Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lettuce-washing-indecision

I need help. Badly. You see, it's the lettuce. It' s growing really well, and I've just harvested a bowl full. What's the problem with that, you say?! Well, it's the washing of the lettuce. I've never really had to think about it before, because I've never been successful with lettuce until now. Either I've tried to grow it on too little water in weather that's too warm. Or I've grown it with proper cool temperatures and enough water, but it was infested with caterpillars. (Not just a couple that I could pick off, I'm talking about an all-out invasion.) That's why I've never gotten to this point of lettuce-washing-indecision before. And ok, I'll go ahead and admit it, I'm a bit of a germ-o-phob. (Anybody seen the Seinfeld episode with Putty and Elaine's co-worker? Well, I'm at Putty's level.) It's true that I've become a little bit more relaxed about "germs" over the last few years. And it's not like there's chemicals on the leaves. But still. It's dirt.

For some reason, I find it easy to trust the package of lettuce from the grocery store or the head of lettuce from the farmer's market. But my own lettuce does not come in a plastic package or from a "real" farmer. And with all of the rain we've received lately, a lot of dirt has splashed up onto the leaves. So I thought about carefully washing each individual leaf. Is this crazy? Is it even enough to get the dirt off? I have a salad spinner, so I could just soak and spin the leaves in it... Is just cold water enough? What about possible bird poo and the neighborhood cats that may have visited? Oh, no, germ-o-phobia is rising! Please help!

7 comments:

Elephant's Eye said...

Just wash the leaves in a bowl of water. You'll be fine. Eat and enjoy! Too hot for lettuce here. Has to grow in those plastic bags!

Stefaneener said...

Bowl of cool water. Lettuce leaves. Drop of soap if you're so inclined. Each leaf gets rubbed gently on both sides. When you're all done, use fresh water and submerge all the leaves in a bowl. Swish them. Drain them. Spin them in a salad spinner.

Don't worry about any protein bits you miss -- it's the grit that makes a salad yucky.

Enjoy!! and congratulations.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I agree. Just soak the lettuce in a sink of cold water for a few minutes. Give the leaves a good swish or a light rub, especially at the base of the stem where they're likely to have more dirt. If you have slugs in the garden, throw a little salt in the water to be sure you don't end up with slugs in your salad! Soak, rinse, enjoy!

Terra said...

You are so sweet to post about this. I wash all lettuce leaves, well, just a quick rinse or two. Whether it is bought in the store and says "washed" or whether I grow it myself.
So just go ahead and soak or rinse in clean water, and all will be well!
Fresh picked lettuce from the garden is the BEST so enjoy!

Jackie said...

Thanks everyone for your input on lettuce washing. My first homegrown salad was delicious. I'm going to try to leave germ-o-phobia in the past :)

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

So glad to hear you did well with the lettuce! I have trouble growing it too. I'm actually less worried about the germs on the lettuce that I grow myself than that in the store. At least with my garden I pretty much know who touched it (apart from stray wildlife) whereas lettuce from the store has been touched many times by many different people with who knows what germs on their hands. YUCK! ...yup... germiphob here too! LOL

Jackie said...

Good point, EMC, about all the other people who touch the lettuce that comes in packages. I'm also thinking about all the machines, too. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only germ-o-phob gardener out there!