The First Thing You Should Do With Bagged Salad To Keep It Fresh

Whether you purchase your favorite bagged salad kit from the grocery store or a bag of greens from the farmers market, you can't just place the whole package in the crisper and expect the produce to stay fresh. As soon as you get home, you must open your bag of pre-mixed salad, lay out all of the greens on dry paper towels, and remove any wilted, browned, or slimy produce before storing the rest in the refrigerator. This is a necessary step in making sure your bagged salad remains good enough to eat longer.

As important as it is to check the "best by" date when buying food, some leaves in bagged salads are more delicate than others. Spinach and tender baby greens, for example, "bruise" easily, meaning they get crushed when placed under weight. They also develop wet creases when folded, thus releasing moisture that affect the quality of the other vegetables. They also go bad fast when exposed to condensation, which forms due to the inevitable temperature changes a bagged salad goes through as you transport it from the produce aisle to your car to your kitchen. Since you cannot open the packaging for inspection at the grocery, you might miss already-bruised produce, which can result in spoilage spreading faster throughout the whole bag. Take everything out once you're home to save yourself from the unpleasant surprise of seeing wilted, slimy leaves ruining the rest of the salad just days after purchasing it.

Look closely for signs of wilting and spoilage

Opening and inspecting your bagged salad also helps you store the greens better. Keeping the produce in the packaging they're sold in makes them more vulnerable to rotting, thanks to the unavoidable build-up of excess moisture from fresh leaves. Greens placed at the bottom of the bag are especially prone to turning soggy since they catch the water as it pools. 

As you inspect your bagged salad for wilted leaves, use all of your senses to discern possible signs of spoilage. Wilted leaves have a different color, texture, and smell from fresh ones. If some of the greens look less than ideal but aren't discolored, don't smell rotten, or feel slimy yet, you can submerge them in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes first then spin them dry to try to revive them. That way, you avoid throwing out wilted-looking vegetables that are still safe to eat. Transfer your salad mix into a dry container after you've picked out all of the wilted leaves. Remove excess water from the leaves with a salad spinner then store them in an air-tight plastic container lined with paper towels. Place it in the crisper, checking that your refrigerator is set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Remember to eat the salad within a week.