Jul 30, 2013

DIY Salad Bag

It's hot here in FL, so we've been eating a LOT of salad! I've given up on making side dishes and just throw a salad on the plate with the protein. It's good for you, right? and I spend less time slaving over the hot stove - and THAT is good for all in this house when it's hot out!
...and when I say ALL I mean Don, of course, because it is just the 2 of us :)

I was spending big dollars on those chintzy bags of salad, and decided enough was enough! I started making my own bagged salad and it is working out perfectly! I'm saving money and I don't have to worry about contamination such as Cyclospora that recently made nearly 400 people very sick. It was traced back to prepackaged salads. You can read the story here

I got some nice Romaine Lettuce (you can mix your greens, but I tend to be lazy and stick with my fave - good ole romaine), a plastic knife, a cutting board, a colander, a large resealable bag, and a paper towel and went to work. If you have a salad spinner - even better! I need to get one and have been trying to decide between these two:


I am taking recommendations though, so please let me know if you have one you really like :)

Back to making my salad bag (without a salad spinner)...I got my Romaine and my plastic knife and went to work

First I cut off the end... the white hard parts are not good - blech
be sure to use a plastic knife - it helps keep the lettuce from turning brown. You can pick up a plastic knife for under $5! Check this one out

Next I cut the whole thing in half lengthwise because I like smaller pieces of lettuce in my salad - this is a personal preference, so skip this step if you prefer longer lettuce :)

I separated it just so you could see what I mean. I hold the two pieces together and slice thin strips until the whole thing is cut up - like so...

Then it all goes into the colander to get washed - Sprinkle some white vinegar on the lettuce and toss then rinse with water. The vinegar cleans the lettuce and also keeps it fresh longer

My sink is dark so it's not a great spot to take a picture, but I think you get the idea

I let it drip dry a while if I have time and then I make my own salad spinner (sort of) - it's pretty sad really, but I will share it with you because it works (sort of)
I get a large plastic bowl and fit it on top of the colander and shake...over the sink! Be sure you hold it over the sink or you will splash water all over the kitchen and that's no fun! It's not important how I know that....

I know it's so ridiculous looking, go ahead and laugh - I do!

Once your salad is as dry as it's going to get, then you can start bagging it up. Get a large resealable bag and place a paper towel on the inside. I fold it in half like you see in the picture....

Now bag up the lettuce...

As you are sealing it up, try to squeeze out as much air as you can...

That's it! It's super easy and doesn't take long to do at all!

Store in the fridge and this should last you at least a week. We eat up this amount of salad in just a couple of days, so I haven't needed to replace the toweling, but if your salad sticks around more than a couple days you might want to swap out the towel once or twice with a fresh, dry one.

Enjoy with some homemade salad dressing such as


  1. Love this! I tend to think those bagged lettuces have a sort of off flavor, but I still buy them for the convenience. I really need to try your method instead!! I also store my fresh herbs in a bag with paper towel too in the fridge, they last longer that way.

    1. I SO agree about the funny flavor Renee. I've wondered if that is some sort of preservative, but the one I was buying didn't list anything unnatural, so maybe it is just what they wash it with?? I don't really know, but I'm so glad to be saving the money!! and thank you for mentioning the herbs! This works on them too - I should have mentioned that in the blog post! oops haha

  2. Timely blog considering the outbreak of Cyclospora - a parasite that has been linked to bagged salads. Those bagged salads are just not safe, I can't believe how many are recalled each year. I do wash my lettuce in cold water with a splash of white vinegar. It makes a huge difference in how long the lettuce lasts. As for a salad spinner, I LOVE my Zyliss salad spinner with the stainless steel bowl.

    1. YES! There always seems to be some kind of recall on those which always made me nervous! I never trusted that they were 'pre-washed'! Thank you for the tip on the vinegar, Penny! I am going to do that. I imagine I can dump it all in a bowl of water with a splash of vinegar and just swoosh it around a bit and then rinse in the colander?? Do you think that would work?
      I am so getting a spinner and will check out that one - thanks for the recommendation. I definitely think I need one with a steel bowl. I'm just not all that graceful and will probably break a plastic one pronto!

  3. Great post Marion. I have an OXO plastic salad spinner but mine looks a bit different than the one you have pictured above. It's probably ancient :) Love the idea of making our our blends with good quality greens. Great time saver!


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