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Salad Greens

Salad Greens

Produce Spotlight on Salad Greens

Salad Greens are a cool weather, early season crop. Many leafy greens are replanted later in the season for a second crop. Greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, which stops cuts and scrapes from bleeding too much. Vitamin K also works with calcium to help build strong bones.

 

Shopping for Salad Greens

Most lettuce is sold by the head, but some salad greens are sold prewashed and bagged. Choose firm heads with fresh leaves that show no sign of wilt or spoilage. To avoid spoilage, buy what you will use within a week. 

 

Common Types

Butterhead (Boston or Bibb) – soft, delicate, cupped leaves; sweet mild flavor

Loose-leaf lettuce (Ruby, Oak Leaf, and Black Seeded Simpson) – tender, ruffled leaves with a crunchy center rib; mild flavor

Crisphead (Iceberg) – crisp, pale green leaves; mild flavor

Romaine or Cos – large, smooth, oval leaves with a thick crunchy center rib; sharper flavor

Sturdy greens (Escarole, Chicory, Radicchio, Frisee, Endive) – eaten cooked and raw; bitter flavor

Baby kale and baby spinach – darkest green of all the types. These have  the  most nutrients.

 

Storage and Preparation

  • Store leafy greens unwashed in the refrigerator. Wrap in a damp paper towel and put in a plastic bag with holes for air circulation.
  • Wash greens before eating. Swish leaves in a bowl of cold water to release any dirt. Repeat in clean water until no grit is visible. A salad spinner is a good tool for gently drying lettuce leaves. If you do not have one, gently pat the leaves dry with a towel to avoid bruising them.
  • Green salads can be prepared a day before serving, but dress the salad just before serving it to keep the leaves from getting soggy.

 

Serving Ideas

  • Add greens to your sandwiches.     
  • Create a colorful salad by starting with a variety of greens.
  • Use large lettuce leaves as a wrap for your favorite filling.
  • Blend greens into a smoothie. Many greens are sweet and combine well with fruit.
  • Add baby greens to a pasta or soup dish, or sauté with garlic for a side.

 

Salad Green Math

1 cup of salad greens =

about 2 cupped handfuls 

 

Using Locally Grown Produce

For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.