Stir Fry Hot Dogs and other Clarifications on GREENS–

I don’t make stir fry hot dogs! LOL…my daughter Michele didn’t even know what hot dogs were until she was 8 years old.  In the Swiss Chard Salad recipe passed out Wednesday, it is the author of the recipe suggesting putting the stiff stems aside for hot dog stir fry, not me!  He also said to go take a shower after the salad is mixed to allow the vinegar and lemon to do its job breaking down and softening the chard…I edited that out in the interest of space, but it gives you an idea of his humor and style.  (

Regarding the request for FEEDBACK on greens…Choice D refers to green and red Butterheads (or Bib), and green and red Leaf Lettuce, or Romaine, and not Iceberg.  I seldom buy Iceberg because of its tendency to rust or spoil in the core.  Because heads cost less I would include 2 heads–once you have washed, spun, and bagged the leaves they easily last 2 weeks.

As I think this through, head lettuce is packed in the field and is impacted by the rain- not the mixes which are done in a factory.

This is what I understand about the Mixes:  The packaged greens are triple washed before being put into the clamshells.  The triple washing is not just water, even for organics, because of safety regulations.  I’m not sure what is added to the water…used to be sulfates, but I think chlorine is the main disinfectant now.  (We took a food handling class in Montana.  The trainer raised produce organically in the 70’s and 80’s…she gave us the name of an additive that was approved for organic certification.) 

Here’s how I envision contamination cases with Spinach and other Mixes–my theory only:  Tons of greens are dumped into the manufacturing system and are whisked along in water from one tank to another…we watched this on YouTube.  They have to use recycled water; they constantly test and monitor the level of e coli and others.  Then they are packaged, bundled into cases, and stored for shipment.  I don’t know how long until we get them, but they go from processing to distribution centers, to the retailers, so it has to be at least a week to 10 days…maybe 2 weeks.  During that time all efforts are made to keep the greens chilled.  If the temp is over 40 degrees or under 32 degrees the quality is impacted–froze or degraded.

No question the organisms are initially washed off the greens, but how can they not build up and accumulate in the water which is being washed over the moving mass of tender baby leaves?  I liken it to when you are in a blizzard driving down the highway:  Does the wind blow the snow away?  Yes, but not all of it because there is more from the direction the wind is blowing and the concentration of snow in the air is higher than the wind can blow away.    

It’s worth noting that E. coli, listeria, and others are found in the soil.  Concentrations build in the soil when animals are housed too close to the growing area.  Wikipedia says e. coli also exists in our own intestinal track.  They said when the level of e. coli grows it upsets the balance between good and bad bacteria, and bacteria and fungus, and the waste from the concentrated level becomes toxic and makes us sick.  The regulator’s solution is more disinfectant. (Which I believe may accelerate the degradation of tender greens in itself…another theory for another day.) 

We do not wash greens from the garden for several reasons: It takes a lot of time, moisture shortens the storage life in the coolers, and we don’t want to kill the natural good bacteria on our food that helps to build the healthy fauna and flora in our gut.  (UV light on the veggies in the garden reduce the amount of bad bacteria.)  We harvest greens in the early part of the cool day and get them into the cooler as soon as possible–washing them would add an additional hour and take time from the morning harvesting.  We now have a cooler with glass doors for the summer Pick UP’s–greens should now be chilled from harvest to delivery.  Per the USDA, it is up to the consumer to wash the greens–technically, even if triple washed in the factory.

An interesting article on the breakdown of produce is on the Nutrition page at     Food begins to degrade the instant it is harvested.  That is good news–if it didn’t break down it would be harder to digest in our system–AND bad news–we need to handle it quickly and take steps to use it as soon as possible after harvest for the highest amount of nutrients.  Refrigeration and packaging are ways to protect the viability of our food.  (Why Veggies Degrade- LIvestrong)

Keeping you informed–To your HEALTH– The Farmer’s Wife

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kristy Pavlus on February 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Maybe D would be better.

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