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Pre Washed Bagged Salad Mixes- Do You Take A Lending Hand?

Enjoying a salad mix from Costco, I thought about how I mostly buy bagged salad mixes anymore.
There are so many varieties- one of my favorites being a store-brand escarole mix. It's lovely to have escarole at the ready.
The Costco salad I'm enjoying at the moment has a mix of sturdy lettuces, pistachios, dried cranberries and feta.
The white balsamic dressing is shite- tossed that.

I love so many things on my salad that it makes it very convenient for me to start out with washed, fresh lettuces and build from there.
DH and I eat salad with dinner most nights, and this certainly helps.

I don't re-wash, btw.

Do you avail yourself of this convenience?

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  1. Nope. I much prefer to buy things individually at the Farmers market or coop.
    But then, I dislike Costco anyway.
    And the mixed always taste like chemicals to me.

    1. All the time, especially during the winter when my garden is sleeping.

      1. I always taste something weird when I buy those mixes (could just be in my head), so no.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          I know what you mean- some mixes are better than others.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Agreed - it's like there is some preserving agent that gives commercial bagged lettuces a weird taste. I do buy triple washed greens from local farmers. They use a refurbished washing machine to do the spin drying :)

            1. re: ttoommyy

              They use chlorine to clean the salads and some people are more sensitive to it. Or, they used to back when I worked for a couple of companies.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Yes. Both taste and smell are off for me, but not with spinach, just bagged lettuce. IDK

              2. Have never done it I know the risk is incredibly low, but I've heard enough stories of the recalls due to e coli contamination that I figure its worth the time to buy fresh and wash it myself.

                4 Replies
                1. re: FattyDumplin

                  The ecoli came from the soil- could have happened to any greens, and it was IN the salad (spinach) and couldn't have been washed off.

                  1. re: monavano

                    But what about hte other recalls for stuff like listeria and salmonella. Reality is being Asian, we tend to eat more cooked greens, either in soups or stir frys. As a result, on the few occasions we do eat salads, I feel like its worth the effort to buy local / as fresh as possible and wash it myself. But to your point, it's probably an irrational fear, but not enough of a time suck given the frequency for me to overcome it.

                    1. re: FattyDumplin

                      I know I sure as hell don't triple wash, so I'm ok with pouring it right from the bag and eating it.

                      I do LOVE my OXO salad spinner when I do get fresh lettuces.
                      I've found many other uses for it, too.

                      How did I ever wash and dry lettuce without it?!

                  2. re: FattyDumplin

                    I buy both whole heads and bagged mixes and wash it myself almost all the time, because I think it tastes better that way. Take a romaine heart, rinse it, slice the end off and stand it in cool water for an hour or two. It absorbs water and gets much, much crisper. Just don't leave it overnight because it gets watery-tasting

                  3. Not any more, I've found bugs/ caterpillars in mixes and they taste chemically. We also prefer other greens to lettuces anyhow.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                      I find bugs in my greens from the market.
                      They survive in the fridge for weeks!

                      I've never found anything untoward in my mixes.

                      1. re: monavano

                        Its funny, the bugs in my garden don't bother me (though I check/ wash everything before I bring it in,) but someone else's bugs totally grosses me out. :)

                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                          Twice in a row, I found a ladybug (or whatever bug that is that looks the same) in my market mustard greens.
                          Each time the greens were wrapped in paper towel and stored in a plastic bag for a week before I pulled them out to prep.
                          There I am, with a huge chef's knife, ready to slice, and I see a ladybug. Poor thing was chilled to the exoskeleton.
                          I got it onto a paper towel and let it warm up in the sunshine and poof! it flew off and was gone.
                          Two times!

                      2. re: weezieduzzit

                        "Not any more, I've found bugs/ caterpillars in mixes..."

                        But the bugs are triple washed!

                          1. re: monavano

                            They add crunch. No different than croutons!

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                They do if you coat them in breadcrumbs and fry them

                      3. Washing is not an effective means of removing E. coli from leafy vegetables.

                        http://aem.asm.org/content/68/1/397.full

                        I don't buy mixes. I mostly buy romaine, and occasionally a few other varieties. Simpler is better, for me.

                        1. BTW, I do enjoy lovely greens from the farmers market, too.

                          1. I don't buy many blends but I prefer to buy nearly all of my salad greens in prewashed bags-spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, collard greens, kale, Romaine hearts (prefer to buy the whole hearts rather than already chopped)-unless the particular green is in season at the Farmers' Market.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              One of the reasons I started buying more pre washed, bagged mixes is because I got so sick of washing Romain every night (I bought the 3-packs).

                              The bagged salads just take a little bit of prep away and it just helps me.

                              1. re: monavano

                                They've actually increased consumption of salads and spinach substantially in this country and that's a good thing.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  i do rewash and spin dry prewashed greens. i think that is the recommendation. though i have no problem grabbing a bite from bag and i doubt restaurants rewash bagged greens.
                                  the nice thing is you get such a variety in one bag without having to get multiple heads.

