How to Make Salad in a Jar That Lasts a Week–a Video Debut and FAQ

I‘m not much in the mood to cook this week. I usually feel that way after marathon cooking sessions connected with holidays or parties, even though I love doing it. Just as well. I have something else to share.

I recently put up a new video on You Tube entitled “How to Make Salad in a Jar That Lasts a Week”. This is no great Hollywood production but I hope it will inspire you to give this idea a try if you’ve been curious.

This also seems like a good time to answer questions about making Salad in a Jar in a way that’s easier to read than sifting through the entire comment section. If you still have unanswered questions, leave them in the comments here and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Frequently Asked Questions about Salad in a Jar

I’ll start with the NUMBER ONE, TOP QUESTION!

1. Can I include other vegetables along with the lettuce?

Yes, but the length of time you can keep the lettuce-filled jars will most likely be shorter (much shorter in some instances) depending on which vegetables you add and how fresh they are in the beginning. Personally, I never add anything to the lettuce for 3 reasons:

  • It takes longer to prepare the jars. I don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes–MAX– on a job that loses its novelty after awhile. Don’t misunderstand. 20 minutes of trouble is well worth the benefit– kinda like doing push-ups. But this is a lifestyle for me so it has be sustainable.
  • I want my salads to last at least a week or longer.
  • I never know what kind of salad I’ll be in the mood for from one day to the next so a simple jar of lettuce gives me a clean slate.

Reader Rick did an experiment adding various veggies to his jars of lettuce.  You can read about it here.

2.  I’ve heard rinsing the lettuce in lemon juice or vinegar will help it stay fresh longer, so maybe I don’t really need this machine.

After a reader suggested this, I did a side-by-side experiment rinsing lettuce with diluted lemon juice compared to vacuum-packed lettuce. The lemon-juice-rinsed and cut lettuce was beginning to turn brown after 3 days. No comparison!

3.  Any suggestions for other ways to use a vacuum-pack machine?

There are too many to count but these are MY current favorites. See comments on the original Salad in a Jar post for other ideas.

  • Use jars for rice, flour, oatmeal, granola and other dry pantry items. It’s also good for homemade stir-fry sauce, barbecue sauce or salad dressing stored in the fridge.
  • Use the (way too expensive) bags for cheese, leftovers, and meat. (Can you tell I am not compensated in any way by FoodSaver?)

4.  Are the flat lids used to seal the jars reusable?

Yes, until they get bent or they rust. I still use some of the ones I started out with 7 years ago.

5. Do I need an attachment for each jar and where do I buy one?

No. The attachment fits over the opening with a flat lid between the top of the jar and the attachment. Once sealed, the attachment is pulled off. See video.

Large mouth jar attachments are available online.  I’ve never seen them in a store but sightings have been reported.

6.  Which vacuum-pack machine should I buy?

I only know about FoodSavers so I can’t speak about other brands. Look for a machine that has a port for the attachment. I talk about that in the video. You don’t need all the bells and whistles for this project but the really cheap ones don’t have a port, so beware.

7.  I prefer to tear lettuce with my hands or cut it with a plastic knife because it helps keep the edges from browning. Why is that unnecessary with this method? Vacuum-packing removes the oxygen that causes the lettuce to brown. I use a sharp knife so I can chop it fast and in fairly small pieces. Hands and plastic knives are way too slow for me. Remember?!  20 minutes. MAX. That’s all the time I allow.

8. Can I preserve other types of greens in the same way?

I’ve experimented with spinach and spring mix. Neither lasted more than 3-4 days. They’re just too fragile. Although some say it works for them. I can’t recommend it. I’m a hearts-of-Romaine girl.

9. How often do you eat salad in a jar? 

It’s what I take to work for lunch every day– along with a very small serving of something that’s hot i.e. soup or leftovers, just to keep things interesting.  

10. Do you get tired of lettuce?

Honestly, yes. I weary of preparing the jars so I try to do it on the weekends when I’m not tired or rushed like I am at 6 AM getting ready for work. If I get sick of eating salads, I take a break but I’m usually back to them in a day or two because I feel more energetic and my clothes fit better. When I get bored, I switch up the toppings and dressing.

11. I already have a lot of old Mason jars but they don’t have a wide mouth. Can I still use them?

Yes, but the wide-mouth jars are much easier to fill, empty, seal and wash. I HIGHLY recommend them.

