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Helpful Hints for Great Salads

beet and orange salad

When Spring has finally sprung, and the farmers’ markets are bursting with the season’s new bounty, there is no better time to refresh our salad making skills.  It’s time to get creative and gear up for the fresh flavors that we would love to grace our tables!   Salad-making may involve little to no actual cooking, but there is quite a bit involved to making a good salad great. Read on for hints and tips toward creating memorable salads your family and guests will love!

Helpful Hints for Great Salads!

  • Keep your greens crisp and dry!  After thoroughly soaking, washing and checking your greens, use a salad spinner or toweling to dry them.
  • Once properly dried, greens can be wrapped in paper toweling and stored in a plastic storage bag for up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • Get to know your greens!  Explore new varieties and get creative - feel free to mix and match contrasting textures, flavors and colors.  (green leaf, red leaf, spinach, arugula, endive, radicchio…the list goes on!)
  • For an extra dash of flavor, throw some fresh chopped herbs into the greens mix.
  • Greens go limp and the edges darken if cut with a knife; instead of cutting, tear them into bite-size pieces with your fingers.  Alternatively, use a serrated plastic salad knife.
  • Pour dressing over greens just before serving, using only enough to lightly coast the leaves; then toss.  If dressed too early, the greens will become limp and soggy.
  • Salad components can often be prepared in advance, but do wait to assemble and dress until immediately prior to serving time (unless marinating time is required).  Always store prepared components separately to prevent spoilage and mushy textures from developing.
  • FRESH is BEST! The freshest ingredients make the BEST salads.  Use freshly squeezed juices in your dressings, seasonal and ripe vegetables/fruits in your salads (i.e. strawberries are luscious in a spring/summer salads; apples, pears, and winter squash are perfect for a warming fall/winter salads).
  • Contrast is beautiful!  What distinguishes a good salad from a great salad is the beauty of contrasting colors, flavors (ex. bitter greens vs. sweet fruits, sweet fruits vs. salty cheeses, etc.), and textures (ex. crunchy nuts vs. soft roasted beets).   Mix it up and get creative!

Check out these fun recipes to kick off your spring entertaining season – healthful and delicious!

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

Baby Spinach Salad with Balsamic Strawberries and Avocado