                                  1. re: divadmas

                                    You don't have to rewash most bagged salads but every company is different and some doe not prewash. But, ones that are are perfectly safe to use out of the bags.

                                    1. re: divadmas

                                      2) If a RTE lettuce/leafy green salad is received in either a sealed bag or rigid plastic containers labeled "washed", "triple washed" or "ready-to-eat" it does not need additional washing before you eat it unless specifically directed on the label.

                                      http://www.cdph.ca.gov/pubsforms/Guid...

                                      Save yourself some time!

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        I've never washed them but as is apparent over on that chicken thread, I don't follow all rules in the kitchen.

                                    2. re: chowser

                                      I will admit I don't buy several greens that I love because I hate having to deal with them both the space they occupy in the fridge until I use them and the whole process itself. It's just a few - dandelion greens, Swiss chard (until I discovered the bagged version).

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        I use frozen kale and spinach in my smoothies because the fresh versions take up so much space.

                                2. I sure do, and I'm not ashamed. I like the mixes in particular. I'm the only person in my house that enjoys a green salad, so it's impractical to buy all the veg and assemble. It would only result in waste. But the bags give me a nice 2 or 3 salads, so it's perfect.

                                  1. A while ago, bought bagged, pre-washed salad greens at supermarket... because it was a BOGO. One bag was a Romaine/Arugula mix. I rewash and was SOOOO upset when I literally found less than 1/4 cup of arugula in the bag!?! I took it back! Was asked if I wanted to replace it... nah, just give me my money back.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: kseiverd

                                        I'd say that's petty chiseling on the part of the producer of the product, but also petty to go so far as to take it back, which results in its being thrown out. An e-mail to the producer and the supermarket would be my approach

                                      2. I resisted for the longest time, just bought heads of romaine & prepped it myself, but lately I've started getting bags, & no, I don't rewash.

                                        1. I go through an obscene amount of produce every week, from juicing as well as eating it.
                                          I buy baby spinach, arugala, the cruciferous crunch blend at trader joe's- more of the specialty lettuces that are bagged. Never the "salad kits" though.
                                          Greens like kale, swiss chard, romaine, and cabbage i buy as is and wash myself.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                            For some reason I never buy precut cabbage. It's something about the crunch.

                                          2. Romaine I will happily buy in heads, because it's cheaper that way and easy to prep (I just slice through the whole head to shred it before washing, rather than peeling off leaves)

                                            I do like the mixed bags of more exotic greens, though, when I can get them. When I was in California, I liked the TJ's half bags of salad greens, because for a single person they didn't go bad before you finished them.

                                            It's a moot point now, though - I can get iceberg and romaine, and chrysanthemum greens in season, but anything more exotic is about an hour round trip to obtain, and very expensive.

                                            1. Doesn't exist where I am. If it did, I would, although I would still wash all the ingredients before consuming.

                                              1. Yep. Bagged leaves are a big help in building variety into our salads.

                                                Although I always check what's in the bag as I can't abide the texture of frisée.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  I can tolerate frisee at prissy restaurants and understand its appeal visually- but i'm with you, its not going to be welcomed in my kitchen!

                                                  1. I don't buy bags of mixed lettuces mainly due to being just a tiny bit suspect of what may be sprayed on the contents to keep cut lettuces fresh-looking for so long, plus the obvious waste of plastic.

                                                    I do buy the bags of three romaine hearts, which I will individually wash one at a time and keep in my salad spinner (but I don't slide the bag into another plastic bag, as I see some people do).

                                                    One head is enough for two salads for myself, and enclosed in the salad spinner, the torn pieces don't start to turn brown until after a few days have passed.

                                                    Yeah, those romaine hearts are probably sprayed with something too, but I figure tossing a couple of the outer leaves probably gets rid of the most of it (though I could be living in a fool's paradise with that reasoning).

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: RelishPDX

                                                      If I get romaine, I also usually buy the 3-pack and mass wash and store in my OXO.

                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                        That must be one massive salad spinner! The $3.99 spinner I bought at IKEA will hold just one large romaine heart torn into pieces.

                                                      2. re: RelishPDX

                                                        They're washed in chlorinated water but nothing is added to make them last longer. Each bag is formulated to the "breathe" rate of the greens in the bag. They don't recommend it but you could wash your own greens, dry them and store them in bags for the same type of greens to keep them longer. I'm with you on wasted packaging.

                                                        1. re: RelishPDX

                                                          Omg, i always knew my salads were big....
                                                          I use 1 AND 1/2 romaine hearts for a salad!! :))
                                                          My salads are often the main course with other stuff tossed in too....

                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                            Seriously I think I start with 2 heads. Bagged heads are always smaller.

                                                        2. Not usually. I tend to buy whole heads of lettuce this time of year. I also buy the multi-head romaine packs at Costco cuz the fam loves Caesar salad. My salad spinner sees a lot of use.

                                                          I'm not concerned about germs or bugs. I got burned a couple times when some of the lettuce hidden from view had started to rot.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                            The more fragile, "Spring" mixes tend to do that- you have to eat pretty fast.

