Salad is a popular summer dish. However, it is also linked with foodborne illness. There are ways to prepare salad safely so that friends and family do not get sick. Salad food safety tips include the following:
Wash your hands! Always wash hands before and after preparing any salad ingredient.
Don’t rewash lettuce that is already prewashed in the package. This can introduce contaminants that were already eliminated.
Use a different knife and cutting board for each ingredient. If you intend to keep salad ingredients separate for people to make their own, you won’t have contaminated all ingredients.
Keep salads cold in a refrigerator, in a cooler, or over ice. Don’t leave out at room temperature for more than two hours. Warmer temperatures (40–140 degrees) can cause bacteria to grow on food and promote illness.
Make sure salad is served with a utensil and not bare hands. Hands carry viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. It is best to use clean and sanitized salad tongs or forks.
Visit Produce Basics (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/cook/produce-basics) for tips on how to select, store, and wash many types of salad ingredients.
Wendy White, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, led a recent study that suggests eating salad greens and vegetables with added fat—in the form of soybean oil—enhances the absorption of various micronutrients that promote human health. Soybean oil is a common ingredient in commercial salad dressings.
Salad vegetables with added oil aided in the absorption of several micronutrients: alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene; two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K; and vitamin A. White said better absorption of these nutrients promotes a range of health benefits, including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation.
The study also found that the amount of oil added to the vegetables had a proportional relationship with the amount of nutrient absorption. White said, “The best way to explain it would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption.” This doesn’t mean salad eaters should drench their greens in dressing! White indicates that consumers should be comfortable with the U.S. dietary recommendation of about two tablespoons of oil per day.
The research study showed eating the same salad without the added oil lessened the likelihood that the body would absorb the nutrients.
Secure the lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.
Salad dressing can be stored in the airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
The size of this recipe can be adjusted up or down by keeping the same ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. For example, for a small amount of dressing, use 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 tablespoon of acid, and a pinch of each of the seasonings.
• 1 cup salad greens per person (romaine, spinach, arugula, etc.)
• 1/2 cup vegetables per person such as: broccoli, black beans, shredded carrot, peas, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes
• 1-2 tablespoons salad dressing per person
1. Use a one-gallon sized zip-lock bag for a family sized salad or a one-quart sized bag for individual salads.
2. Place 1 cup salad greens per person in the gallon bag or 1 cup in each quart bag.
3. For individual salads in quart bags, add 1/2 cup veggies to each bag. For a family sized salad in gallon bag, add 1/2 cup veggies
4. Add salad dressing.
5. Zip bag shut and shake to distribute the dressing over all the ingredients.
See more recipes at SpendSmart EatSmart: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/
Nutrient information per serving
160 calories, 10 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 15 g total carbohydrate (6 g sugar), 5 g fiber,
4 g protein
Note: Recipe analyzed using romaine lettuce, black beans, carrots, peas, tomatoes, and French salad dressing.