Ask Amelia Tips

Prepping Produce for the Week

washing lettuce

People often tell me that most of the fresh produce they buy ends up rotting in the fridge before they have a chance to eat it.  This used to happen to me too, until I started prepping my produce ahead of time.  It sounds like a hassle, but it’s actually a time-saver, and eventually a money-saver too.  If you devote one hour on a weekend day to prepping all your produce for the week, I think you’ll find that you eat more of it, both in meals and snacks.  Here’s what I generally do to get ready for the week.

First, I prep my lettuce.  Its cheaper to buy heads of organic lettuce than small bags of pre-washed greens (though I do that sometimes too), and with the help of a salad spinner it’s pretty quick to chop, wash & dry it yourself.  I wrap the lettuce in paper towels and put it in two separate plastic bags — one bag of chopped lettuce for salads:

and one bag of whole leaves for sandwiches, lettuce wraps, etc (you can always chop it quick later if you need to):

Then I prep a couple of veggies for snacking.  Usually carrots

and one other veggie, like snap peas, radishes, or cherry tomatoes (bonus – don’t have to do anything to those besides put them in a bowl and store at room temperature).  Then I do two in-season fruits.  This week it was strawberries,

which I washed, sliced, and placed in a paper-towel lined bowl (the paper towel absorbs any excess water from washing so the berries don’t get mushy).  I also washed some cherries:

and then placed everything in the fridge.  Now it’s easy to throw together salads, and when I’m hungry for a snack, I’m more likely to munch of these veggies and fruits than the less-healthy stuff that’s in my pantry.  Yum!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Erica
    June 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Amelia,
    Just wondering, I buy bags of baby spinach weekly for my Green Monster Smoothies. Love them, but always wash the spinach even though the bag says triple washed.

    Can you do the same with spinach as you mentioned above with lettuce?

    Thanks!

    Erica

    • Reply
      Amelia
      June 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Erica, I think it might be best to wash spinach right before using it, since the leaves are more tender and might wilt more quickly. Same goes for arugula and other baby greens. Bigger lettuces are more sturdy which is why you can get away with washing them then wrapping the dry chopped leaves in paper towels and leaving in the fridge.

  • Reply
    5 Tips for Shopping at the Farmer’s Market | Moms LA
    August 16, 2011 at 6:02 am

    […] do it right when you get home, plan a time within a day or so when you can wash and chop lettuce (here’s how I do it), wash and cut veggies for snacking, and wash some fruit (most fruits are better prepped right […]

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