Great news: Clinical tests have proven that there is no difference in vitamin or nutritional value between fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. Pick whatever you like. Except for Carrots - they are just color, taste and filler unless you cook them. Heat releases the Beta Coratine.
Lettuce should be compact and dark green. Never cut Lettuce with a knife. It will brown everywhere the knife touches it. Tear it with you fingers. Before you put it in the fridge, hit the root end hard on the counter. Then with your fingers remove the root. Removing the root end will make the lettuce keep longer. Put it in a lettuce keeper or zip lock bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Never freeze lettuce because it will go limp and see through.
Celery should be light green. Dark green stalks are tough. The light green ones (although hard to find) are tender and more flavorful. Celery should be stored in the crisper drawer. Not good frozen.
Tomatoes should be red but firm. Sweet cherry tomatoes are great for a salad. Large tomatoes are best for slicing to eat separately, for a sandwich. Green tomatoes are best for breading and frying. If you have a problem with acid, you might want to try yellow tomatoes because they are low in acid. An extra sharp serrated knife is best for slicing tomatoes without squishing them. They do not do well when frozen unless you are going to use them in soups or stews later. They should be blanched (dropped in hot water for 1 minute & then in ice water) & pealed before you freeze them.
Cucumbers should be green and firm. If you purchase them from a farmerís market, just clean them and slice them. If you purchase them from the market, peal them before slicing them because they may have wax on them to make them look better. Do not freeze cucumbers.
Cabbage comes in purple and green. Either is good in a salad. Purple adds color and should be used sparingly. You may cut cabbage. It is more resilient than lettuce. Never freeze cabbage.
Onions in any form are good in salads. I like a little thinly sliced purple and sliced bunching onions (including the green stems) in my salads. Put onions in salads just before you serve it. Onions make other vegetables go bad faster. Keep them sealed in a bag in the crisper until you are ready to serve the salad. They can be chopped and frozen to be used when cooking; but never to be used in a salad.
Green, red or yellow bell peppers diced or sliced are great for salads. They can be diced and frozen for cooking; but loose their crispness and are no longer good for salads. Heat & fat release Vitamins.
Squash (yellow summer) adds color and nutrition to salads. Squash can be frozen for cooking.
Red (kidney) beans may be cooked (not overcooked) drained, rinsed and chilled in the refrigerator or open a can of them, drain and rinse to use in salads. They add protein to the salad. Frozen red beans get mushy after thawing.
Green beans, sweet peas (early peas) and chickpeas (Gonzo beans) may also be used in salads. Frozen, fresh or canned is OK. Drain, rinse & chill in refrigerator for salads. Frozen are too mushy.
Cold ham slices, bacon bits, steak slices, chicken slices, turkey slices or shrimp are great in salads. They add protein and turn a salad into a meal all by itself.
Add Green and/or black olives for vitamin E. Diced boiled eggs add Protein to a salad.
Spice it up with Salad Supreme (has MSG in it), Salad Toppings (has chopped peanuts in it), croutons or small chunks of garlic toast and your favorite salad dressing. You can put almost anything in a salad. Make sure it is crisp, cold and tasty.
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by Frances M. McCrory-Meservy