Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I like salads..especially with fabulous toppings. The problem is chopping, washing and drying the lettuce EVERY TIME you want a small, quick salad for lunch. Paula over at Salad in a Jar became the solution to my frustrations. You only have to prepare your lettuce ONCE and you can enjoy it all week, or even for the next two weeks...yes, that's how long it lasts in these pretty, little, vacuum-sealed mason jars!
I'm sure you will quickly say, "Ehh, I don't have a vacuum sealing thingy, so this isn't for me". That's not true. Yes, they are $150+ at the store, but I found mine on Craigslist for $20, no joke. Most of them come with the accessory hose, or you can get it from the manufacturer here for $3. The last piece you need is the mason jar attachment(s) found here on Amazon. All mason jars have either a regular or wide-mouth opening. Pick the one that fits your jars or get both, they're only $9. If you don't have an enormous collection of mason jars and lids (like I do) you can get a pack at Wal-mart or your grocery store. The cute, vintage containers can be used for a lot more than salad containers. Try putting candles in them, a vase for your flowers, or used as lemonade glasses in this summer heat!
-1 package of romaine lettuce
-6-10 mason jars with lids (2-piece lids)
-FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer
-Wide or Regular Mouth Jar Sealer
First, wash and chop your lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
Using a salad spinner, dry your lettuce. If you don't have one, you could dry pat paper towels and leave out to dry. It's much quicker with a spinner though :)
Now fill your mason jars with the lettuce leaving about 1 inch room on the top. You can either use quart-sized jars, which will fit about two single/lunch sized salads or 1 large dinner salad. Or you can use pint-sized jars which will fit one smaller, single, lunch sized salad. Use what you have or which ones make sense for you.
Now, put a lid on each jar (without the ring). Following your FoodSaver instructions, attach the hose and sealer to the lid of the mason jar. Set to vacuum, and press down the sealer until it automatically stops. Sometimes I will do this twice to ensure it is sealed and I've removed as much oxygen as possible. This is also my Type A tendencies...
Remove the attachment and make sure the lid is sealed. The way to do this is press on the lid and make sure it doesn't "pop". If it does, the lid is not sealed and you need to vacuum again. Screw on the ring and pop it in the fridge! Repeat with your remaining salad jars.
Here are a few tips...
1. If you haven't lived in the south or don't have experience with mason jars, I will give a tip. When opening the jar, remove the ring, find the spot on the jar where the screw ring bumps are closest to the sealing lid and use a butter knife to easily pry open. Here's a video from Rick's Food and Cooking Blog.
2. If you want to add extra flavor to your lettuce, add herbs such as basil, oregano, etc. You could even put in some green onion slices. Avoid veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes until ready to eat. They will just become dried out in the jar.
3. If you eat in the office or on the road, bring a plastic fork, your toppings in a plastic baggy and some dressing in 2 oz plastic condiment cups and lids found here on ebay.
Have you done this before? Gonna try it? Leave me comments with your thoughts and experiences...I've been lovin' my comments recently :)