The first time we picked up our CSA this year we had a horrible surprise: bugs. We’d gone through our normal lettuce-washing routine with the salad spinner, and it looked fine, but when I pulled the lid off the spinner the next morning, it was covered. Green ones, black ones, spiders—gah!
Even after repeated washings I couldn’t get rid of them. I refused to eat the lettuce, and I didn’t even dare feed it to the worms, for fear that I’d be wading through bugs every time I fed them from then on. So I ended up throwing the whole mess away. (Maybe this blog should be called Squeamish Environmentalism.)
At the next pickup I asked what Stone Soup suggested to deal with the bug problem, and their advice was to soak the lettuce for ten minutes. So now each week when we get home, the greens go immediately into a tub of water.
I actually let them soak overnight to make sure all the bugs are drowned (see: squeamish) and then pull the head apart leaf by leaf and wash them individually to get at the dirt in the center. I’ve never had to do that before, and I grew up on a farm, so I think it might be particularly bad this year because of the rain splashing the dirt up. Whatever the reason, this method leaves us with lettuce as clean as from the store. And tastier.