Always wash the greens carefully, but
never under running water as the force of the water will damage the
leaves. Instead, place the leaves in a bowl filled with cold water and
very gently move them around in the bowl. Let it soak for a few minutes,
then gently lift out the greens, leaving the dirt and grit behind, and
transfer them to another bowl. Change the water in the first bowl and keep
washing the greens until there's no sand or grit left in the bottom of the
bowl. Usually two washings is enough but very sandy or gritty greens may
As for lettuce, there are a number of
tricks and gadgets to dry them. Very delicate greens are best gently
patted dry between two cloth towels, but for all other greens, a lettuce
spinner will do the trick in much less time. Put the greens in the spinner
and spin gently, When the lettuce stops spinning, remove the lid, give the
leaves a gentle toss to redistribute them, and spin again. Make sure the
lettuce is very dry as any moisture clinging to the leaves will dilute the
dressing and make the salad taste watery.
If you want to get organized early in
the day, rinse and dry the lettuces and store them in the refrigerator
wrapped in a damp towel. If storing for a longer period, wrap the greens
in the damp towel and enclose that in a plastic bag.
Dress the greens at the last minute as
the lettuce will wilt quickly once it comes in contact with acidic
ingredients such as vinegar or lemon.