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September 18, 2012 2:14 PM quote 
ChaseJ is offline ChaseJ
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 Shredded Spinach

We're working shredded spinach in with our shredded lettuce for school lunches. I've been scouring the internets looking for ideas but haven't found anything.

Does anyone have an idea for how to shred large amounts of spinach other than the good old chiffonade? We need to shred about 50 pounds of spinach and would love to find a shortcut or idea for what machine(s) to use.

Thanks.

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September 20, 2012 12:13 PM quote 
Steve A is offline Steve A
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Sorry, man, all I can think of is slice, slice, slice.  I don't ever recall running into shredded spinach on any menu.  Great idea, though.

Ciao,

Give 'em what they want. Just make it better than they expected. 

September 21, 2012 1:53 AM quote 
Brandon94275 is offline Brandon94275
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I'm sure you could push it through a slicing blade on a food processor and get a pretty good result. Just pack it tight in the shoot, turn it on and push it through.

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September 22, 2012 2:02 PM quote 
michael112931 is offline michael112931
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A couple of questions....

1) Why? Isn't that rather expensive? Your labor is going to crush you....

2) What are you shredding lettuce for? Topping for tacos? I wouldn't waste my time there. If you are looking to make a healthier sandwich, I would use a mesclun mix. The volume of this lettuce on a sandwich would be less than shredded lettuce and the nutritionals are are way better than romaine or spinach...Now you can show the kids "Panera Bread" style sammies.

Spinach is rather sandy and even if it comes in "triple washed", you still have to wash it more. You can try using the 1/8th slicing blade on a hobart mixer...a robot coupe or processor will turn fresh spinach into spinach juice.... blade turns too fast. You will need alot of people doing a chiffonade by hand, expect workmans comp for people cutting their fingers and 50# of it over an hour in labor....I just don't see the point.

If you are looking for healthy alternatives, that kids can (will) eat, and will meet your dietary requirements let me know, maybe I can help....

Chef Mike

Last edited: September 30, 2012 12:17 PM by michael112931
September 22, 2012 7:57 PM quote 
Beth Food Write is offline Beth Food Write
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School lunch programs can't afford mesclun mix when their revenue is pennies.

 

I use to sell to schools.  Some of the broadliners can get in shredded romaine or green leaf lettuce which is closer to the nutriional profile of spinach.  It may be a skip day delivery.  Otherwise, if you have other nearby school districts, perhaps you can round up some other shredded spinach buyers and a local produce house could start doing it for you if you all can menu at the same time.

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September 23, 2012 3:12 AM quote 
michael112931 is offline michael112931
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I'm sorry, I have to repectfully disagree with Beth.

I am speaking as an operations expert and not as a broadliner.....

If you do a real cost analysis and depending what you are using it for...the cost of adding mesclun as opposed to adding spinach/romaine and chiffonading it by hand...it's about 48% less. This is why I asked if they were using it for sandwiches or taco topping...We are talking about supplementing and not by itself.

I also assume the labor in schools isn't free....


I have been doing this a very long time and you will find the baby lettuce is extremely comparable because of the volume...not the weight, the nutritional value exceeds that of spinach or romaine and the labor is, as President Clinton would say is ZE-RO!

Chef Mike

Last edited: September 30, 2012 12:18 PM by michael112931
September 24, 2012 7:17 PM quote 
Beth Food Write is offline Beth Food Write
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Hi Chef Mike

You may have been running a commercial for profit restaurant that caters to the public for a long time.  Hate to tell you this - that is not the same as a school foodservice.  I did my time as a manager of a school foodservice operations, sold to them for years, did consulting work for 2 mega school districts, and am still a due paying member of the School Nutrition Association.  Still have my flag pin with the fork and knife.

School foodservice as dictated by Uncle Sam is not for profit, has lots of regulations on food offerings, and there is a whole budgetary side that is more complex than your spreadsheets can handle including specific rules on what the district can pay for.

So, yes, I do know what I am talking about.  In the future, can you lay off with the "you don't know anything" lines? 

I stand by what I wrote.  Unless the school has a garden, mesclun is really out of their price range.  And yes, it will cost labor to shred the lettuce or other greens, but since labor comes out of a different pot of money, for most school lunch programs it is better to pay someone to do something (if possible) then to buy in an expensive item.

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September 25, 2012 2:05 PM quote 
michael112931 is offline michael112931
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Beth,

First... I re-read my post and I never said anywhere you don't know anything, sorry you took it that way. Second....don't assume where I have worked just because I am no longer a dues paying ASFSA member just because I am an owner today, Third....I disagreed with your stance, I never said you were wrong, just disagreed coming in from an ops standpoint.....You would consult from one way, I would consult from another and neither is wrong, just opposing views.

So.....Here's the deal on this. I am going to use my current active pricing...again looking at this from a sandwich standpoint and not as a taco/nacho topping....

Remember shredded lettuce and spinach are mostly water weight (about 96% of it). To get the volume you need to cover a sandwich those greens are going to be heavier which is why the discrepency in weight compared to volume of mesclun (which in contrast is about 90% water weight and less dense than iceberg, spinach or any of it's adult counterparts)....

