(Family Features) - Say "baby," and you think: New. Fresh. Young. Full of promise. The same goes for baby greens and vegetables, which deliver a full package of robust flavors in a tender, tiny form.
Sophisticated American palates left pale iceberg and ho-hum lettuces behind with the discovery of blends like the vivacious greens in Spring Mix - a chorus of color and taste. Now, the salad experts at Fresh Express have delivered a brand spanking new collection of tender whole leaf "Baby Blends," salads featuring early-harvest versions of favorite lettuces and greens - a nice fit for our endless appetite for snazzy, fresh flavors, optimum nutrition and, of course, the ultimate in ready-to-eat convenience.
According to Fresh Express vice president, Jeff Lemmon, the "birth" of Baby Blends brings an exciting new generation of salad varieties - all with distinct flavor personalities and contrasting tastes, textures and colors. These artfully designed blends have been specially crafted to offer perfectly balanced and innovative taste sensations. With flavors from bold and bright to sassy and sensational, this first-ever line of all-baby greens heralds a whole new era in salad eating.
An array of flavors from peppery, tangy and assertive to sweet, mellow and subtle makes for a mingling of harmonious tastes. Richly flavorful baby spinach leaves, spicy wild arugula, colorful red-vein baby spinach, peppery tatsoi, crisp baby romaine, buttery baby tango, tart young radicchio and mellow baby oak and leaf lettuce are all harvested when they're tender, bursting with flavor and loaded with nutritional benefits. And more news: joining these "babies" in their first U.S. debut is the new taste of sweet and tender baby Salanova - a European specialty butter lettuce.
What's not to love about these new flavor blends? They're ready to enjoy right out of the bag, offering ultimate convenience with no mess or waste.
Baby lettuces and greens are carefully harvested when they're at the peak of taste, tenderness and color. Because they are gently picked when young, flavors and colors are both lively and intense instead of becoming more muted as the plants mature.
Nutrition experts remind us to eat several servings of colorful produce daily, and these baby blends fit that direction perfectly, offering super nutrition, including vitamins A, C, B and K, lutein, folic acid, iron and other important minerals.
To match the sparkling flavors of these whole leaf baby blends, discerning consumers are choosing quality bottled dressings or making their own, pairing different types of vinegar or citrus juices with a variety of oils and other savory additions for a whole new wave of salad creation.
Handled With Loving Care
TLC handling of the young greens - beginning right at harvest - makes the difference. Each tender leaf in the new lineup is gently but thoroughly washed and dried, and carefully packaged in a unique keep crisp bag, so these Baby Blends are tops in quality, radiantly fresh and ready to go.
For the latest arrivals in convenient salads, recipes and flavorful ideas, visit the Fresh Express web site at www.freshexpress.com.
Who tossed the salad?
- Greens must be dry so dressing will stick.
- Use a bowl at least twice the size of the amount of greens.
- Whisk dressing (or shake in a covered jar). Drizzle greens, tossing gently; adding a bit at a time. Serve immediately.
Oil meets vinegar
Make vinaigrette up to a day before using. Serve creamy vinaigrettes immediately. Classic vinaigrettes call for one part vinegar (acid) to 3 parts oil, adjusting for personal taste and added flavor accents.
- In a small bowl whisk together acid (citrus juice or vinegar) salt and other seasonings (sugar, mustard, shallot, onion, black or red pepper, herbs). Slowly add oil, whisking to blend. Salt to taste.
- OR, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake together acid, salt and other seasonings; remove lid, add oil, tighten lid and shake vigorously.
Just the fat facts, ma'am
Olive oil lets you enjoy the benefits of mono-unsaturated fats without fat phobia. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported absorption of important nutrients, including carotenoids from salads, was significantly increased by using a full-fat dressing.
The New Arrivals: Baby Blends pair perfectly with well-balanced dressings
Fress Express Baby Blends Salads, Pairing Notes and The Essential Vinaigrettes