Tips for Making Great Salads

Select greens that are crisp and free of discoloration. Iceberg lettuce and cabbage should be firm and solid.

Wash greens thoroughly in cool water, pat them dry with a clean paper or cloth towel to remove water. Store in a covered container or plastic bag, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to crisp the greens. Place a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the container to absorb extra moisture.

For iceberg lettuce, cut out the core with a paring knife. Or grasp the head in your hand and hit the core area against the countertop; lift out the core. Rinse the head under running water and drain core-side down.

Just before serving, tear -- don't cut -- the greens into bite-sized pieces. Cutting greens with a knife will turn the edges brown with time.

Allow greens to stand at room temperature no longer than 15 minutes before serving.

Toss greens with the dressing and serve immediately or place greens in a salad bowl and pass the dressing at the table. Adding too much dressing with make a salad soggy.

Pasta, rice and vegetable salads should chill for a few hours to allow flavors to blend.

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