How to Buy Salad Greens

One Methods:Buying Packaged Salad Greens

Salad greens are fresh vegetables that are usually served raw. They make a good base for other salad ingredients, such as chopped vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats, nuts and beans. Most local grocery stores and farmers markets carry salad greens that were once considered exotic and hard to find. Buy salad greens that are in season and look, feel and smell healthy and fresh.


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    Decide which greens you want for your salad. There are many types of lettuce and greens to choose from. Use a variety of flavors and textures including iceberg and romaine lettuce as well as other greens such as chicory, arugula, escarole, radicchio, beet greens, watercress, and loose-leaf lettuces. Some stores and markets will sell their own mix of greens, which might be called mesclun mix or spring mix.
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    Check for bright colors. Make sure the leafy greens are a rich, bright green. Other lettuces such as iceberg will have a lighter green color. Different varieties might also contain red colors, and a white or yellow stem. Make sure there is no browning or yellowing of the leaves.
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    Make sure greens are crisp. Most stores and markets provide spoons or tongs to pick up the loose lettuces. Use these to bag your greens. They should retain their shape and texture and not be wilted or too soft.
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    Smell the leaves to determine freshness. Salad greens should smell sweet, and a little bit earthy. If they smell too bitter or dull, that is an indication of how they will taste in your salad.
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    Pack loose salad greens in plastic bags. Tie or seal the bags, and keep them separate from your other groceries, especially raw meats and poultry items.

Buying Packaged Salad Greens

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    Choose tubs instead of bags if they are available. The greens stay fresher in plastic tubs than they do in bags. They are often cheaper when you buy larger quantities in the tubs. Store them on the bottom of the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
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    Check the expiration date. The date printed is the date that the salad greens will probably begin to rot. Vegetables that are expired will not taste as good as fresh vegetables. Buy what you will be able to use in less than 1 week.
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    Inspect the greens for color and freshness. Tubs and plastic bags are often transparent. Shake the container to make sure the salad moves freely, and look for any signs of rot or moldy lettuces.


  • Wash all salad greens before using them, whether they are loose or packaged, and remove any rotten or damaged leaves.
  • Salad greens are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and other nutrients.
  • Store salad greens away from other strong-scented foods such as onions and garlic.
  • Remember to refrigerate salad greens immediately, whether they are loose or pre-packaged. Keep them in the refrigerator at 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (1.67 degrees to 4.44 degrees Celsius). Keep them in a drawer or a vegetable crisper to ensure freshness.

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Categories: Food Selection and Storage