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Sep 12, 2008 07:06 AM

Bagged Salad, gag me!!!

I dont understand why people buy bagged salad. Yeah, ok, its handy, but man, does the taste and smell not negate any time factor benefit?

The smell that hits you when you first open a bag is just disgusting( but, I have an acute sense of smell). The taste is nasty too. So many of the mixes are filled w/ iceberg( which isnt that bad, it has its purposes) too.

Yesterday at work, I made a huge salad and I served 35 people with it. I have tons leftover too. I used 6 organic romaine hearts( 6.00), 1 head of iceberg( for crunch)(.99), 1 seeded english cucumber( .79), 3 field tomatoes(79lb). 1 small head of red cabbage( .50), 3 red peppers( 1.00), 1 red onion( .50), 1 bag of preshreeded carrots( these dont smell( 1.99) and a small container of goats feta cheese(3.49)

The salad is awsome and it will keep for at least 3 days( without the soggy tomatoes) in the fridge.

Speak to me.......

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  1. I buy bagged sometimes, but prefer the little plastic boxes. Try the organic ones, baby arugula or mesclun, and be careful about the date. Smells/tastes fine to me as long as it's fresh...once it goes skanky...yeah, that's bad.

    3 Replies
    1. re: danna

      I have to agree with you on the bagged salads. I wouldn't care if I got it for free, there is no way I'm eating that.

      BUT are those prices for real? Ice burg lettuce is around 1.99, red peppers on sale are $1.99lb, english cucumbers are $1.50 each, and I just paid $1.99lb for "native" tomatoes here in CT.

      1. re: jesoda

        The OP seems to be from Canada. In California at this time of year those prices are for real ... unless you shop at someplace like Whole Foods.

        I once bought bagged salad for convenience. Since that was all I ate, the smell/taste wasn't noticable. However, last year I ate on the cheap for a month ... $3 a day ... and that required head lettuce since bagged was too pricy. When I went back to bagged I noticed how awful it tasted. Also all bagged lettuce, even organic, goes through a clorine rinse according to what I've read.

        Couldn't go back to bagged. I spend time on Saturday to wash and dry head lettuce. I tear it up and store it in plastic containers or glass jars. It lasts one week to 1 1/2 weeks. It tastes better and is so much less expensive.

        1. re: jesoda

          Yep, those prices are for real. We get really cheap produce this time of year, but wait until December. We're totally gouged.

          I'm originally from California and it astounds me that I can buy Haas avocados here for .69 each or on clearance for 7( yes SEVEN) for .99.

          Check my foodblog for a recent post I did about guacamole.

      2. Id have to have both of my hands in casts to use a bagged salad product. It is so easy to chop lettuce, shred carrots, and slice and dice the other items for a salad.

        1. A salad spinner is one of the best inventions. I prefer to wash my own lettuce, and spin it dry. Once clean and dry, I wrap extra in papertowel then place in a Ziploc and store in fridge for another time, it stays fresh a fairly long time and doesnt have the funky bagged lettuce smell.

          1. I think it appeals to slothful consumers, and it's scary how much shelf space it gets.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              Then I guess that makes me a slothful consumer, because that's pretty much all I buy. The Whole Foods store brand ones are $1.99, and I always dig to the back of the rack to find the one with the farthest off expiration date. As long as it's fresh, I don't notice a bad smell at all. On some level I may be wasting money, but (a) when I get home from work, starving, at 8pm I'm far more likely to eat a salad rather than junk if I don't have to spend another 15 minutes washing and drying lettuce, shredding carrots, etc.; and (b) in my one person household, full heads of lettuce are very likely to go to waste before I use them up.

              1. re: Veggo

                Slothful Costco box mixed green buyer here. I use a lot of the mixed greens in my lunch box as salad or sandwich wraps. I use a piece of kitchen paper towel to absorb the moisture. No smell for me. I guess I am the slothful insensitive type.

              2. Au contraire mon fraire! I buy it all the time, as it is way cheaper than individual items. Taste? Smell? Aren't you washing it? What, the bag says pre-washed and you trust them? As someone who has been known to grow their own lettuces from time to time, the bagged salad is a very close second. And not just price, but there is so much waste from a head of romaine, or those first few leaves of radicchio....Bagged salad makes sense to me. Slothful? Pa-lease!

                5 Replies
                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                  Yeah ... you would have to do some sort of price breakdown to make an argument that it is less expensive.

                  For example, the Dole Romaine bag (10 oz) has romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. It sells for $1.99. Even off-season a head of Romaine is under $1.50 ... in season it is $1. It yealds a whole lot more than 10 oz even trimmed.

                  What is the cost of one carrot? The red cabbage will keep in the fridge months and can be used in multiple salads.

                  That same 10oz from scratch would cost at most $1.

                  Even the argument that mixes with multiple types of lettuce doesn't hold water. Yes, it might coast $6 - $10 to buy heads of different types of lettuce ... however, the yield would greatly exceed what is in a single bag.

                  Yeah, that's not fair to call it an appeal to 'slothful' consumers. Time is valuable. I do resent the time it takes to wash and prepare the lettuce ever week. If what I get paid for work were factored into the salad the cost would be prohibative. Not everyone gets their jollies in the kitchen. Though I do it because it tastes better ... that's the ONLY reason ... my time is more valuable than washing and tearing lettuce.. If the bagged tasted as good, I'd go back in a hearbeat.

                  1. re: rworange

                    I have seen bagged salad that is just romaine and red cabbage, and that may not work out cheaper....but in my area (CT) I buy what is called "Spring Mix", 4 different kinds of lettuces, (not iceberg) I believe, which I usually can't even find in my store, nevermind the price. How long would a head (bunch) of red oak leaf lettuce last in my crisper? I have no clue, as I've never seen it in the store.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Sure, you can buy different types of lettuces to create a huge batch of salad, but when you have a house with only two people in it, who's going to eat all that salad?! Then it just goes to waste and wouldn't necessarily be cheaper..

                      1. re: pinkprimp

                        I'm the only one in the household who eats lettuce. Two heads last me two weeks.

                        And I agree with biscuitboy that there is not the variety in a supermarket. At best there is a selection of Romaine, Iceburg, red leaf and green leaf. Some wander into the land of frisee and arugula. But you know what? I would challenge anyone to do a blind taste test and pick out the red oak leaf lettuce. What are you buying other than a fancy name? Red leaf will give the same color appeal.

                        I rarely buy supermarket lettuce, buying mainly from farmers markets. Being in SF, I've tried a lot of fancy varieties like 'duck's tongue' lettuce. It really all tastes alike ... or the taste is so marginal it doesn't matter.

                        Now I grew up in Waterbury and went to school in Boston, so I know that year-round farmers markets aren't avalable to all. Still you can put together a decent salad from the supermarket bins for lots less and the variety used in bags doesn't up the taste factor while the processing of bagged lettuce does. I would never soak my greens in clorine.

                        As I mentioned, when all I ate was bagged lettuce I couldn't tell the difference. After a month of eating head lettuce, the taste difference was startling.

                        1. re: pinkprimp

                          That's my problem with buying separately. I used to go to one grocery store that would let you buy loose leafs and make your own salad, which I would do instead of the bags. They got rid of that option and I haven't seen it anywhere else, so I buy the bags now. I live alone so there's no way on earth I'd be able to use all the items separately to make myself a salad unless I ate larger salads for every meal.

                          When I buy them, I look for the latest expiration date and then among those I look for the dryest, least puffy bag.