Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Most recipes I have seen and used call for greens (kale, chard, collard, turnip, beet, etc) to be massaged in salt and/or lemon juice (or other acidic liquid) for 3-5 minutes, resulting in a dense leafy salad. The preparation is fantastic as it takes away the sharpness of raw greens while keeping them raw, and in a fraction of the time.

As the textural and taste characteristics are more akin to cooked greens (less strong in flavor, crisp but not tough to the tooth) than eating them raw, I would like to know how massaging greens works at a cellular level to achieve these results.

  • What happens to the greens to affect this change?
  • Is the physical manipulation what causes the change?
  • Does the addition of salt or vinegar or lemon juice actually have a chemical or physical effect, or are these elements to benefit the flavor?
share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The physical massaging of the greens starts to break down the cell walls (made of mainly cellulose in plants), rendering the greens more tender. The addition of salt could be to help draw our more moisture from the greens, or it could just be for seasoning like vinegar or lemon juice.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.