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Thread: Do you wash the whole head of lettuce and allergic reaction to bagged stuff

  1. #1
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    Question Do you wash the whole head of lettuce and allergic reaction to bagged stuff

    Happy Wednesday!

    I normally purchase bagged spinach for salads and occasionally bagged lettuce. I also buy the bagged veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Lately I've had an allergic reaction to some of the bagged stuff (but never the spinach). My lips get swollen and then chapped for several days.

    Since the bagged stuff is supposed to be prewashed and therefore more expensive, it doesn't make sense to me to buy that and wash it. So finally, back to my original question.... .....

    Do you take the outer leaves off lettuce and then use it? Do you wash the whole dang thing?

    And has anyone else had this allergic reaction to bagged stuff that I've been having?

    TIA
    "It is no small thing that someone so fresh from God loves us."

    Charles Dickens

  2. #2
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    That's a total bummer about the reaction! I've never heard of that before.

    Here's what I do when I have a whole head of lettuce. I take off only the amount of leaves that I want for the day, tear into bite size pieces, and then wash/dry in my salad spinner. I put the rest of the lettuce back into a produce bag with a paper towel. My lettuce usually lasts about a week this way. I never wash more than I think we'll use for a meal because I haven't found it to keep very well.
    Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with wild abandon or not at all. --Harriet Van Horne

  3. #3
    I take the outer leaves off, then break the whole head up, put it in my salad spinner and wash. I've never had a reaction to the bagged stuff though. And I don't wash the bagged stuff, although I know a lot of people do.

    If you're going to stop buying the bagged stuff and start buying whole heads that you need to wash, I HIGHLY recommend getting a salad spinner. It will make your life much easier.

  4. #4
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    I don't buy the bagged stuff all that often, but I still wash it in my spinner. I think it freshens it us a bit too.

    I also remember seeing a news story many years ago about a girl who got salmonella from bagged lettuce, and almost died. Sure it was washed, but it was washed in the area where they picked the lettuce and the water was contaminated. Better to be safe, IMO.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies! I do have a salad spinner that I've been using to wash fruit and herbs so it looks like I'm set.
    "It is no small thing that someone so fresh from God loves us."

    Charles Dickens

  6. #6
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    Here's what I do. I have a salad spinner, but prefe to not have to wait for the lettuce to chill for salads.

    I take an entire head, say green leaf, take off the leaves and let them rinse in a sink full of cold water. Then I put them in a lingerie washing bag (you know, the net bags that you can use to wash delicates in the washing machine) and spin the greens dry in the dryer on the spin cycle. It gets them REALLY dry. I put all the washed and spun greens in a ziploc baggie with couple of paper towels (these wick extra moisture away but also give it back if necessary), press as much air as I can out of the bag , seal it and stick it in the fridge. The greens stay good for a week.

    For those of you who want to try this but don't have a lingerie bag, I've heard you can put the greens in a pillow case and tie the end shut.

    Works for me and I ALWAYS have crisp, cool greens ready for salad.

    Bonnie

  7. #7
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    I do pretty much what others posted...use as I go along and store the rest in a bag with a paper towel.

    I only buy bagged if I'm traveling.

    I've read that they spray lettuce at salad bars with something like a nitrite spray or something to prevent browning of the lettuce leaves, and maybe that is the same thing they are using in the bagged lettuces and you're sensitive to it.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  8. #8
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    bbenedict, do you mean the spin cycle of the washing machine? My dryer doesn't have a spin cycle.

    When I have time, I wash the whole head of lettuce (usually Romaine), dry it with my salad spinner, finish drying with clean dish towels, then store in Tupperware. When I don't have time (which is most of the time), I break off the leaves I want, wash under running water, shake off the excess water, and dry with clean dishtowel or paper towel.

    I almost never buy the bagged salads because 1) I'm cheap and 2) I feel funny not washing the greens anyway. Although I've never had a problem with bagged spinach . . .

  9. #9
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    Ding! Dong! I can't BELIEVE I said dryer. I MEANT to say use the spin cycle of the washer. Glad somebody was thinking clearly!

    Bonnie

  10. #10
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    Some of the bagged salads are treated with a spray to prevent browning/spoilage. My mom is highly allergic to preservatives, and can't have bagged salad, unless it is organic. You can smell an off smell when you open the bagged salad that has been treated.

    Earthbound farms had bagged salads that are organic, so those may not give you a reaction. My mom's lips and mouth swell up and get all red and burning sensation.

    Lisa

  11. #11
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    I get the lip swelling burning sensation too. I can't predict when it'll happen, though. I haven't found the cause yet.
    --Mary Kate--

    "In all our woods there is not a tree so hard to kill as the buckeye. The deepest girdling does not deaden it, and even after it is cut down and worked up into the side of a cabin it will send out young branches, denoting to all the world that Buckeyes are not easily conquered, and could with difficulty be destroyed." - Daniel Drake, 1833

  12. #12
    I had visions of lettuce tumble drying in the dryer. I'm so happy someone cleared that up. LOL! (literally)

    Daniele
    newcook

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by newcook
    I had visions of lettuce tumble drying in the dryer. I'm so happy someone cleared that up. LOL! (literally)

    Daniele
    me too.

  14. #14
    Originally posted by Lrimerman
    You can smell an off smell when you open the bagged salad that has been treated.



    Lisa
    I'm glad you said that because I was starting to think it was just me. When the bagged salads first came out I thought it was the greatest idea going but quit buying them because of that wierd smell and taste. I thought perhaps it was just the raddicio (sp?, and that might be part of it, but IMHO whatever they put on that stuff is gross.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  15. #15
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    I seldom buy bagged salads except when camping/traveling. exception is costco bagged spinach. I don't believe it is treated with anything other than being washed.

    I'm thinking they may treat greens with sulfites to keep them from browning... I know that causes allergic rxns in some. I also read about triple washing, spin drying and putting ( I think) carbon dioxide in the bags to prevent browning. Sound familiar to anyone? I haven't verified just a vague memory.

  16. #16
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    Allergic reactions

    A friend referred me to this thread. I can't believe it! Saw an allergist and started doing an elimation diet to figure out what my swollen lips and eyelids and hives were from. It was so bad, I was in the emergency room 1 night. I haven't had a reaction in about 5 weeks, and never did figure out what caused the reactions. Having read this thread, I realize now that I was using a LOT of bagged lettuce for about 4 months, and quit buying it a little over a month ago. I still use the bagged spinach, so whatever it is, it's not added to the spinach, or at least not in the same quantities.
    Thank you all so much- now I think I know what was causing my problems.

    Mel

  17. #17
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    Wow. I had no idea that the allergic reactions I experienced recently were from bagged salad greens! My reactions weren't anything major, basically the insides of my lips were bright red (looked bloody, but they were just raw feeling if you know what I mean) and slightly swollen on the exterior. The fist time it happened (a while ago) I threw away my aveda lip balm thinking that must be the culprit(even though I'd been using that product for a couple of years without problem...I guess the lip balm made my lips burn more so I tossed it!). Then when it happened again more recently, I thought that I might be allergic to lemon b/c I'd made a Greek salad with lemon vinagrette dressing. It must have been the bagged greens. After all, I've eaten lemon all my life without problems. The good news is that I now use a much less expensive lip balm!

    I guess I'll stay away from the bagged salad greens. Thanks for the info!

    Oh, and to answer the original question, I remove and throw away the outer leaves and wash the whole head/bundle of lettuce at once.

    -Laura

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