Nothing ruins a great salad like brown or soggy lettuce. But how do you prep your salad ahead of time and still keep that lettuce crisp?
- Remove the core from your romaine or iceberg lettuce before refrigerating. This will keep the lettuce fresher until you are ready to wash and use it
- Submerge washed lettuce leave in a bowl of ice water and a teaspoon of salt and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shake off (or spin) the excess water and place in a large container, cover with paper towels and store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to make your salad, even if it’s a day later, your lettuce will still be green and crispy!
Whether a side dish or the main dish, salads often call for the inclusion of boiled eggs. I’m here for that!
Here are some quick tips for those oval treats:
- Store eggs pointy side down. All eggs contain a small air pocket at the wider end. Storing eggs with the pointy side down keeps this air pocket at the top and less likely to rupture and cause the egg to spoil.
- Do not store on the door of your refrigerator. The constant temperature changes from will cause eggs to spoil faster than storing them on a shelf in the interior of the refrigerator.
- If you’re in doubt about the freshness of an egg, try this quick freshness test:
drop egg into a bowl of water.
- If it floats, it’s likely to not be fresh
- If it remains submerged, but the wide end is “up”, it’s not as fresh but perfectly good for boiling
- If it sinks and lays horizontal, it’s fresh!
Keep in mind, though, that this is only a rule of thumb for gauging the freshness of an egg, not whether it or not it has spoiled. If you’re using a recipe that specifically calls for “fresh” eggs, you want to go for the “sinkers”.
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda or a few lemon wedges to cooking water and the shell will glide off when you’re ready to peel
Can you have too much of a good thing? Only if you let that abundance go to waste! Here are a few simple tricks for extending the fresh factor:
- Wrap your banana stems in aluminum foil to delay ripening. It will add at least a week to the life of your bananas!
- You can also freeze bananas, peel and all for a tasty frozen treat. Even though the peel will turn brown, the inner fruit will be unchanged.
- Bananas don’t have to be refrigerated but should be kept in a cool spot away from your other fruits, especially apples. Both fruits release ethylene so storing them close to each other will cause both to ripen (and spoil) much quicker!
- Store your tomatoes (yes they are fruit!) in a cool dry place – not the refrigerator
- Wash your berries in a 1:3 ratio of vinegar and water to prevent mold and significantly extend the non-spoilage time in the refrigerator
- Toss in a few apples with your stored potatoes – they will keep your potatoes fresh for up to 2 months and prevent them from sprouting
- A good rule of thumb for storing your fruits for maximum shelf life:
If it has a pit (i.e. peaches) it can be bought slightly unopened and stored unrefrigerated; the fruit will continue to slowly ripen without spoiling.
Not only are fresh fruits available in colorful abundance – they are also cheaper!
Try these tips to freeze your summer fruits so they will still be in peek condition for those winter treats
- Arrange washed berries in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze before placing them in airtight freezer storage containers – this will prevent them from “clumping” together.
- Dip sliced fruits in a mix of water/lemon juice (1 teaspoon lemon juice to 1 quart water) before freezing to prevent the fruit from turning brown.
- Even watermelon can be frozen for later use in yogurts, fruit cups, and smoothies. Simply cut into bite-size chunks, arrange in a single layer on your baking sheet, freeze and store in your airtight freezer containers as you would berries.
NOT JUST GOOD NUTRITION – STAYING HYDRATED
Staying hydrated during the summer months can be challenging – making sure we add fresh fruits and veggies make it easier.
Cucumbers, celery, star fruit, watermelon, grapefruit, and berries make a colorful and tasty addition to spruce up that plain glass of water.
You can also step up your hydrating game by including lots of raw veggies in your diet. These all have a water content of at least 90%:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Green Peppers
Stay hydrated, stay nourished and stay stress-free! That’s my summer goal. I hope you can use some of these tips to help you reach your summer goals.