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How-to Select Leafy Greens

Search4goodfood Sep 21, 2009 04:07 PM

High quality greens will ensure that your salad is fresh and full of flavor. When selecting your greens reference the following guide for assistance; it has information on how to choose the right produce and what to avoid.

Leafy Varieties

Arugula – When purchasing Arugula look for tender, bright green leaves that look fresh and crisp.

Butterhead – Select Butterhead Lettuce by searching for small, round, loose formed heads with thick leaves. Butterhead Lettuce should have pale green outer leaves and pale yellow inner leaves.

Cabbage – Look for cabbage that is semi-solid and well-rounded. It should be fairly heavy with crisp leaves that are light green or purplish red in color. Leaves that are fairly thick and pliable will be juicier.

Kale – Kale should have dark-green colored leaves with loosely formed heads. The edges of the leaves should be frilly with slight bluish purple or white color.

Iceberg – Quality Iceberg heads will be moderately firm with thick, pale green leaves. A good test is to scratch the stalk and smell the lettuce. A sweet or bitter smell means a sweet or bitter flavor.

Leaf Lettuce – Leaf Lettuce can be green or red in color and should have thick “crumpled” leaves. Avoid Leaf Lettuce that has thin, wilted leaves and brown spots near the stalk end.

Radicchio – When looking for Radicchio be sure that you get a product with deep-red to purple leaves and crisp white veins. The heads should be compact with fairly thick leaf edges.

Romaine – Selecting the right Romaine isn’t complicated, just pick out one that has an elongated head and thick leaves. The color of the outer leaves should be medium to dark green in color with pale green inner leaves. Scratch the stalk and smell the lettuce. A sweet smell will have a sweet flavor; a bitter smell will have a bitter flavor.

Spinach – Look for tender dark, crisp green leaves with stems that are unblemished and free of mud. Spinach should have a fresh but not too strong scent.

Watercress – Select bouquets of Watercress that have crisp dark green, dime-sized leaves with 8” to 10” stems. You may find them displayed in a container of water at the supermarket.

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