You've Been Storing Bagged Salad Wrong Your Whole Life, So Here's How To Do It Right
The best thing since sliced bread is obviously bagged salad, in my humble opinion. But do you know how to make bagged salad better? This simple trick (via Cosmopolitan) will improve the taste and shelf life of your bagged salad, at almost no cost.
As far as I can tell, bagged salad seems to be strangely polarizing. Some people I've talked to think it's hugely convenient while others think it's a symbol of laziness and a needless expense. But probably everyone can agree that if you do buy greens, bagged or otherwise, you should avoid wasting them. Whether they were pre-washed and bagged or not, those greens had financial and environmental costs.
So, without further ado, here's how to make those bagged salads last longer (and how to avoid wastage guilt): As soon as you get it home, open up that bag and quickly stash a paper towel inside. The paper towel trick will be much more effective than your old method of immediately cramming the bag in the back of the fridge, where it will be forgotten while it partially freezes and rots into fragrant mush. Instagram user Marie Saba of Austin, Texas, captures this method nicely in her recent post.
But actually there's no reason you couldn't use this paper towel trick with your non-bagged greens, if you're one of those bagged salad haters. Basically anytime you've already washed your greens, there is probably some residual moisture on the greens. By including a paper towel in the bag, you hold a bit of freshness-promoting moisture in there (moisture prevents greens from wilting) without causing any of the greens to stay in touch with actual water. The result is freshness without slimy dud leaves. Since salad should be kept moist, you also should store in in your high humidity fridge drawer (and if they still confuse you, learn more about how to use the fruit and vegetable drawers over at The Kitchn).
Informal testing also done over at The Kitchn suggests that sticking those washed greens in a plastic box with a paper towel keeps them fresh even longer than the plastic bag plus paper towel combo (though it's unclear why exactly that would be the case). The bagged greens made it about 7 days in good shape, whereas the boxed greens made it 10.
Perhaps the bag of greens allows a gradual leakage of moisture, whereas the box is more or less airtight. For this reason, although washed greens in clamshell containers tend to be more expensive, they may be worth it if you want them to last a long time in a small household and would be too lazy to transfer them to a separate plastic box. In either case, don't forget your paper towel!