12. A vacuum-pack machine can be pretty pricey. Any suggestions?

Places you might check include Tuesday Morning, Ross, eBay, warehouse stores, Walmart, Target and online. Or just ask around.  Many people have one sitting in their cabinets that they quit using after they ran out of the original bags that came with the machine.

13. One last reminder. Wash your lettuce thoroughly and keep refrigerated at all times for safety’s sake.

 

Many thanks to my friend, Caleb Hastings, who shot and edited the video.  I think he did a great job considering what he had to work with.

Here is a sampling of what others are saying about their experience with Salad in a Jar

(We’re talking about vacuum-packed lettuce here– not to be confused with the many versions of a layered salad with dressing and various veggies added to the jar but not vacuum-packed.)

http://blog.rickk.com/food/2010/03/the-great-salad-experiment.html

http://lunchitpunchit.com/2011/07/salad-in-a-jar/

http://www.patchworktimes.com/2011/11/13/salad-in-a-jar-start-to-finish/

http://farmflavor.com/salad-in-a-jar/

http://lifehacker.com/5830602/enjoy-fresh-salads-all-week-with-a-vacuum-sealer-and-mason-jars

http://www.realfoodallergyfree.com/2011/08/salad-in-a-jar/

http://steamykitchen.com/17001-fab-finds.html

http://www.whateverdeedeewants.com/2011/05/salad-in-jar.html

http://coloradocraftmomma.blogspot.com/2012/02/lettuce-in-food-saver.html

 

Related Posts:

Salad Fixins

The Lettuce Experiment

How to Make Salad in a Jar That Lasts a Week–a Video and FAQ

Which Vacuum-Pack Machine Should I Buy to Make Salad in a Jar?

Yes, You Can Use a Handheld Vacuum-Pack Machine to Seal Salad in a Jar

Is a Plastic Knife a Substitute for Vacuum-Packing Lettuce?

Can I Add Other Foods to My Vacuum-Packed Jar of Lettuce? 

Email This Post Email This Post Share Follow me on Pinterest

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorraine November 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Excellent video tutorial, Paula! I love watching and listening to you :)

Reply

Der November 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm

That was great, Paula!!!! Watching you in the kitchen is even more inspiring than looking at your beautiful pictures. When are you going to do a yogurt video?

Reply

Paula November 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Actually, I’ve already done a video on making yogurt but it’s not ready yet. Thanks for your encouragement.

Reply

Betty @ scrambled hen fruit November 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Love your video! (looking forward to the yogurt one too) I got my Food Saver at a thrift shop- it was nearly new. I have the attachment for a small mouth jar- I’ll have to see if I can find the wide mouth now! :)

Reply

The Café Sucré Farine December 1, 2011 at 6:28 am

Fabulous job Paula! So professional and easy to follow! I’m going to be looking for a good buy on a Food Saver now that I’ve seen this wonderful technique! Thanks!

Reply

`Suzanne December 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

Love this video, another great video that inspires me to get busy. Paula that is a lot of lettuce for your lunch, now I know what is keeping so thin. So glad I found you over a year ago, I enjoy your blog and the comments back and forth. BTW my friend made your rolls for our Thanksgiving and they were fantastic :).

Reply

Paula December 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Yes, Suzanne, it is a lot of lettuce. I love to eat–what can I say? But when I finish with my fairly simple but tasty salad, I know I have eaten–unlike eating 2 pieces of pizza, for example, that goes down fast and barely fills me up and has twice the calories.

Glad to hear the rolls were good!

Reply

Becky December 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Great video, Paula! I have been thinking of getting a Foodsaver for some time, but I am afraid it would languish in the pantry. Do you use yours routinely for other foods?

Reply

Paula December 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Becky,
I do use it but more for salads than anything else. See #3 in the list of FAQ on this post for some ideas. The bags FoodSaver sells to use with their machine are ridiculously expensive so that decreases my desire to use the bags. Anytime I can use a jar is better. Thanks for writing.

Reply

Pam D. from MI December 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Thanks so much for doing the video. I’m a newcomer to your blog and enjoy it very much.

Reply

Meghan December 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I found your original article posted on Pinterest a few months ago and just got to try this last week. The salad still looks fresh in my fridge! Thanks!!

