With warmer days finally here, who isn't looking forward to preparing a crisp, summer-fresh salad made with delicious leafy greens? While the Canadian climate doesn't allow for home-grown greens throughout the year, we can find healthy and safe leafy greens from a sunny state south of the border - California.
With more that 86 per cent of the total U.S. lettuce exports going to Canada, it's not an exaggeration to say that Canadians are important customers to the State of California. Since fresh summer salads are a Canadian favourite, here are some helpful tips on how to safely store and prepare your leafy greens, courtesy of LGMA:
- Make sure taht the leafy greens you buy are fresh and not damaged
- Do not buy packaged salads and leafy greens that are not refrigerated at the store
- Refrigerate all cut or cooked leafy greens within two hours
- Throw away leafy greens that have not been refrigerated within two hours of cutting, peeling or cooking
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh leafy greens
- Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap that will be and have been in contact with fresh leafy greens before and after food preparation
- Remove and throw away damaged portions of leafy greens when preparing to cook them or before eating them raw
- Separate leafy greens from household chemicals and raw foods such as meat, poultry and seafood in your shopping cart and ingrovery bags that the checkout counter
- Keep leafy greens separte from raw meat, poultry or seafood in your refrigerator
- Cook or throw away leafy greens that have touched raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices
- When in doubt, throw away leafy greens that have been sitting in your fridge for a long time or have been in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood
Canadians rely considerably on Californian farmers to satify their needs for a safe supply of leafy greens all year 'round. This is precisely why the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA), was created: to develop a model program that works to ensure that, from farm to fork, leafy greens grown on California farms are safe, healthy and delicious.