How To Wash Leafy Greens

11/04/2011 11:23 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to wash leafy greens, completely removing dirt and sediment, and then using a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef John Reilly from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic technique: how to clean leafy green vegetables.

One of the first things we want to work with is a submersion technique. Use a basin, a bowl or sink that's nice and clean and has plenty of water inside. We'll slowly submerge them and drop them inside our basin, and we'll stir and agitate and work our greens just a little bit, ever so gently. If there's any dirt trapped inside these leafy green vegetables, after we've agitated them, it should sink to the bottom of the bowl or basin. This technique can be used for spinach, leeks, collard greens -- any type of leafy green vegetable, even herbs like cilantro.

Now that our greens have had a few moments to rest inside the water, we're very gently going to skim them off the top without disturbing the dirt and sediment that's on the bottom. We drain them a little bit, and into the salad spinner they go. We can see, at the bottom of the bowl, all the sand and all the dirt.

Now we'll begin to spin our salad greens to get the excess moisture off. It just takes a couple of good pushes, nice and gentle. The moisture pulls off with centrifugal force. Our greens come out, and they're nice and dry; the majority of the moisture's left inside our bowl. From here we're ready to prepare them either as a salad or for cooking.

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