Salads - history, production, trade
The term "salad" generally denotes a group of leafy vegetables, mainly consumed raw. However, the word salad, in common terminology, has come to mean a real dish made with more fresh vegetables, seasoned or not: the sense to which we refer to in this text is the first.
Most of salads can be diveded into three botanical families: CHICORY, including the subcategory of radicchio, ENDIVE and LETTUCE.
Apart from these main botanical families, there are also other types of raw leafy salad, such as wild herbs.
Eating salad every day is a good habit for a proper diet, aimed at the welfare and at the health of the organism. Green salad, which is the most common and better known salad on the international fruit and vegetable market, is present in almost every restaurant menu, for its remarkable importance in the daily diet of each of us.
Salad is a type of fresh vegetables very low in calories, only 25 kcal, with thousands of beneficial properties: although there are many varieties of salad, the food composition of fresh vegetables varies very little.
In general, salad has an edible part of 80-90% of the head of leaves, is rich in water and minerals such as potassium, has very few carbs, no fats and little proteins. Also the salad vitamin intake is not appreciable. A typical feature of salad is its bulkiness, which means also a greater satiating power at the time of the meal: to eat salad before a meal is a good habit and a good remedy for those who must undergo low calorie diets; being low in calories and high in fiber, in fact, eating salad prepares to the meal, giving at the same time an immediate sense of satiety, even though not lasting.
Leafy green salads contain roughly the same amount of protective agents, such as vitamins and minerals. You should always prefer the green part of salads rather than the white one, because it is more rich in carotenes, the main precursor of vitamin A. As mentioned before, the cellulosic fibers of salad, are itself rich in plenty of water, and, for this reason, do not swell much in the intestine, differing much by properties of other fibers, such as those derived from cereals, which increase fecal mass.
The vitamin content depends mainly on the freshness of the salad, while the mineral content depends on the fact that the salad is not left too much to soak in water: however, it remains important to thoroughly wash the lettuce, because of the fertilizers and chemical additives that are probably used to cultivate these vegetables, with the exception of organic salads, for which chemicals are not used in the cultivation.
The flavour of these fresh vegetables, in itself is not tasty, but it can be enriched with a small quantity of olive oil, preferably extra virgin, or a variety of herbs, such as tarragon, chives, pepper, garlic and onion, herbs that boost the flavour of the salad without the need to exceed with olive oil, which is harmful for our body when consumed in excessive amount, due to its strong lipid content.
Eating salad is a good habit, because of its content of fiber, which can reduce cholesterol levels and prevent constipation: fiber gives also a sense of satiety, with the result of eating less and the advantage to not get fat. Eating salad, in fact, helps to reduce calories without compomising the satisfaction of appetite. Eating salad is beneficial also for health, thanks to its content of antioxidants: green salads, in fact, contain several powerful antioxidants (vitamin C and E, folic acid, lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene), substances that contribute to protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. For years, researchers have found a link between food such fresh fruits and vegetables and reduced risk of many diseases, especially cancer. Furthermore, a recent study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, has revealed that people who have diets rich in fresh vegetables, especially salad, have a lower risk of developing cancer, especially for those who abuse of alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
When buying salad on the fresh fruit and vegetable market or through the 4th range fruit and vegetable products is always good to check that colours are bright, leaves are turgid, crisp and not altered by insects; it is also important to never leave the different varieties of salad in sealed envelopes, since they would rot in a short time. The ideal solution is to place the salad in a container covered with a damp cloth and to store them in a drawer of the refrigerator where air can circulate.
Salads keep for 3-4 days at most, with the exception of red radicchio, a bit more resistant in terms of time.
Salad has become increasingly important worldwide: today, there are many companies that produce salads, companies certified for the production of salad, producers of salad, companies that produce organic salad , companies that deal with the trade of salad (packaging of salad and 4th range products based on salad ), retailers of salad, importers of salad, exporters of salad, wholesalers of salad.