How to Wash and Kosher Lettuce
Many people assume that eating kosher means you simply don't mix meat and milk. Or eat pork, or rabbit, or shellfish.
I also find it quite amusing when people assume that kosher food has been blessed by a rabbi, thereby shifting its status from non-kosher to instantly kosher. Oh how simple things would be if that were the case. I would immediately bring my rabbi over to that quaint, hip French bakery around the corner, where the smell wafts through to the street and makes you weak in the knees, hand him a loaf of that rustic baguette I've been eyeing every time I pass by and sit impatiently as he articulates the blessing that will allow me to take a bite off that crusty goodness. I love baguette. Especially warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven with a slab butter and apricot marmalade.
But it's not that simple. And my religious beliefs are more important to me than satisfying my gourmandise. (That means glutton, in case you were wondering.)
Many people often overlook the fact that bugs are also not kosher. You're probably thinking ewww, who wants to eat bugs? Well, some people do so voluntarily. I can't see why. And some people do so involuntarily. Yes, there are many little things that are crawling around in your leafy greens and you might not even see them.
So I thought since I have a whole salad theme going on, I would show you how I wash my lettuce.
You will get a visual of how I kosher my lettuce, and thereby make sure there aren't any unwanted insects crawling around.
1. Place the lettuce in a big clear or white bowl and fill with water.
2. Add a small amount of vegetable wash or non-toxic all natural soap.
3. Let it soak for 5 minutes, making sure the bowl has enough room to allow the water to permeate.
4. Agitate. Remove the lettuce from the bowl and discard the water.
5. Place the lettuce in a second soak of fresh water and let it sit for about 3 minutes.
6. Once again, remove the lettuce and do not drain the water.
7. Check the surface of the water to make sure there are no floating bugs. (Or any dirt for that matter.)
8. If nothing is found, you should check three handfuls over a light source. If insects are found, you may repeat the process another time. If they are found again, you should discard the batch since it's most likely infested.
Now is the fun part. Get your salad spinner ready and dry the squeaky clean lettuce.
And voila, you have kosher, clean, bug-free lettuce.
This was just a quick glimpse into how I wash my mesclun mix. There is a more extensive list compiled by the RCC (a kosher agency in Cali), that you can download
. It lists many other types of vegetables that need checking/cleaning.
Tip: make sure you store your lettuce dry and in an airtight container to keep the moisture out.