Salad in a Jar (review from experience)
I saw this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. The claim was 7-10 days fresh as the day you made it. I thought that would be nice and making a salad everyday is a pain and time consuming.
I gathered all my favorite salad ingredients (We usually cut them right out of the grocery bag, the bowls were for a pretty picture).
This salad contains: grape tomatoes, carrot, celery, cucumber, jicama, apple, mushroom, dried cranberry, sunflower seeds, ham, hard boiled egg, cheese, and mixed greens.
Wash and dry your veggies, you don’t want a bunch of excess water in your jars.
I start the eggs as soon as Rawley gets home from the grocery store, by the time we have cut everything else up they are ready.
Line up your jars assembly style and add the ingredients. Make sure you layer the wet ingredients on the bottom, your protein in the middle, and your dry lettuce on top. You can even put your dressing in the bottom of the jar, just make sure not to turn it over while you transport it to work/school so it doesn’t touch the dry stuff on top.
If I am putting dressing in my jar then I put the tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber on the bottom as they can hold up to sitting in dressing all week without getting gross. I don’t usually put dressing in my jars because I don’t know what I am in the mood for day to day.
If your not putting dressing in the jar then it isn’t as important, but wet on bottom to dry on top. I layered these in this order:
We shake the jars a little after putting in the veggies so that they settle and compact a little. Then after the eggs I gently pack it all in with a spoon or other tool. (I actually use the blunt end of a bar muddler) It will look like there isn’t a lot of room left for the lettuce, but you would be surprised how much you can cram in there, 2 cups squishes down to almost nothing.
Once you have everything in, put the lid on top (not the screw band part yet), place the vacuum attachment on top and then use the hand held vacuum to suck all the air out, remove the attachment and screw the band on tight. Place jars in your crisper and enjoy daily.
You don’t have to vacuum seal the jars, they will last a few days without it, but it is better to vacuum. My apples stayed crisp all the way to day 7 and you know how cut up apples get. The mushrooms were the first thing to get icky, then the lettuce. I let one go for two weeks to see what would fail first. They did last a long time 7 days was not a stretch.
The mason jars we bought at Walmart, but you can get them at target, grocery stores, amazon or other places I am sure. I bought 12, 32oz jars for $11.
We bought the jar attachment on amazon. Make sure to order the one that fits the size mason jars you get. There are two sizes; wide mouth and regular. I suggest getting wide mouth jars as they are easier to put stuff in.
The handheld vacuum we also got at Walmart for $15. You can get them at target and what not. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002FWIVCA
Here is a video explaining the vacuum process without buying expensive food savers.
Here is the process we used.
My opinion on these is that they are awesome. We make them on Sunday night, 12 at a time. They do in fact keep fresh, as long as you start with fresh ingredients. A 32 oz salad is a meal for one person, we are stuffed after eating them. They also split nicely between 2-3 people for a dinner side.
Total prep time for the salads is about 30 – 45 mins.
I didn’t eat as many salads before because it takes at least 10 mins to make a single serving of salad everyday, getting everything out and putting it all back. Now I have fresh salads in my crisper ready to go, not bags of vegetables slowly wilting.