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The delicate and tiny nature of washing microgreen leaves can cause a soggy mess and create a dilemma in making a decision whether or not to wash them before use. Any fresh food produce that ages in the refrigerator is subject to additional bacteria that occurs during the natural aging process. Therefore modern food hygiene guidelines warn consumers to wash fresh produce before consumption even if the manufacturer makes claims the produce has been pre-washed. In this blog I will share some of the ideas I have received from market customers and my own experimentation to show how microgreens can be washed before serving by following a few simple tips.
Monitor the amount of water that touches microgreens
The first tip I would offer is to avoid using a heavy faucet spray when washing microgreens. Adjust the force of the kitchen sprayer to resemble a soft mist if this is possible. If not, you might consider having a spray bottle of fresh water handy for washing the leaves of more delicate greens.
The second tip would be to never soak microgreens in water for any period of time. A quick mist with a faucet spray is enough and then dry immediately. Use microgreens immediately after washing. If you refrigerate wet microgreens, you will get a soggy mess in a matter of hours. So use up or discard any washed microgreens.
The salad spinner test
A salad spinner is a must-have kitchen item for washing salad greens. I did a test using my spicy blend of microgreens with broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and radish. The broccoli leaf was the most delicate in the mix, which is about as tiny as a microgreen leaf gets. I tested about one cup of the microgreen blend by first giving the greens a quick mist with the kitchen sprayer in the salad spinner basket. I shook of any excess dripping water and then gave them a 30 second spin. In this test, the microgreens were the only item in the spinner.
I actually was surprised when the microgreens were bunched up along the edge of the basket and were dry enough to serve. I can't give a good salad spinner enough praise. You could also add other greens along with the microgreens and spin the entire salad all at once, however the microgreens will be mixed in with the other salad ingredients due to the spinning force.
Depending on how you are using microgreens, you could also place the spinned microgreens on a dry paper towel and finish off air drying for a few minutes. Some of my market customers haven even tried placing them in front of a small personal fan on a low setting for additional drying.
If you want to add extra protection for the microgreens and provide for more absorption, line the salad spinner with a paper towel and loosely fold over top of microgreens, then spin as usual. This keeps the stems from bunching up at the sides or following through spinner draining slits.
Mist tiny leaves and delicate microgreens to wash
If the leaves of the microgreens are to tiny and will slip past the slits in a salad spinner, you could fill a spray mist bottle with fresh water and gently mist the microgreens. Strain out any excess water and then lay misted microgreens on one half of a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Fold over the other half and gently pat the microgreens dry.
The same methods of washing can be followed for larger leaf microgreens such as sunflower and pea shoots along with petite and baby leaf greens.
Hope these washing ideas help you enjoy using fresh microgreens as part of your daily nutrition routine.
Hello gardeners and foodie fans. We are James LeValley and Cathy LeValley, owners of New Earth Micro Farm llc and our Good Carb Foods brand.