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.
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.
- 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 https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.