I just wanted to add that although I had read about this months ago, I only just got to try this last week because I do not have a foodsaver and I did not have the money to purchase one. While walking through Target last week, though, I found a little gadget next to the foodsavers that is a hand held foodsaver. It’s like having the hose portion of a foodsaver, they even make special bags that work with it. Best of all it was only about $18! I bought that as soon as I saw it. I purchased the regular and wide mouth sealers from amazon. So if you really want to try this method and don’t have a foodsaver look for the handheld version! It works great!

Reply

Paula December 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Meghan, I went out an bought one on your recommendation. You are right! I wrote about it on my Facebook page. Now I am giving it away (don’t need three FoodSavers). Thank you very, very much for figuring this out. Saves space too compared to the big ones. Not quite as versatile but many people won’t care about that. Paula

Reply

Megan's Cookin' December 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Loved the video! I sooo want a foodsaver too. I was going to ask for one for Christmas but I wanted a new biker more. I’ll have to keep an eye peeled for one at a yard sale or thrift store!

Reply

Vicky Duecker December 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Question I have is this……if you don’t fill the quart jars full, like half way, and seal them with the food saver machine, does the lettuce still stay as long as you say it does for full jars. I like a big salad too, but sometimes time does not allow me to eat as big a salad as I like to at work! Thanks! Vicky D

Reply

Paula December 3, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Vicky, Yes. The lettuce will stay just as long. I have opened jars, poured some out and resealed the half that was left. No problem. Paula

Reply

Vicky Duecker December 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Hi! I found wide mouth pint jars at the grocery store here in town (HEB in Fredericksburg, Tx.) and bought a case along with one head of Romain lettuce. Dear sweet hubby(DSH) did the food saver routine after I stuffed the jars! One head did 4 jars for me to use this week. I took jar #1 today and was totally impressed because it was so fresh tasting, even after cutting and stuffing in the jar! Hope this helps others who need the smaller version of jars! I will DEFINITELY pass this info along to others! The test is days down the road this week! Love your site and info!
Vicky D

ps…saw the hand held machine on amazon and contemplated getting it for my daughter but not sure if she would use it or not…gotta confer with her before spending the money! BTY…Amazon has the pint size bags for the food saver machine that I had never seen before! Yes, I ordered me some…DSH said “cheap enuff!” so, I ordered three sets of 28 bags! Amazon & I are great friends! (you should see my book case of cookbooks…..) :) Hugs and God Bless!

Reply

Paula December 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Yep, Amazon is flat dangerous for me. Seems like you and me, both, might have a thing for cookbooks. Hope you like the salad. Paula

Reply

Jen December 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Love the video! You seem very relaxed and natural :)

Reply

Jenny December 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Your video looks great, and you had a really nice “stage” presence in front of the camera!

Reply

Paula December 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Great to hear from you Jenny. My applesauce turned out great although I was a little heavy handed with the mulling spices. Either left it too long or used too much but not really a problem as we are eating it like crazy. I found it is delicious mixed up with my homemade yogurt.

Reply

Jessy @ Farm Flavor December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Great video, and thanks for linking to our Salad in a Jar post!

Reply

Julie December 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Excellent follow-up to your original post! I recently linked to your original post and added my own thoughts on my blog, including a much less expensive alternative to the FoodSaver for vacuum sealing: http://blog.customexcelspreadsheets.com/2011/11/simplified-week-jarring-veggies.html

Reply

Brenda @ Meal Planning Magic December 31, 2011 at 10:36 am

This is a great video–thanks so much! I want to start doing this in the New Year and dust off my Foodsaver and put it back into use! Do you know if the wide-mouth vacuum sealer will work on small mouth jars too? I have a combo of both styles and want to make sure I get the right jar mouth sealer. Thanks so much for all your great ideas!

Reply

Paula December 31, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hi Brenda, Happy New Year! Your attachment must match the size of the mouth of the jar. Therefore, if you have regular-mouth jars, your attachment must be the smaller one. Wide-mouth jars require the wide-mouth attachment. I recommend the wide-mouth jar. The seal easier and and much easier to fill and empty.

