Better & Safer Mixed Salads
I have a short but "doleful" tale to tell, and a solution that saves time and money. For various reasons, it's vital that I have on hand the makings for a dark green salad every day. I hate to purchase several varieties, and then throw much of it away since there's only two of us eating it, so for variety and time I've been buying Dole's bagged mixed salad greens. At first I didn't have a grave problem although I did have some loss, but it got to the point I had to pick over the greens endlessly and eventually throw half out. That's costly, and annoying to have to make another trip to the store. Sometimes there were rotten bits in the greens when we bought them.
I have long poked a hole or two in any produce sealed in plastic, on the theory that if it's alive, it needs to breath. I opened the bags immediately upon purchase, but this didn't help much.
Since our small neighborhood market doesn't carry them, and the local Winn-Dixie is trying to resolve grave financial problems, I tried sending my daughter out of her way to buy them at Publix, with little improvement. I contacted Winn Dixie about the problem, asking when they get them in, and didn't get a response. I then reported the problem to Dole, and asked also where to find an expiration date on the bag, and they never answered me either. (Shame on both of them!)
I did notice, however, that when we (rarely) found the greens in a plastic box they lasted longer although there was still significant loss. Inspiration struck! I saved the next couple of boxes, chipped little drain holes in the bottoms, and saved them. Next bag of greens I put in a clean basin of cold water, swished around, and lifted out. Tiny bits, some already unhealthy looking, were left behind. Emptied the water, refilled and added a little veggie wash. Soaked a couple of minutes, swished and lifted out. Then I rinsed a third time, and placed in a large colander. When well drained, I packed them loosely in the plastic box from Dole.
Not only is there no more spoilage, but the greens crisp up until they are truly a joy to eat! Try it.
Not So Doleful Anymore
Last week I wrote about a problem I was having with packaged salad greens spoiling, specifically Dole packaged greens, and I mentioned that I had written to Winn-Dixie and Dole, by email, and hadn't gotten a response.
I spoke too soon. Dole sent a fat envelope with Recipes, Tips, Usage, coupons, and more. They also state that the packages have a "use by..." date. I have seen this on the boxes, but not on the bags; I'll have to look harder, but right now I only have a box of greens on hand.
Dole explains the procedure for cleaning and packaging its salad greens, and it's impressive. One thing they mention is that they recommend that consumers do not use any greens with an expired Best-If-Used-By-Date even if they appear wholesome. I know that two bags I purchased did not have this date; I think I need to do some more detective work on this one. This were both bags that had spoilage when I purchased them. This can be caused by expiration or poor handling at the retail level. I'll keep readers posted, and share some of the hints and recipes. Start with Harvest Apple Slaw.