I also thought they were a bit gimmicky and didn’t pay them much mind until I heard people on the Low Carb Zen page sing their praises. Whaaaa? They keep the salad fresher, longer? They allow planning ahead, easy transport (which doesn’t apply to a work-at-home chick like me, but still a plus), and they are super-duper convenient? They make it easier and more fun to eat healthy?
Okay. I’m listening. I decided to give it a go and share what I found out from my experiment.
Actually, salad spinners are another one of those ideas I didn’t quite get. They just seemed silly to me–what, you need a gadget to mix things up? I have utensils. Of course, I learned that’s not what the spinner actually does. It removes moisture–faster, more efficiently and more effectively than just draining. So not to give the salad spinner an easy time, I actually bought marked-down lettuce! Living dangerously, huh? If the spinner is to help to extend the life of the salads, it will have to do it on it’s own merits! (I also discovered the salad spinner was great for drying out the cauliflower and spinach I was using elsewhere in my dinner, but that’s a whole different topic.)
I proceeded to make an absolute mess of the kitchen while I assembled six salads in six jars. I ate them spaced out over several days to judge the freshness. And you know what? It works!
A Few Take-Home Tips from Experimenting with Salads in Jars
- Wide-mouthed jars work the best.
- You will probably need bigger jars than you think you will, once you start layering ingredients.
- Dressing goes on the bottom to keep the other ingredients from getting wet. Want to keep the lettuce dry!
- A firm veggie that would be fine marinading in the dressing goes in after the dressing, to form a barricade between the dressing and greens.
- Next goes softer items and topping items, like tomatoes, cheese, hard-boiled eggs and bacon. Mmmmm, bacon.
- You’ll need LESS dressing than you think, even if you like a whole lot of dressing. (Not like I would know or anything…err…)
- To eat it, you shake up your jar to coat the salad and pour it out on your plate. The dressing coats everything that way.
- Some people recommend vacuum packing the jars with your FoodSaver and that probably works magical wonders and all, but I didn’t test that option.
- The salads with greens run through Salad Spinner and stored in jars actually lasted longer than the lettuce stored a second, unopened bagged salad I bought at the same time. I was suitably impressed.
Verdict? If you would like longer-lasting, make-ahead salads, the mason jar storage thing is a good idea.For best effect, use a salad spinner, too. I’d like to try this with different kinds of salads as well. It looks like a really handy way to make your food ahead and be ready with good, healthy options. Win!
Have you done the salad-in-a-jar thing? What did you think of it?