Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Quickly tearing Romaine lettuce for a salad

It used to take me a long time to make a salad. I usually buy Romaine lettuce (a 6-pack is $2.99 at Costco!), and would tear each leaf off as I washed it. Then I dried the leaves on a clean towel before tearing into small pieces for the salad. What a lot of effort!

I've streamlined my Romaine routine, which is a good thing since we've been eating lots of salads every week! Here's how it goes:

1. Tear off any bad leaves or parts of leaves.

2. Wash head under cold water, running water over the outside and in between the leaves (pry open at the top and get the water down in there!).

3. Stand the Romaine head upside down to drain (in the clean sink or on a clean towel).

4. Grab handfuls from the top of the head, tearing off large chunks.

5. Spin dry in a salad spinner. (Optional, but best for longer storage life.)

Tearing the lettuce (rather than cutting with a knife) is gentler on the lettuce and bruises it less, making it keep longer.

Tearing into large chunks (versus tearing into really small pieces) also helps it keep longer, as there is less torn edge exposed.

Spinning in a salad spinner gets the lettuce really dry and, kept in a closed container or bag in the fridge, we've found that the lettuce keeps for 5-7 days, easily. After 5 days, there may be just a little brown/red on the edges of the leaves. I wouldn't serve it to guests like that, but I would eat it myself, as it tastes just fine! :)

I wanted to do a video to show just how quick and easy it is to wash and tear Romaine lettuce for a salad. The only available videographer was Yehoshua (6) and he did a fine job! :)

This video is very realistic... I hadn't done anything to my hair yet today, and the angle Yehoshua uses is a good reminder of why I am filling up on salads and trying to stay away from the cookies and cheesecake! :P :)

The knock on the door at the end was a UPS guy! I guess I can't get more than 2 minutes uninterrupted, can I?! :)

Check out our favorite salad recipes! :)

Read more about my weight loss goals, including a few healthy snack ideas

8 Weight Loss Tips that helped me lose the first 15 pounds

Treating my eating habits like a budget: Only today's calories = available funds

I still have 15 pounds to go... I need to get back on track with going to bed hungry and skip out on the desserts (a huge weakness of mine!) for a while. Sigh. And walk! Outside! :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

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Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Menu planning tips (scroll down for post) (Shelley)
2. Removing onion smell from hands
3. Outdoor cooking tip (Alison)
4. Spreadable butter (Mrs. Mordecai)
5. Making peanut butter with juicer (Holly)
6. Lettuce that keeps for 2 weeks (Gwen)

Comments

Ha! That is what I do..... if people don't like the center of the leaf they can not eat it. lol I also like to just take a knife and chop the entire head (not the bottom) into bite size pieces, which usually works just fine too!

I loved the cute video your son made:) He was trying so hard!:):) good salad tips...similar to how I do it:) Here is the link to a post I did on storing lettuce:

http://cookingwithlittles.blogspot.com/2010/02/storing-lettuce-so-it-keeps-for-week.html

Of course mine does not have a cool video to go with it:)

momto9
http://cookingwithlittles.blogspot.com

Hey Tammy-
I was curious after you tear it, how do you store the lettuce?

I store the lettuce (and other salad ingredients layered on top) in containers in the fridge. For our lunch-time salads, I use small(er) containers, and Joshua takes one with him to work and I eat one at home. We just use plastic containers with tight-fitting lids! :)

I really liked the "head and then salad, head and then salad" part, haha! So cute.

Here's a vinaigrette dressing recipe to go with your salad! I love homemade dressings. It's so much cheaper (and healthier) than store-bought, and not too much work.

http://thelocalcook.com/2009/12/23/how-to-make-vinaigrette-dressing/

I just cut it up w/a knife. So much faster. Then I spin it in the salad spinner.

That's a great tip! I need to get myself a salad spinner one of these days. I think I'll add it to the wish list. (It keeps getting longer and longer each day!)

I usually chop the bottom off, then separate the leaves and stand them up in a strainer and then rinse them. Then leave the strainer on the counter (on top of a towel) and let it air dry. Takes forever to dry!

Gotta love the romaine lettuce from Costco! Great quality and great price!

Last week was my first attempt at making my own barbecue sauce since we were out of our favorite store bought brand. Turned out really tasty! I think we'll stick with this for a while....it's cheaper than store bought!

I shared the recipe here: http://my-vintage-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/05/homemade-barbecue-sauce.html

Tammy, thanks for you comments/questions about my Homemade Barbecue Sauce.
I replied in a comment on my blog post, but wanted to follow up here as well:

The sauce is DIFFERENT than our favorite store bought sauce. I wasn't trying to copy the store bought, my goal was really just to make some sauce for our dinner since we ran out of it and I didn't like the other brand that my husband bought! :)

The store bought is still my favorite as far as taste goes. But for the price, I like the homemade. I'll probably work on changing it up a bit more now that I have a basic idea of what I'm working with.

I really didn't pay attention to the time that I let it simmer....I was doing other things in the kitchen to get dinner ready. I just kept running back to stir it and check on it. Maybe about 10-15 minutes. But it really just depends on how thick or thin you like it.

I'm impressed with how well your son did! Good video!

I do almost the same thing, although I don't tear it anymore. I used to, but when I got my salad spinner it came with one of those lettuce knifes, it's plastic and keep the lettuce from turning brown when it's stored. It works pretty well, though we ususally eat the salad within 4-5 days.
I'm sharing a post for the first time, on how to make menu planning simple with seasonal meals (on a monthly plan.) http://www.authentichomemade.com/2010/05/menu-planning-made-simple-seasonal.html

Thanks for hosting!
Shelley @ Authentic Homemade

is such a smart lil cookie! I like that he explained to you what he was doing to get both your hands and face in the video. Very cool.

