I’m sure many of you worry, as I do, about bacteria in salads and/or lettuce leaves.

Many years ago, my mother-in-law, Esperanza, was watching me prepare a salad (I don’t think anyone likes to be “watched” by their mother-in-law – lol!).

Just as I was about to transfer the rinsed and spun-dry lettuce into a salad bowl, I heard the words, “Nancy, after you’ve washed lettuce 3 to 5 times, let it sit in cold water with a little distilled vinegar for about 5 minutes. This will kill any bacteria that has stuck to the leaves.”

Although this wonderful matriarch and loving woman has passed many years ago, every time I prepare a salad, I still hear those words. Of course, I heed the advice. Here’s the trick:

Recipe for Treating Lettuce

1 head lettuce (any type), cut into strips or chopped and washed 3 to 5 times, until water runs clear
1/4 cup distilled vinegar

1. Place the cut and washed lettuce pieces in a salad spinner or a bowl.

2. Completely cover the lettuce with cold water.

3. Stir in 1/4 cup distilled vinegar.

4. Let the lettuce sit in water/vinegar mixture for 5 minutes.

5. Drain the lettuce and spin dry.

6. Use the lettuce as directed in recipe.

Text and Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real