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Wash, wash, wash your greens

July 23, 2012

Rainbow ChardAs I’ve mentioned, we have lots of greens growing in our garden. Something to the tune of 300 row feet of kale, chard, and collard greens at the moment. That’s not even counting the beet greens, which I know I should count but often guiltily feed to the chickens instead. Anyway, the point of growing all these greens is that if I can just get them picked, washed, and into my fridge (preferably also sauteed with coconut oil and lots of garlic), I have no problem eating them with almost every meal. In eggs, on pasta, in a salad, on their own, raw  in smoothies, and dehydrated–there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy them!

But we process them in such quantities that my old standbys–our large mixing bowl and colander–weren’t cutting it anymore. So after a little trial and error, we came up with a new system that I love:

tub trug in the garden
Step 1: Harvest
I hate to bring any new plastic into our lives, but we recently made an exception to purchase a Tubtrug. It’s light, portable, durable, and holds tons of veggies. It was important to me to get the real deal because I didn’t want a knock off that would break or degrade in the sun, and we chose the original type instead of the ones made from recycled plastic because the latter aren’t guaranteed food-safe. But the real reason we bought it brings me to…

washing chard

Step 2: Wash
I love that we can fill the tub with water and wash the veggies right in it. With greens, I like to let them soak for a bit so any stowaway slugs head for higher ground instead of potentially finding their way to my plate! After soaking, they get a dunk, a swish, and it’s on to…

kale ready for drying

Step 3: Dry
This is the part of the process I’m proudest of. For a long time I’ve wanted to get a salad spinner, but I kept striking out at yard sales or thrift stores. I couldn’t quite bring myself to buy a new one for a few reasons: the expense, the limited capacity, the thought of adding another single-use kitchen gadget to our collection (though they are useful for drying small knits!), and most of all, the plastic!

My research into plastic-free salad spinners led me to a stainless steel OXO model that was super expensive and half-plastic anyway, and a few alternate methods for drying greens. The most common of these alternate methods seemed to be filling a pillowcase with wet greens, going outside, and spinning it yourself. Aha! I’d just scored five yards of cute striped fabric for a dollar at a yard sale and have been slowly teaching myself to sew straight lines, so I whipped up a few giant drawstring bags by scaling up these ones.

Since we mostly eat greens in season, it shouldn’t be very inconvenient to have to go outside to dry them. It’s kind of fun, but you might make funny faces while doing it:

drying greens
The best part? Just a few seconds of spinning and you have a whole mess of greens ready for eating!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2012 8:35 am

    Great ideas for washing and spin drying greens – the tub and the pillow case. Will be using your ideas for sure.

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