No More Wasted Greens: How to Keep Them Fresh Longer

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Nothing says summer to me quite like a light, fresh salad.

And really, bagged greens are a grocery list staple all year round — and for good reason. They’ve got plenty more uses beyond salads.

I mean, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from countless hours of watching Food Network, it’s that greens go in everything. Besides a fresh salad, you can also use them in smoothies, tacos, pastas, frittatas, sandwiches, and grain bowls. And there are so many different kinds of greens: spinach, kale, turnip greens, arugula, collards… the list could go on forever.

This is why most shoppers instinctively reach for a bag of the green stuff on their walk through the store.

Of course, a couple of days later and those greens are looking a little gross. Bagged greens start slipping into that slimy, half-rotted state before you even get through half the bag. Lettuce in particular is a big offender, here.

I’m here to tell you — from personal experience — you don’t have to trash half the bag anymore. These storage tips will help you keep those bagged greens fresh for longer.

The Paper Towel Trick

My personal favorite is the paper towel trick. It’s a tip my mom gave me several years ago, and now I swear by it. It works with any bagged greens, too, whether they came pre-bagged from the store, or if I chop up a head of lettuce and bag it myself.

It’s as simple as this: slide a fresh paper towel into the bag of greens, and close the bag back up with a chip clip (or clothes pin, whatever floats your boat). The paper towel will absorb all the moisture that would otherwise lead your greens to rot.

Swap the paper towel out for a fresh, dry one each day, and you’ll be able to keep those greens from getting slimy for quite a while longer.

Use a Different Container

Moisture is the biggest threat to your bagged greens, but there’s another culprit responsible for your greens getting sad: all those heavier fruits and veggies rolling around in the crisper drawer. That flimsy plastic bag isn’t doing your greens any favors in terms of protection.

When you bring home that bag of greens, go ahead and dump them into a sturdier airtight plastic storage container. It’ll help prevent bumps and bruises, which can contribute to greens breaking down faster.

Of course, you should still take advantage of those paper towels in your storage container, too. Line the bottom of the container with paper towels before putting the greens in. Just don’t pack the leaves in too tightly, or they won’t have any breathing room — causing them to break down quicker.