Why You Should Soak Crunchy Veggies For Salad

For many people, convincing themselves to sit down and enjoy a plate full of veggies is already hard enough, but there is nothing worse than expecting a refreshing salad only to take your first bite and realize the lettuce is wilted, the veggies are wrinkly, and you can't bring yourself to finish the bowl. Don't worry, you're not alone; many people do not know how to properly prepare vegetables so they are both healthy and delicious. Luckily, however, there is a way to prevent your salad from going uneaten.

Salads are meant to be full of fresh, revitalizing, and ultimately yummy servings of veggies that make your body and taste buds happy, and the best way to help them achieve that is by following the tried-and-true soaking method (via Eating Well). Grab your veggies and a bowl, set your tap water to cold, and let's find out why the soaking method works and what it works best on.

Cleaning those veggies

Look, we get that taking the time to clean your veggies can be tedious, but it really is the first and most important step to making your vegetables taste delicious. An integral aspect of the soaking method is cleaning those herbs, veggies, and yes, even your lettuce! According to the Food Network Kitchen, soaking herbs and vegetables is the best method for prepping your ingredients and creating a salad that's not only crisper, but cleaner.

Soaking allows you to rinse your produce without bruising the delicate leaves of greens, chef Cara Chigazola-Tobin explains to The Kitchn, and is a gentle way to clean crunchy root vegetables as well. Just because we buy our produce from grocery stores or farmers' markets does not mean that they've been washed properly since they left the farm. Often, the veggies used in salads like Swiss chard and kale still have dirt or sand stuck between their leaves or on their skin which must be removed before you can enjoy them — and who hasn't found a little grit in the crevices of a carrot? The soaking method (combined with a little shake) releases dirt trapped on the veggies and allows it all to be gently scrubbed away (via Food Network). Using cleaner vegetables is the first step to a more delicious and refreshing salad.

Soaking it up

Soaking your veggies right is easy and can be done overnight or even an hour before you prepare your salad. Taste of Home reveals how soaking your greens in cold or ice water helps to rejuvenate dehydrated plants by preventing further oxidation.

Oxidation, as described by Kemin Industries, can damage food quality and result in an unsavory product on every front, from taste to texture to smell. Kimberly Holland, author of "The Collagen Handbooks: Recipes for Natural Living," says that soaking with ice water stops further breakdown in leafy greens as well as root veggies like carrots, celery, and radishes, keeping them firm instead. These perishables' cells absorb water, which helps them retain their shape and rigidity and makes the vegetables even crunchier (via Eating Well).

Eating salads is a great way to get the American Heart Association's recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day, and it is important that consumers know how to safely clean their produce as well as enhance their dining experience — anything that makes that nutritionally necessary serving more appetizing. So, start soaking those crunchy veggies while prepping your salad; you'll taste the difference.