We are just not a big salad eating family. Or rather, I should say, we are not a big leaf eating family. I like lettuce and spinach and arugula on occasion, but I just don’t eat enough of it to eat a whole lettuce or the huge box of organic spinach (shown in the picture) on my own and I have little help from my husband, who will eat a small side salad at best and my son, whose perfect salad includes everything BUT the leaves (think tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, red and white cabbage, apple, hummous…) Now I am not complaining that my eight year old wants to eat such things, no, not at all, but I do occasionally just fancy a bit of leafy green. Only then I am left with what to do with the rest before it goes bad.
You can always try and cook with it of course. Whip up some spinach with cream and garam masala for an Indian style side or spread basil or arugula on top of a pizza. Both yummy, but if you want to actually save it for later, your options are limited.
Herbs, like basil and coriander, you can finely chop and freeze in small snack bag sized ziplocs or indeed in ice trays, so you end up with a “cube” of the herb that you can pop out and use in a recipe later.
Lettuce you cannot freeze successfully. However you can regrow another one from its base! Strange but true. I read this somewhere online and tried it and it actually works. Just place the base in a pot with some water in it; not covering it. And wait. This is mine after about 5 days.
Spinach, kale, chard, collard greens and any other similar leafy vegetable you CAN freeze. Make sure they are washed and dried and cut however you would want to use them later – roughly chopped, shredded…etc. – then cram them into a freezer Ziploc. You can see from the photo that you can cram a lot into a quart sized Ziploc and therefore it takes up a lot less space in your freezer than you may think when you look at the box.
This way when you have a recipe that requires spinach or kale, etc. you can just whip one of these bags out of the freezer and drop it straight into the pot. I use them all the time for vegetable curries, winter soups, even lasagnas and pasta sauces. There are some delicious recipes using spinach in the Healing Foods Book (Link for UK folks)- mung bean and spinach soup, poached egg and spinach, sea bass with spinach and mango, spinach and ricotta filo rolls, stir fried spring vegetables – all of which could be done using a frozen bag of greens, so you can make them anytime of the year.
There’s also a recipe for Stay Supple Juice, a vegetable juice utilising spinach, cucumber and celery that addresses the cause of joint problems. Using spinach in juices is a great way to increase you iron intake naturally.
Of course it goes without saying to always try to eat organic produce and it really isn’t that hard to come by nowadays. Not like it was 10 years ago.