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The Secret to Clean Greens

The Secret to Clean Greens

I can eat spinach at every meal, except breakfast. Actually, I have added it to smoothies and juiced it for an energizing morning beverage. Most workdays, I make a huge salad with spinach and mixed greens, covered with every other veggie in my crisper. I add the healthy leaves to my dinner many nights to give the dish a boost of vitamins A, C, and K as well as iron, lutein, and calcium. I’ve tossed handfuls into everything from soups and stir-fries to pizza, eggs, and pasta.

My love for this leafy green would make Popeye proud, but there’s one thing that will make me throw a spinach-filled plate in the trash (uh, compost): dirt. Nothing stops my enjoyment of a meal more than grinding into some grit. So now that local farm-fresh bunches are in season, I thought I’d share this easy way to not get any extra vitamins and minerals from the soil with my salad.

  • Clean your sink well, then fill it with cold water.
  • Swish spinach around vigorously to shake off dirt or sand.
  • Remove bunches from water before draining sink, and place in salad spinner.
  • Spin, not to dry but to shake off any remaining dirt.
  • Remove spinach and place on paper towels. Pat dry before serving. If storing, don’t dry; just wrap bunch in damp paper towels, place in plastic or cloth bag, and refrigerate your dirt-free leaves, which will last longer stored this way.

Do you have any tips for cleaning leafy greens? Please share below.


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Lauren Piscopo

Lauren Piscopo has been a food writer and editor for 20 years, first editing recipes at Cosmopolitan magazine, where each dish was either an aphrodisiac or part of a diet. She then started writing about a healthier approach to eating for magazines and radio, eventually becoming editor-in-chief of Natural Solutions, a magazine dedicated to the healing benefits of whole foods and green living. She now writes the Conscious Kitchen column for Yoga International magazine, contributes to Natural Health magazine, and blogs at Door to Door Organics’ The Good Food Blog.

also by Lauren Piscopo


+ add your own
4:16AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013


4:03PM PDT on Sep 14, 2013


2:13PM PDT on Sep 14, 2013

Thank you for tips.

1:28AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

I agree, fresh organic spinach is grown in sandy soil(for good drainage, which it needs) and if not properly washed, one will get a mouth of grit. I also like the suggestions of others who wash in a bowl and recycle the water.

I practice water conservation in all my habits-never let the sink run while brushing my teethe, When I wash the dishes, I put all the soapy dishes,washed dishes on the other side of the sink. Then rinse all of them at once instead of rinsing each piece separately. My showers are rarely more than 10 minutes. I put a brick in the tank of my toilet(fills the same with less water).

1:20PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

I find it easier to wash the greens in a dish pan. The water can then be take outside to water a thirsty garden plant. There's a major drought happening and using cleaning water for thirsty flowers and shrubs is important. We also use steaming water, after it cools, for house plants.
Recycling isn't just for paper and plastic, water is a precious resource.

10:52AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Thanks for sharing your tips!

3:22PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

thank you!

2:55PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Only ORGANIC spinach though! i love spinach almost as much as arugula...
Would love to be able to grow my own!

2:49PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

thanks for the tips.

2:26PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012


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