I am a huge fan of salads, and absolutely nothing could be easier or more convenient than bagged salad. However, lately, these bags of fast food have risen in price until a bag of salad on sale is costing around $3. Since I eat a huge salad at least once a day, this is cost prohibitive.
So, today, I went back to my roots and began making my own bagged salad, which remains as fresh and crisp as any bagged salad, costing a LOT more.
*It should be noted that hand-torn lettuce browns less and lasts longer than metal knife-cut. I eat mine so fast, it doesn’t matter to me, and cutting is faster for my prep. Your mileage may vary.
I have found the key to keeping fresh, crisp lettuce is moisture and controlling oxidation (exposure to oxygen and its effect on the food). So, for my bagged salad, I begin with a fully seal-able plastic bag. I use a zip-loc, because their seal is always reliable. They are also sturdy enough to wash and use many times over.
I dampen a paper towel with water
once I have wetted the paper towel, I wring it out thoroughly. and place it in the bag.
then, I cut my lettuce to size. *Again, to keep browning at an absolute minimum, lettuce should be torn. If you don’t burn through your lettuce really quickly, you should consider tearing it, rather than cutting.
I like to grate a few carrots into mine for color, vitamins and texture. You could add anything you enjoy to yours at this point. Bag it!
Place the paper towel into the bag on an outside edge, and squish a lot of the air out of the bag. Don’t worry about bruising the leaves. It is much worse for them to be exposed to a lot of oxygen.
Voila! Bagged salad. Fresh and lovely for around 5 days or so, at the cost of $1.58 for the original bunch of romaine. Versus 2/$7 at my local grocery store for the same thing. And…what better way to Stick-It-To-Monsanto and Big Food, than to stop buying packaged items?!