                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                              Ugh, just thinking about it makes me feel a little sick...

                                                              I did have a really good bagged mix from Costco with kale and other stuff. Sounds like the one you mentioned upthread only no feta. I will look for that next time I'm shopping.

                                                          2. There are only 2 of us and I often end up wasting the bagged stuff. We have salad bars in our grocery stores and I buy that usually enough for a couple of meals. I can get more variations on the salad bars than I would at home.

                                                            1. I buy bagged in the winter but Unwashed greens from the farmer's market in the summer(it opens next month, can't wait!).

                                                              1. So apropos of this thread, earlier today I washed my last romaine heart from the bag, which I just finished up in a salad for lunch.

                                                                Then this news breaks, the entire Portland, OR area is under a boil water notice:

                                                                http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/in...

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                  I know this is a bit off-topic, but thanks for posting.

                                                                  If we are under a "boil" order, is it better just to eat pre-washed bagged salads and veggies as sold, rather than to wash/rinse them in the "do not drink" water?

                                                                  My guess would be "yes".

                                                                  An epidemiologist's opinion would be helpful here.

                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                    My answer is always yes. I don't wash pre-washed bagged salads. I think a warning to boil water would encourage me to limit my use of said water.

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      ATK or CI did testing on bagged pre-washed lettuce once and found that washing it added bacteria, so their recommendation was to not wash pre-washed greens.

                                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                                        It's kind of like washing chicken in a way.

                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                          Jacques and Julia’s discussion about washing chicken is classic. Starts at the 27:05 minute.
                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11KuND...

                                                                  2. Bagged greens taste odd to me, like nickels. Seriously.

                                                                    1. Living in New England the window to buy local is short so come dead of winter I often buy bagged baby spinach, baby kale and the occasional bagged mixed green. However most the time I buy loose so I can choose the heads I want.

                                                                      In the summer about 70% of my veggies come from our farm share.

                                                                      A salad spinner makes washing/drying easy. I resisted buying one for the longest time but now I can't imagine not having one!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                        We bought spinach , kale and lettuce from high tunnels all winter at farm markets in MA this year

                                                                        1. re: magiesmom

                                                                          Alas there are no year round FM in my neck of the woods. I can usually find some local product in the speciality market or WF but even that's hard come Feb.

                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                            We are lucky that we now have them. Just in the last few years.

                                                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                                                              What is high tunnels? I believe you live in Pioneer Valley- is there a winter Farmers Market with fresh produce there?

                                                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                I was curious too. I'll have ask the guy at my CSA about them

                                                                                http://hightunnels.org

                                                                                High tunnels, or hoophouses, are unheated greenhouses that can help commercial farmers extend their growing season so that they can improve the profitability and productivity of their farms.
                                                                                High tunnels are also an integral part of local food production systems in many parts of the United States. They aid fruit and vegetable crop production by extending the cropping season, providing protection from the elements (wind, storms, heat, etc.), and result in a more-stable production system that poses less risk of crop failure.
                                                                                High tunnels come in many different shapes, sizes, and structures. Many 4-season tunnels are as small as 1000 sq ft for, and 3-season tunnels (plastic is removed during winter) can span ranges up to 20+ acres.

                                                                      2. I used to stay away from the pre-washed greens, or at least re-wash them. These days, with a crazy schedule and lots of packed lunches, we like having a big box or two at home, usually the organic ones, either spinach or some kind of mixed greens, no additional toppings. They keep well for a week or so, I try to not think about what they did to keep them fresh for that long, and I do not bother washing them.

                                                                        I find them a convenient time-saver for quick salads to complement a protein dish, especially if I already have olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper at the table, and everyone can build her own version.

                                                                        The greens are also great for sandwiches and Vietnamese style rice paper rolls. We are even putting them into our sushi rolls. Fun way for adults and kids alike to eat their greens.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: vil

                                                                          As I said above, they don't add anything to keep them green longer but they do wash in chlorinated water (if you swim, you probably absorb more than you'd eat in bagged salads). The bags are specially formulated to let the greens breathe at their own rate so bags for each type of salad are slightly different. The bagged salad companies (where I used to work) have apparently done a terrible job in letting consumers know that there aren't added preservatives.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            I see, thanks. Thread is getting a bit too long to follow through ;-) And yes, it would make it more appealing if they state "preservative free" on the packaging.

                                                                            I notice that the boxed ones I get are coming from Mexico these days. Would they have a different standard there?

                                                                        2. I do buy bagged lettuce or spinach, but I prefer to make my own salads from things in the fridge. I also like lots of stuff in salads, but I prefer to add things that I fit into my eating plan and/or that I choose.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                            I do a combination of the two. It depends on the sales at the store. Buy one get one free bagged salad--no brainer.

                                                                          2. I'm sure we aren't making that much of a distinction here, but I buy the tubs, not the bags. I've found that it lasts a lot longer when packaged that way.

                                                                            I normally buy baby spring mix or spring mix + spinach, and mix it with my CSA lettuces. I don't wash it.