Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to keep Greens Crisp

Every week in Palisades I buy "baby" & "wild" arugula, as well as two perfect heads of baby frisee. The French call arugula "rocket" by the way, and I've never figured out why. But if you see it on the menu, rocket = arugula.
The tender little greens look a little tired after they've been sitting on my table for a few hours, as my demos, without any humidity. And then they get to sit in the van for the drive back to Laguna. Once at home, I get the whole bag and fatigue greens wet under the faucet and then put the bag in the refrigerator. In a few hours, they've crisped back up. And they stay crisp for over a week as-is; no need to remoisten the bag. This photo is of 7 day old arugula in my fridge.
It's really a niche market, mine: a lot of women come to the booth and volunteer their methods of keeping produce fresh; they inquire as to whether the net bags are better than the elaborate ways they have come up with to keep produce fresh and greens humid; usually there are long explanations of wet and dry paper towels, Debbie Meyer Green Bags, plastic bags and such. The net bags can hold the little bit of humidity that greens need, and they also let produce breathe. The problem is that produce gives off ethylene gas, which is also called the "ripening hormone" for plants. Trap produce and ethylene gas in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel, and you have a recipie for decomposition, in my chemistry book. There are products on the market which oxydize the ethlene gas, but I like the old fashioned way - a breathable net bag and a little humidity.
The blue colored net bags have become my current favorites because anything green (avocados, arugula, frisee) looks fabulous in them. Today I colored a new batch of net bags, with a client in Massachusetts in mind; I did bags to match her blue and green logo; she will be at the farmers market there every week and I'm looking forward to hearing her shoppers' reactions.

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