Salad in a Jar – 5 Years Later

Salad in a Jar Photos-4.jpg

Chopped romaine and radicchio lettuce vacuum-packed to lasting freshness and no brown edges

Have you ever wondered if the salad-in-a-jar lady still vacuum-packs her lettuce? Does she really eat it every day?

What possessed her to start a blog about the whole idea of vacuum-packing lettuce anyway?

When my oldest son was a computer science student in college, he reserved the domain for no charge. If he told me at the time, I didn’t get it. Five years ago, he mentioned it to me again and by that time, I had figured out what a blog was. I knew I had something to share with the world–or at least a few friends. I also needed a blog to join the fun over at Tuesdays with Dorie.

With my son’s technical help, we set up this blog in one afternoon. Unlike some people who agonize, sweat, and put lots of thought into their blog title, we came up with the name “Salad in a Jar” in less than 30 minutes. I already knew the process for vacuum-packing lettuce into a Mason jar (something I had been doing for 3 years already) would be my first post, so it seemed like a good place to start.

Fast forward 5 years later (and 747,000+ pins of that first post) . . . .Yes, I still vacuum-pack 5-6 quart jars of lettuce every week. The lettuce-filled jars are my go-to weekday lunch with rare exception. Because I keep the salad simple, I am able to assemble the jars in 10-15 minutes making the habit sustainable.

I mention this because many readers have tried this technique but can’t resist adding other ingredients to their salad. While they are beautiful to look at and seem more interesting initially, they require more time to assemble, and storage time is reduced if the salad-filled jar is actually vacuum-packed. Certain veggies are too delicate for the process,  e.g. spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cucumbers. I’ve heard reports of people spending an hour or two creating a week’s worth of these fancy salads.  Understandably, few people have the time and/or motivation to keep that up for long.

Do I ever get tired of eating lettuce for lunch every day? The honest answer is yes, sometimes. Of course, I vary what I add to my salad, but occasionally, I skip it altogether for 2 or 3 days to give me a break before I jump back onto the salad wagon.

In case you are new to this blog, you can read all the details here about how to make salad-in-a-jar my way or watch the video to get you started.

Confidential to those of you who bought all the jars and vacuum-packing paraphernalia but discovered it didn’t work for your lifestyle and/or preferences: Consider vacuum-packing nuts, flour, granola, small crackers, bread crumbs, dried fruit, pasta, and rice into all those jars. It’s easier to see what you have and keeps the bugs out. Besides that, it makes your pantry look all cool and organized.

Vacuum-packed mason jars in pantry-22.jpg



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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina January 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Hmmm. I don’t think adding more ingredients to the jar is about creating “fancy salads” that are “beautiful to look at”. It’s about having a meal with some nutritional value. Romaine lettuce definitely wouldn’t be a doctor’s recommendation of a healthy lunch. In fact, there is a nutritionfacts video that calls romaine lettuce the “Wonder bread” of vegetables.


Paula January 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Hi Nina,
Nice to hear from you. I’m wondering if you have iceberg lettuce mixed up with Romaine. I would love to have a link to the video you are talking about.


Dave January 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm

I’ve been doing this for a couple months..

I wash my lettuce with cold water cut it up just like you.
Place it in a salad spinner…

And get water at the bottom after spinning.. but the lettuce never seems to dry enough.. usually after about 10 days the lettuce starts going bad and wilting..

Am I missing a step or not doing something right…


Paula January 18, 2015 at 2:20 pm

If your lettuce is staying fresh for 10 days, that is all you can expect. I’m assuming we’re talking about chopped romaine lettuce that has been vacuum-packed, right?


Rikki November 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I absolutely love your blog! I am so glad I found it and that you post new and varied reciepes (your bread machine breads my favorite!). I also love that you still make your salads in a jar, and I can’t wait to get that routine going in my own home. Thank you for keeping this up and sharing with us :).


Kris October 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Paula, I was just thinking about sending you an email to thank you for your inspiration! I’ve been vacuum packing salad off and on since I found your blog a couple of years ago, mostly “on” for the past year, and it’s great. Besides the convenience of not having to decide what to do for lunch every day, this has really helped keep me on track food-wise. (I don’t “do” diets either!)

I picked up some little storage cups for dressing, and I find that I can seal them right in the top of the salad jar – so now I don’t even have to decide what dressing I’ll have today! Oh yes, first thing in the morning, even trying to decide whether I want honey dijon or vinaigrette can be too much some days!

I don’t know how else to say it, other than THANK YOU for sharing this so simple idea. It’s truly been a game-changer for me.


Vicki W. October 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Congratulations on 5 years! This is my favorite blog on vacuum sealing! I love your ideas, pictures, recipes, and your willingness to share. Truly, I have learned so much here! Thank you for all you do!


Paula October 10, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Thanks Vicki. It has been fun! I’ve also learned a lot.


bonnie October 9, 2014 at 12:22 am

So glad I learned about vacuum-packing from your blog. I never did pack salads in a jar, but use my Foodsaver for just about everything else. Thanks!


Paula October 9, 2014 at 11:42 am

Bonnie, I bet you probably pack some things I never even thought about. Hardly a day goes by I don’t vacuum-pack something.


Lisa October 8, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Congrats!!! Need to do my weekly yogurt, and I do thank you for that as well as all the other awesome recipes of which I use regularly! Thank you.


Paula October 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

You’re welcome, Lisa. Making yogurt can be addicting. 🙂


Barbara October 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm

You got me started. First came the hand held unit & jars with the lid attachments. Then bags. Now I love my big Food Saver vac and make double sized meals & freeze half in vac-sealed bags, which is so perfect right now. 6 days ago I had reconstructive hand surgery, but my hubby doesn’t cook without supervision of every step. Even he can manage warm-ups of my frozen dinners! I also dehydrate to store in vac bags and jars. You changed my life for the better, & I want to thank you for showing me how to begin. I am truly grateful or I wouldn’t be typing this left handed on a tablet with a stylus! I will spend the next 6 months to a year in this manner, so learning this was critical. Thank you forever!


Paula October 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

Hi Barbara,
Get well soon. And thanks for the kind words. So fun to hear has vacuum-packing has improved your life.


Karen October 8, 2014 at 8:26 am

Congratulations on 5 years! I love your salad–in-a-jar process. You bring up a good point about making it more complicated by adding other ingredients, it does become a chore. I realize now, that that’s what happened in our household, so I haven’t used it in a while. I need to get back to basics.


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