Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mason Jar Salads - Reviewed

I've been seeing these mason jar salads all over the internet. At least once a week one shows up on my Pinterest feed. I like the idea. My husband and I really like salad. For the past two years our go-to dressing has been my  homemade blue cheese recipe, which I borrowed from Hill's Resort at Priest Lake, and tastes AMAZING. Literally, this dressing makes me want to eat salad like candy.

Healthy? Probably not. My Husband has been trying really hard lately to take care of himself, so I've been looking for healthier alternatives to our normal lifestyle.

I'm still on the look out for a homemade healthy dressing that we both LOVE, but this honey mustard vinaigrette is a good start.

So back to the mason jars...

A number of other reasons I wanted to try:

1. Bags of salad mix are hella expensive
2. Our 1980's fridge makes stored lettuce and veggies floppy
3. Pre-made salad = less work at dinner time
4. Poor life decisions for snacking after work

So I read up a little online, and ordered the supplies from Amazon. I have tons of mason jars already so all I needed was a jar sealer and a hand vacuum pump, which I think totaled less than $13.

So basically, you want to prepare your ingredients like you normally would. The lettuce should be spun enough times that it is dry as possible (moisture will make it wilt once the jar is sealed). The jar should be clean and dry too.

For filling the jar, I started with a layer of dressing. I didn't measure it out, but generously coated the bottom of the jar. Then I added cucumbers and tomatoes to marinate in the dressing. This layer of veggies creates a barrier between the lettuce and dressing and will help the lettuce stay crisp. Next, I filled to the top with lettuce and sealed.

I not going to lie. These jar sealers are a pain in the butt. The lid and sealer have to be place on just right. I'm not even sure what "just right" is. All I know is that sometimes it would seal on the first try and other times I would have to reposition the lid three or four times

Basically, you place the lid on the jar, then fit the sealer attachment on top of that. Hold the hand pump against the hole on top and start pumping. If you have a good connection you should feel some pressure as you pump, and after a few cycles you should hear the click which means the jar has sealed.

With a little luck, you should have a result something like this. I've been thinking about everything I can add for next time. Hard boiled eggs, bacon, sunflower seeds- I would be nervous to add croutons as they might not stay crunchy enough. I made a batch of sourdough croutons and stored them separately so they could be added later.

After four days of sitting in the fridge, I finally tried once of my creations. To serve, you just give the jar a couple of good shakes to distribute the dressing and then empty into a bowl. The veggies were still crisp and the cucumbers and tomatoes tasted really good after being marinated in the vinaigrette for a few days.

I will definitely be trying this again.

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