Deciding on your salads can become a pretty big task. What greens should you use? What type of dressing should you top it with? These are just a few questions that may come to mind when you are planning a salad. Here are some tips to help make your decisions easier to handle.
Using and Preparing Salad Greens
When you purchase salad greens, pick the greens that have no brown on them and look the freshest. Use your greens as soon as you get them. Try not to purchase them more than a few days ahead of time. Wash the greens and throw away any root pieces that may be present. This will keep them fresh longer. Put them in cold water and let them sit for a few minutes. As you take the leaves out of the water, shake them gently to encourage any dirt to come off. Repeat the rinsing process with fresh water as many times as it takes for the water to be completely clear of dirt.
Use a salad spinner or paper towel to completely dry your greens. This will allow the dressing to stick to them. Water will cause it to run off, especially if it is an oily dressing. If you do not plan on using them right away, place them in a storage bag with a paper towel, then into the vegetable crisper.
When you are cutting or tearing your greens for your salad, do not do so until right before you plan to use them. This leaves raw, unclosed edges that will cause them to go bad a lot quicker. Make sure that you cut, or tear, the greens into uniform sized pieces to make it easier to eat. Do not put your dressing on until just before you serve the salad, unless you are using a mayonnaise based dressing. These tend to taste better if they are coated with the dressing overnight.
Homemade Salad Dressings
Homemade salad dressings are a wonderful addition to salads. You can control the amount of ingredients that go into them, and also tweak the taste to your liking. Homemade salad dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Many oil based dressings should be brought back to room temperature before serving, and many others actually benefit in flavor at room temperature.
Croutons are a great addition to any salad. These are made easily as well. Simply save the heals from your loaves of bread in a freezer bag and freeze them. This way, you will have them on hand when you need to make croutons. Simply cube them before you freeze them. They can only be stored in the freezer for six months, so make sure to date them.