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Jan 9, 2013 10:04 PM

Survey: How do you wash your leafy vegetables?

As the title states, I am curious how you wash leafy vegetables before cooking.

I used to say that I wash my vegetables, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I actually rinse my vegetables. This is especially so for leafy vegetables. Occasionally, I peeled apart the leafy vegetables and washed one leaf at a time by rubbing the leaves against my thumb and fingers. More often that not, I soaked them in water, swirled them around, and drained. Sometime I repeat this process.

So what do you *usually* do?

A) Wash vegetable via contact by hand or by brush (direct contact)
B) Rinse vegetable by running water or soaking water (indirect contact)
C) Not wash (trust vegetables being clean)

Thank you.

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  1. Depends,

    Belgian endive and radicchio I don't wash at all.

    Iceberg lettuce, if it looks clean, I generally peel the outer few layers off and don't wash any further. If there is noticeable dirt I will rinse the outer leaves, as generally the core is dirt free.

    Green/red/leafy lettuce, pretty much the same, though I find it typically has dirt and needs to be rinsed more often then iceberg.

    Spinach/arugula/choys/etc I treat along the same lines. Might cut the leaf from the stem, rinse the leaves off and then the stems/stalks might require more hands on rubbing or whatever to get any dirt off.

    bagged, prepared lettuces I don't wash.

    If I wash, a salad spinner is ideal, but here in Japan I don't have one, so i put tbem in a strainer and put the matching bowl inverted on top and shake excess water out, or just leave them sit in the strainer while I made the rest of the meal. I have neither enough kitchen towels nor paper towels nor space in general to try other drying methods.

    I simply rinse leaves under water most of the time, just depends on the time of year and what I am washing off and where I am. In Australia there were a lot of bugs on the lettuce, so I did fill the sink and swirl there, and actually typically I have done so in most restaurants, but at home it rarely comes to that. Japan does not seem to have as many bugs so I am just worried about surface dirt and a rinse suffices.

    I guess I am mostly C, followed sometimes by B, and rarely A

    2 Replies
    1. re: TeRReT

      Thanks. I suppose there are also these vegetable washing machine, but I doubt most people use them. There are physical washers which are much like our washing machine. There are the ultrasonic washers which is more like sonicators in labs.

      and there are these interesting sticks, which I am sure you can find them in Japan:

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I have not seen either of those, but I am not in the habit of looking for ultrasonic vegetable washers. I will keep my eyes open for them now though, mind you I don't imagine I would ever use one.

    2. Depends on the amount of vegetable used.....a small amount, then like yourself, just rinse and use my thumb.....but if washing a whole head...then I slice, or chop and soak in a bowl of cool water....if the vegetable is particularly gritty, then I repeat as often as necessary.

      I use the salad spinner ...only for salad greens...not if the leafy vegetables are going to bee cooked.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fourunder

        Fourunder, you just said everything I was going to say. A soak, or several soaks, until no grit in the bottom of the bowl. If salad items and too soggy, a spin in the salad spinner.

      2. As I was taught in school: A full sink of water, toss in vegies and agitate them with both hands, let it sit so the dirt can sink to the bottom, remove floating vegies.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mwhitmore

          Me too. I have a double sink but the side with disposal is much smaller. I fill that with water and put the lettuce/leafy green in there, agitating to clean. If the green is very dirty, like spinach, I may drain and refill once or twice. Then I put the leaves in my salad spinner to dry them.

          1. re: tcamp

            for me, spinach gets 3 dunks in water (fresh batch each time) and no grit at all. I hate sandy spinach if you couldn't tell.

            1. re: hill food

              Spinach gets washed repeatedly until there is no grit in the bottom of the bowl - from one to 5+ washings, depending on the spinach [one of the local farmers who shows up at our market claims he washes his baby spinach three times before he sells it: sometimes it still has sand on it].

              I use my salad spinner for cleaning greens: fill basket with greens, put in bowl, fill with water, agitate, let sit for a bit. Then remove basket with greens, check the water in bowl, clean bowl, repeat as necessary.

          2. re: mwhitmore

            I do this if I have a whole lot of wrinkly or puckery leaves with nooks and crannies to get caught in. Otherwise, I run water over both sides, shake and use the faucet on spray once more and I'm done.

            For a big bunch, though, the clean sink full of cold water gets it done best.

          3. Ok, so far, I think the answers are:

            Chemicalkinetics: B
            TeRReT: C
            fourunder: B
            coll: B
            mwhitmore: B
            tcamp: B

            Yes, like many of you, I often repeat the soaking, rinsing process a few times.

            1. Quick bath in not too cold water, gentle agitation.