs, including parsley and cilantro, usually get rinsed right in the collander, because to pick them out of the sink is a PITA !.

Instead of drying with paper towels (eek, the paper waste/garbage), I keep a couple or three old, clean bath towels in a drawer, and lay the cleaned greens out on that, then roll them up, gently, like a burrito. That I stash back in the fridge to chill and dry thoroughly while I'm making the rest of the dinner. Or drop the larger greens into an old, clean pillowcase, go out in the backyard and swing it in a circle. Then spread them out in the pillowcase, roll, and stash in the fridge until you need them. I find I can get 3 or 4 uses on each towel or pillowcase before I have to wash them. Much more ecologically friendly !
bugbitten April 15, 2011
These are some great suggestions, beetgreens! Cilantro is now a close second to leeks for harboring dirty, dinner-ruining dirt. I'm on ChefJune's page in that I agree you should never chop wet herbs; the edges turn black before you can take a breath.

I've recently heard some government experts say that you should wash raw vegetables for about five minutes because, really, who knows where they've been? I think I'll stick to my old habits.

Colander or spinner, dry with towels. If you have time to get the dry greens into the fridge, the low humidity in there will help. You might also chill your salad forks at the same time. Wowee!
ChefDaddy April 15, 2011
I sanitize my sink, fill with cold water and let them soak for awhile agitating once in a while and then remove them from the water to a spinner and spin, put in colander and let air/drip dry or a clean towel. All the dirt and grit go to the bottom of the sink while the greens float. It always suprises me to see how much dirt is on the bottom of the sink.
beetgreens April 15, 2011
Someone recently told me she sprays them with some kind of vegetable cleaner and then rinses them off, in addition to rinsing off all the grit but I had never heard this before.
Thank you! This is all very helpful.
ChefJune April 15, 2011
Kristen sounds like she took a class with me! I do more drying than that, though. Wet herbs don't chop well, so I like to roll them in sturdy paper toweling and store them in an open plastic bag in the crisper. Then they are ready all week for me to go grab a few sprigs and chop 'em up.

With salad greens, I also find that the spinner doesn't usually dry them enough. Wet salad greens have a tendency to spurn your vinaigrette. So i usually grab some paper towel and blot the greens before I put them into the bowl.

For greens I'm going to cook (like collards, chard, dandies, etc.) I just shake them dry and proceed with the recipe (unless my recipe tells me otherwise).
pierino April 15, 2011
These greens are very diffierent each from the other. I definitely agree with Kristen on the cilantro as it can be almost mudpacked.
Chard, I rinse under a tap and wrap in a towel. Flat leaf parsley is kind of in between---you can use either method.
Kristen M. April 15, 2011
For really dirty herbs & greens (cilantro seems to like getting especially sandy), I swish them around vigorously in a big bowl of cold water and then let them sit for a few minutes (to give all the dirt I've shaken off a chance to settle to the bottom).

Then I lift them out into a colander or salad spinner. If there's tons of grit in the bottom, you may want to repeat this process but I usually don't bother. Bonus: The cold water also helps rehydrate and perk up the more delicate herbs if they've gone limp.
drbabs April 15, 2011
I put them in a colander and spray them with water from my kitchen faucet. Then I dry them in a tea towel.
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