Modified Atmosphere Packaging? Oh, Ick!

Did you know that the average salad travels 1,400 miles to get to your table? That, beloved, is not a typo. If you haven’t started your spring salad greens garden yet, even if it’s just in a big bucket on your porch, you need to now. Like, today.

I have sad news for some avid salad eaters. Those packaged, pre-washed salad greens, while they make the most convenient salads, are virtually bereft of vital nutrients, scientists with the British Nutrition Foundation report.

A manufacturing technique used to keep these greens crispy longer also destroys vitamins and protective anti-oxidants. The process, called modified atmosphere packaging - which creates a balance of gases inside the bag to retain moisture and prevent browning - is particularly damaging to vitamin C.

Levels of nutritious p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid and quercetin are also hugely depleted in bags of salad, scientists at Cornell University in the U.S. have found.

These greens always appear crisp and fresh, right? Wrong. They have traveled many a mile for many a day before they make it to your supermarket. Once there, they sit on shelves for more days, before you buy them, bring them home, and eventually, crack open that bag. Two days after that bag is opened, and you have before you a bag of barren green stuff.

Supermarkets are in the Big Business of making foods attractive and easy to use. Bags of salad are easy to use, but they’re not a smart food option.
Our greens bed this spring features lettuces, spinach, kale, arugula, parsley, and dandelion greens. The bed will be shaded by the trellis cucumbers in summer, in an effort to prolong their growing life. Greens hate the dog days of summer.

Grow your own salad. It’s insanely easy. Get going!

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