5 lb of shredded lettuce ($3.80 a bag) will yield coverage for (1.5oz per sand) 53-6  inch sandwiches cost = .07 ea @ no shrink

5 lb spinach ($9.04 a bag then washed and chiffonaded) yields (1.5 oz per sand) 47 -6 inch sandwiches = .19 ea I already factored in 12 % shrink........... you then have to add in Labor. Whether or not labor goes to a different bucket , you could be using that labor to make fresh pizza dough or something besides a chiffonade of 50# of spinach...

3 lb mesclun ($8.59 a bag) yields (1/8 oz per sand) 98 - 6 inch sandwiches cost = .09 ea. no labor, no shrink.

That's ARITHMETIC! You use mesclun by volume.....It's volume, you know like on a cereal box...Sold by weight not by volume....Also, please don't tell me how complex any business spreadsheets are (school or not), they are as only as complex as you make them.....AND I'm quite sure if I went and tore apart the local School Board budgets I would find Cost Savings, not a good place to go with my background.

And...... I have worked in my local public school system (Pennsauken if you must know) as a chef or I wouldn't have made the suggestion....

It all depends what you are looking to do with the product.

This is what I know though: Schools generally get about $2.75 per meal. About $2.00 of that has to go to labor, so that leaves about $.75 for a meal....ain't much. So I tend look at biggest bang for my buck, not necessarily the cheapest and now trying to keep kids healthy I borrow thinking from the Ann Cooper school of thought. It's what you do with product AND labor....I just think shredding spinach is not very cost effective....9 cents for mesclun vs 19 cents for spinach not including labor....just my take. But then again, I'm just a dumb cook, what could I know.

Go ahead and do the experiment in your house...you will see what I'm talking about, I'm sure you will come to the same conclusion I did years ago......

Chef Mike

Last edited: September 30, 2012 12:22 PM by michael112931
September 25, 2012 6:36 PM quote 
Beth Food Write is offline Beth Food Write
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Mike - it is the over the top responses like this that I was mentioning.  You go on for a page about math and arithmatic ignoring the fact that school lunch programs have different funding and uses of monies which from your post, shows you do not know about them.  Your example is perfectly fine for a for-profit restaurant of which, a school foodservice is not. 

And, I have never seen 3# greens yield more than 5# - using your mesculn and shredded lettuce example.  At 100% yield, there is no way that could happen.  Shredded lettuce in a school lunch program (and just about every restaurant I've seen using it)  is measured by volume.

3# bages of $8.59 mesclun won't fly in a school lunch program.  It really won't for a whole bunch of reasons including that the labor for shredding spinach can be charged to a revenue stream whereas the mesclun has to be charged against the meal cost.  That is the reality of running a school foodservice operation in this day and age - which is what I was trying to tell you.

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September 25, 2012 7:06 PM quote 
michael112931 is offline michael112931
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Beth,

Please stop assuming about what I know or don't know.....because I can definitively tell you this about me: YOU DON"T KNOW...and we'll be pleasant and leave it at that.

Also, I'm not trying to be argumentative either, but we have opposing points of view, there is nothiing wrong with that and there is possible validity on both sides, I just don't happen to agree with you.

Also, I've done the cutting or I wouldn't waste my breath and it is about the arithmetic, which is telling me you haven't....so until you have...well I won't say anything mean.

Please check Chef Jamie Oliver, Chef Ann Cooper--the renegade Lunch Lady, or Sam Kass the leader of  Michele Obama's initiatives. Today, School FS Directors have to seriously think outside the box of even just a few years ago. Actually, you will find the reality of running a school foodservice has changed completely from the years ago you were involved. I am currently a consultant to my school district and it's all about the bottom line and it IS about labor allocation...we have to make more from scratch to meet the Nutrition Requirements of the FDA. This is what I found out 2 years ago when I began this little project for my community, Schools can No Longer just purchase crap for the sake of purchasing crap to get our reimbursements or grant monies for our Salad Bars....not to mention the use of gov't commodities when they are available.....Why am I consulting ? Because the President of the local school board asked for my help and expertise...because I have been successful in business, I am fortunate to have the time to volunteer and give back to the community.....(which chains don't do), which in turns brings us more business....go figure.

BTW, do a yield test at your house on lettuce....humor me, This is what I do for a living....weigh a cup spring mix and weigh a cup of shredded lettuce.....It's about Density, Volume vs. Weight.....I know, it's science term, but everytime we cook we perform a chemical reaction....Mad Scientists so to speak. I didn't ask which is heavier.... a pound of loosely packed feathers or a pound of rocks I am talking which takes up more space in a container not packed tightly, so yes 3# of Mesclun will yield more than 5# of Iceberg shredded. Iceberg is denser than mesclun, rocks are denser than feathers. How's that for a science lesson. You need to open your mind....

Wow! I never thought all those science courses they made me take in college would come in handy 30 years down the road...LOL!

Chef Mike

Last edited: September 30, 2012 12:31 PM by michael112931
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