I love the salad spinner!!! That is one of the greatest inventions ever. Ha!

My tip today is about how to get the onion smell off your hands after cutting up an onion. http://www.idreamofclean.net/2010/05/25/how-to-remove-onion-smell-from-hands/

Now I'm in the mood for some salad! I'll have to check out your weightloss tips!

Here's another tip:

http://under-the-big-oak-tree.blogspot.com/2010/05/hubby-makes-dinner-outdoor-cooking.html

Thanks!

I would just like to add to the discussion that I store all my lettuce right in the salad spinner in the fridge. It keeps for a very long time this way, with just the right humidity, and is always accessible. It's worth the effort to make room for it.

Cute video, Tammy! "Head, lettuce, head, lettuce" haha! I also was very excited to find a large plastic knife with a heavily serrated edge in the produce section a few weeks ago. It was about $3 and it's perfect, since I too need it to stay in the fridge fresh for more than a day or two, which wasn't happening with a regular metal knife. Your system is obviously working for you, but I thought the knife was interesting too...it's *especially* perfect for cutting iceberg lettuce for just the perfect size for taco fixings! ~ Mia

I'm impressed! Yehoshua did a GREAT job on the video!

Loved seeing this video, and I love your website! I just recently made your vanilla pudding recipe (again) for banana pudding. I can't think of one recipe I've tried on your site that wasn't fabulous.

Thanks for your commitment and your hard work on the site. :)

I love to cook fish but don't like the smell it leaves behind. Check out how I get rid of the smell...FAST!

http://muchmorescents.blogspot.com/2010/05/coconut-lemongrass-scentsy-gets-rid-of.html

It's good to know washed lettuce will last so long in the fridge. I'm using that tip for sure!

I have a tip this week on how to make butter spreadable out of the fridge (to replace tub margarine).

http://be-it-ever-so-humble.blogspot.com/2010/05/whipped-spreadable-butter.html

Great job on the video, Jehoshua!

This week I'm sharing one of my favorite recipe sites. After Tammy's Recipes, of course!

http://lindaslunacy.blogspot.com/2010/05/hillbilly-housewife.html

Linda
http://www.lindaslunacy.blogspot.com

I know what you mean about baby weight Tammy...me too!

I am sharing a how-to for making peanut butter.

http://mommysblessings.blogspot.com/2010/05/making-of-peanut-butter-with-our-juicer.html

my salad spinner also came with a lettuce knife and it makes it so fast and cuts the lettuce just right with out hurting it. we also store our lettuce in the salad spinner and it works out great everytime I need lettuce for a sandwich I don't have to pull it out and wash it saves time.

He did such a good job on the video.Your way is so much quicker than I have been doing it.Thanks for the tips again.You always have such great tips!

Well done, Yehoshua!! I often have romaine hearts, but I'll be honest I use a knife. :) If I was storing the lettuce for a sald, i would tear it up too.

What dressings do you like best??

~Tanya - mama to 6 treasures. :)

I like lots of different dressings... today I put fresh tomato and shredded mozzarella cheese on my salad and used Italian dressing -- a very good combo! :D I don't like most store-bought ranch, but that's about as picky as I get! :) I do like thinner dressings so they coat the salad without huge blobs of dressing. Joshua's favorite is Ranch, but he likes others too! :)

Do you ever make your own dressing? Just curious here... I use to always just use lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt, but lately I have been buying Italian, ranch and french. ~Tanya - mama to 6 treasures. :)

Yes, we do make our own dressings sometimes! We've been getting into it more lately, since we're eating so many salads.

Homemade dressings don't keep in the fridge as long as the store-bought ones, so in the past, when we rarely had salad, I didn't bother making my own dressing very often. But I love homemade and it's cheaper and healthier, too! :)

Y'all don't make fun of me for this crazy tip...my trick will make your lettuce last for two weeks! http://www.gwens-nest.com/family-favorite-recipes/kitchen-tip-keeping-lettuce-for-two-weeks

http://www.gwens-nest.com
Swing by my slightly cuckoo nest for family favorite recipes, herbal remedies, funny kid stories and more fun stuff!

Thanks for letting us see that!

That was so fun! I loved that your son did that...what a cute little guy!

I read these comments to Yehoshua! Thank you all for your kind words! He really enjoyed the praise and wants to take more videos now. ;)

Hi Tammy...I've been reading your blog for a few years so I know you are a frugal shopper and homemaker. Do you find you get a good price on the items at Costco? We shop there, too and have noticed our grocery bill rising and I'm trying to figure out if it is because of the items that we buy there or elsewhere (usually Walmart). We aren't able to get everything we need at Costco and find some of their things to be more expensive than Walmart.

Thanks for your opinion!

I ended up writing an entire post in answer to your question! Is Costco frugal? :) Thanks for asking! :)

I have seen our food budget do the same and wondered if Costco is the culprit......

Hey! I have a tip for reviving wilted lettuce. When the romaine hearts start to get all wilty at the top, we rip it up as you have shown and put it in a big bowl with very cold water covering it and let it sit for about ten minutes. Drain well and serve. It revives it to crispy new (as long as it isn't too far gone!!). I've been able to serve it to guests even, and I'm picky about that.

Thanks for the tip!

I really enjoyed your video. You have the sweetest personality. It's also hard for me to believe that we are about the same size. You look so slim to me! I hope that you share more kitchen tip videos as this is a lot of fun.

Susan (www.sandlappersue.blogspot.com)

Aww, thank you Susan! :) I do hope to do more little videos in the future, since I now have a child old enough to hold the camera for me! :)

His voice was so cute in the video! Thank-you for sharing it with us.

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