It's that time of the year again! Winters are setting in and soon markets will have a fresh green hue to them, what with all the greens like palak, methi, sarson and saag ready to be enjoyed in the form of many seasonal delicacies around the country. Green leafy and salad vegetables are a storehouse of dietary fibre like pectin, iron, folate, vitamin A, K, C , E. Spinach alone contains a dozen different antioxidant flavonoid compounds , boasting of anti-inflammatory properties that protect against heart disease and help neutralise the action of free radicals. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin present in spinach also help boost eye sight. Mustard greens (or sarson) have for long had the reputation of removing toxins from the body and lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. The diuretic action of celery and its ability to regulate high blood pressure is also a well-known fact in the world of health and nutrition. Have them raw or toss them up in salads, enjoy them as part of healthy soups or blend them into smoothies, there is absolutely no reason why you must keep yourself off these nutritional powerhouses.
But before you have them on your plate do ensure to clean and wash them well. Many a times these greens are cultivated using various pesticides and fertilisers, which in some cases can also prove to be toxic for human consumption. Cleaning them well would also prevent intake of many germs and insects that could have been breeding in the leafy bunch. Even if you are purchasing your greens from organic stores, it is better to exercise caution, to prevent yourself from the dirt and germs accumulated by the greens during handling.
Here are some tips that will come handy to wash your greens
1.Wash your hands thoroughly: Before you get down to the cleaning business make sure you wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds before handling leafy greens
2.Wash them under cold running tap water: This goes for all the greens kale, lettuce, broccoli cabbage and even the pre-bagged ones like spinach. Washing greens in hot water can make them wilt instantly.
Wash them under cold running tap water
3.Pick the outer/wilted leaves: For vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage, remove the outer leaves first. If you find any rotten, wilted or discoloured leaves, throw them in the trash. Cut out the part of the stem that seems rotten.
4.Rinse and drain: Take the greens and rinse them well in a colander ( a bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with holes in it used for draining food). Let the excess water drain. You can also use salad spinner to drain excess liquid. After this, pat them dry with paper towel. Never wash the vegetables in soap water, detergent or bleach as it can leave residues not safe to consume. Always make sure the water used to wash the vegetables are fresh and clean.
Take the greens and rinse them well in a colander
5.Store: Store the leafy vegetables clean paper towels or a freshly cleaned kitchen towel in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. Make sure to use it within a week.
Store the leafy vegetables clean paper towels
Take note of these expert tips and wash your greens thoroughly to prevent intake of any pesticides and toxic substances in future.