Reply

Nancy in NW PA March 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

The UPS guy just brought my mason jar sealing attachment and I am so happy. I’d gotten my foodsaver several years ago from my son and daughter-in-law and really didn’t use it much. I would dig it out and use it occasionally but never wanted to give counter space to it. Got some romaine (the BEST stuff) and followed your instructions. It works fine and even better – your video on using a handheld device was just what I needed. I already have one and it takes up even less space. All I needed was the jar sealer. Now I’m back to eating salads more often. Thanks.

Reply

Paula March 16, 2012 at 6:16 am

Hi Nancy,
Your story sounds much like mine. I would never have imagined eating a big salad nearly every day if you told me that 10 years ago. Like you, my vacuum sealer rarely saw the light of day after I went through the bags that came with the machine. Thanks so much for writing.

Reply

Leann April 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I find many uses for mason jars and my foodsaver vacuum attachment – I freeze shreaded cheese, cooked ground beef (great for chili, spaghetti, sloppy joes, tacos without having to cook it every meal), all dry goods stored in pantry – I also found some 2 quart wide mouths that are wonderful for that. I also use mason jars for most of my leftover dinner storage in the fridge. the pint size wide mouth makes a great way to reheat (remove lid) and serve for lunches.

Reply

Trudy August 4, 2012 at 7:14 am

Salad Dressing suggestion: I start with Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix (the little envelopes) but use balsamic vinegar and olive oil and change the ratio to make it healthier. I use recommended amount of vinegar, double the amount of water, and still fill to line on the jar with oil (which is less than originally called for). The balsamic is such a strong flavor that it doesn’t taste watered down. For taking to work I use those little glass jars that had jelly samples in them. Sometimes they come in holiday fruit baskets. I’ve also been known to swipe them off room service trays in hotels (when set out for trash of course!). Enjoy your blog! looking for a foodsaver vacuum at yard sales now!

Reply

Paula August 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for the salad dressing idea, Trudy. Definitely going to try it.

Reply

Virginia August 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

I am a deaf person who is really interested in this idea. So when I saw that your video is supposedly captioned, I was quite excited to watch it.

Sigh…another victim of YouTube’s claims to have an “instant captioning” program that takes care of your accessibility concerns. Sorry, but so much. If you turn on the captioning and watch your video, you will see that this captioning program is loaded with errors that make watching your video basically incomprehensible. That’s because it is based on utilizing voice recognition software – it “listens” to the soundtrack and attempts to translate it into written mode. As you can see, it does a poor job of it.

Fortunately you do have enough written content that I can get the gist of what is in the video, and of course there are other sites with information as well. However, you may want to keep this in mind for future videos. I recommend that you upload an actual typed up transcript to YouTube when you upload your video – then YouTube will insert the transcript into your video utilizing the proper wording.

Thank you.

Reply

Paula August 30, 2012 at 5:09 am

Hi Virginia,
So nice to hear from you. I have never given a thought to the whole YouTube captioning thing. I wrote the post years before the video so I know you don’t have to have the video to figure it out. Nevertheless, it is worth looking in to. Thank-you.

Reply

Karen January 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

Golly, I just can’t see the purpose behind all this fuss. I grow lettuce in my garden, and in summer when it is too hot, I buy it at the Farmer’s Market. I rinse all the leaves in cool water, then spin dry and put into a zip lock bag with a paper towel. All my lettuce lasts 2 weeks in my 37° fridge. Sometimes, a few of the romaine leaves may have some brown on the white stem part of the lettuce, I just cut it off. I alsom grow Mizuma, arugula, Tatsoi, Bak Choi, and other greens. They all last well.

Reply

Paula January 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

Karen,
Oh, how I envy you. A garden to grow your own lettuce (too many trees here) and a good Farmer’s Market. And look at all those varieties you have to choose from. Wow! My situation is different. Vacuum-packed salad in a jar works for me because the lettuce is CHOPPED and ready to eat. Since I live in suburbia, work full-time and like to carry my lunch, it is super convenient to grab a jar on my way out the door. Even if I had a garden and washed the greens ahead of time, I’m pretty sure I would not take the time to tear and cut lettuce at 6:00 in the morning. I guess there are a few other people like me, so this technique helps them as well.

Thanks so much for writing though, and enjoy your wonderful garden.

Reply

Rachael February 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I am so glad you did this video, enjoyed it and love your site. Keep up the great work! Now I’m going to go make myself some salads in a jar!

Reply

Belinda B November 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Paula, great video. Love the concept. Great picnic idea as well. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: