Salad Fixins

top pic saladfixins

Wondering what I put on all the salads I pack in a jar? (salad-in-a-jar)  I like variety but convenience, calories and healthiness are bigger concerns. Add the fact we only have a dorm-size personal refrigerator at my work for about 8-10 employees.  So non-perishable and easy to carry in my lunch bag are also good.

smalldressingcontainers

Let’s look at the dressing issue first.  I can’t store a lot of bottles of salad dressing in that tiny refrigerator so I have devised a better system.   In the past, I used small (2-3 oz) plastic containers to make individual servings.  But they were hard to keep up with in the dishwasher and my “plastics” drawer.  Does anyone else have problems with missing lids, or unmatched sets?  I found the solution at the restaurant supply store–small, inexpensive individual plastic cups with lids like restaurants use.  Can’t beat them for convenience.  Toss when done.  I like the small size for two reasons:  portion control and easy-to-carry in my lunch bag. Make up plenty and store in the butter compartment of the refrigerator.  It’s not a good place to store butter because butter needs the coldest spot in the fridge.

Regarding the dressing itself, I prefer homemade.  But time constraints and laziness more often prevail.  I look for something at or below 80 calories per serving.  For a quart jar of lettuce, I need about 2-3 oz. depending on the viscosity of the dressing. Until I come up with something more original (which I will post here when I get to it) my favorite today is the Honey Mustard Great Seasons Brand from Walmart, (I have done extensive research on diet Honey Mustard Dressing and this has been declared the winner.) I also like Ken’s Raspberry Pecan and most any of the diet balsamic vinaigrette dressings. Beware of the extremely low calorie dressings.  I think they taste like flavored water but suit yourself.  I’m not willing to eat crummy food in the name of saving calories.

driedfruitand nuts

Keep add-ons simple.  If I ate lunch at home with a large refrigerator at hand, I would be much more creative.  For now, I like to mix toasted almonds (see note at the end) with smoked sundried tomatoes (found at Krogers and much tastier than plain sundried tomatoes) or dried cranberries, blueberries or other dried fruit. Bags of these combinations will keep for weeks in your desk drawer. Sprinkle ¼ to 1/3 cup of Fiber One in place of croutons.  It may seem weird at first but it really is good and adds lots of crunch and fiber.  It’s also good in place of tortilla strips or fried wonton strips.  Eating salad at home is much more interesting.  I may add marinated mushrooms or artichoke hearts, sliced pickled beets, hardboiled egg, tomatoes, etc.  You probably have your own favorites but watch the calories.  For that reason, I rarely add cheese.

With my system on a busy morning you can:

* Grab a jar of lettuce from the fridge.
* Choose a salad dressing (already packaged in individual container).
* Keep Fiber One (or substitute) and bags of almonds/dried fruit/vegetables at your work or in the pantry ready to go.

Now you can have a healthy salad with no preparation in the morning if you have done your homework (less than 30 minutes with practice) beforehand.

lunchbag with sprinkles

Note:

Did you know you can toast almonds (or pecans or any other nuts) in the microwave?  Place about ¾ c. on a paper plate. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave an additional minute and let sit on the counter till cool.  DO NOT try to cook for 2 minutes without stirring.  They will burn.  (Times may vary with different microwaves.)

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie August 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Is the Honey Mustard a mix or already prepared? Since I am not a Walmart shopper, did not know if it was a mix. Have seen a Good Seasons brand but it is a mix. I agree that you can waste too much fat on the dressing. I like some of the spritz dressings but you do need space in the refrigerator.

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pz August 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm

It’s called “All Seasons” and is prepared–sold in a bottle.

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JanetP January 25, 2013 at 9:31 am

Try balsamic vinegars. They do not need refrigeration.

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Scooter August 6, 2009 at 6:38 pm

The smoked sundried tomatoes and Fiber One are my favorite new toppings.
What a great taste. Keep these good tips coming.

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debby McCrary November 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm

So good to find you still doing what you love. I am definitely a fan!

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Romaine November 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Debby, So good to hear from you. How did you find my blog? Hope all is well.

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Lenore June 11, 2010 at 9:46 am

Have you tried adding the other veggies in before vaccuum sealing the jar? I was thinking to put the whole salad together like carrots, celery, tomatoes, and what ever else you like. I have a food saver and was just about to order the attachment but the shipping of $9 slowed me down. If I could make the whole salad, I may just go for it. Thanks and looking forward to your response.

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Patrice @ Circle-B-Kitchen December 8, 2010 at 10:38 am

Wow, Paula, this is GREAT! I’m so glad I found your website and this wonderful idea for “salad in a jar”! I didn’t know that lettuce would keep so well in a glass jar, but am definitely going to give it a try. And love all your dressings and toppings. We’re BIG salad people here so this is really fun. Thanks!

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Sarah June 6, 2011 at 9:18 am

I love salads and I really like your jar idea! But I’m concerned that you’re eating “diet” dressings and promoting them as healthy because they usually have artificial sweeteners in them and are NOT healthy at all!

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Paula June 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

Hi Sarah, I hear your concern and you are certainly welcome to your opinion. We may have to agree to disagree on this one.

This is my philosophy about the whole sweetener issue. I would rather have sweetener than sugar. Honey, molasses, agave and other natural sweeteners all pack calories too. Although time may prove otherwise, moderate use of sweeteners has not been proven harmful despite what some say. They help me keep my weight in check which ultimately is much healthier than being overweight.

On a personal note, my mom lived on Sucaryl (yikes!)for many years and she will soon be 94.

I assume you totally will disagree with me. However, I am the weight I want to be (doctor agrees) and otherwise abstain from many other unhealthy habits such as drinking, smoking, fried foods, fast foods etc. Since everybody needs at least one vice, I guess sweetener will be mine.

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Lorrie July 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I love the salads but have to disagree with you on the sweetener. I have lost the website.org in a computer crash so I can’t back this up. I was researching fibromyalgia after my diagnosis and stumbles onto a government report from a veterans hospital. Seems that the normal stats for fibro is something like 1 out of a hundred people get it and 6 out of 10 of those are women. (Don’t quote me on the stats, I’m working from memory here.) But in vetrans returning from the Gulf, it was more like 30 out of a hundred and nearly 50/50 male and female. In studying this phenominon, the only commonality they could find was the diet soda donated by the American cola companies. As it turns out, Aspertain is harmless as long as it is below 86 degrees. Above that temp and there is a molecular change and it is poisenous. It settles into joints and ligaments. and builds up over time. The higher the heat the more poison. Trust me as a former truck driver, all diet soda spends time over 86 degrees, in warehouses, trailers, etc. I quit drinking my daily diet soda and miracle of miracles, I do not have fibromyalgia after all. It took about 10 days to be completely pain and medication free. Don’t be fooled into damaging your joints for 9-18 calories.

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Paula July 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hi Lorrie,
Glad you are feeling better. Regards, paula

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Sarah June 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

Well, yes, I knew we would disagree on this. I used to eat plenty of artificial sweeteners too… but I would rather have very little to no real sugar (something a human body can actually recognize and deal with) rather than a chemical proven to be cancer causing. Of course, you have to come to your own decision on this but I just find it interesting, considering that you have plenty of dessert recipes and you use Craisins and other dried fruits (which have lots of sugar/ corn syurp.etc in them) on your salads. I’m not here to pick a fight though, honestly, and I do think the salad idea as a whole is great! :-) Just food for thought. For anyone who is interested: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6551291488524526735#

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Tracey June 15, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Hi Paula,

I really like your salad in a bottle idea, especially since the bottles are reusable; therefore, environmentally friendly. Have you considered using the 1/2 c mason-type jars for your salad dressing rather than the disposable plastic containers? I bought a box of 12 & use them all the time, mainly for salad dressing but also for nuts, seeds, etc as they also make portion control easy – you can’t fit more then 1/2 c in the bottle!!! I also use them for freezing stuff like egg whites, rice, & refried beans in individual portions.

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Paula June 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hi Tracey, The 1/2 cup jars sound perfect. And I agree. Great for portion control.

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Emily July 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I love these ideas! Another thing that I bring for salads is a small, snack size container of mandarin oranges. I love a salad with an Asian dressing, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and a few chow mein strips (although not the healthiest – I’m sure the fiber cereal would be a good substitute). Thanks again!

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Twyla August 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Hi; quick Question for you. I love the idea of the crunchy fiber one add in, but I find it too sweet (I have a nasty “salt-tooth”); what else can you suggest along that line?

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Rachel September 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Just love your idea! I was just saying to my mother in law today that i had so many jars, i didn’t know what to do with them! I guess now I know!! Thanks! Rachel

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Paula September 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm

You’re welcome Rachel. Let me know how it all works out for you. Paula

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Diane September 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I use my foodsaver for everything and i also have the Mason jar sealer and use it to seal rice, nuts, etc and can’t wait to use this on the lettuce. I am not a morning person and wow how wonderful to grab a jar of lettuce. thank you for the idea.

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Angie September 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

Can anyone tell me what Foodsaver model and attachment I need in order to use my mason jars for “salads-in-a-jar”?

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Paula September 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Angie, you need a model with an accessory port. That is a small round hole where the wide mouth attachment hose will connect to the machine. Many FoodSaver models have it but not all. The FoodSaver Mini Plus has it and it lists for 69$ on the FoodSaver website. Then you must order the wide mouth attachment online no matter where you buy the machine. At least I’ve never seen it anywhere else. Personally, I would buy a machine locally where you could return it easily if it doesn’t work and order the attachment online.

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Elle September 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I think you must mean 2-3 TBL of dressing, not 2-3 ounces?

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Paula September 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Elle, Actually, I do mean 2-3 ounces. The little plastic containers hold 2 ounces which is 4 tablespoons of dressing. As I write this, I’m realizing that sounds like a lot but it doesn’t really seem like much because I pack the lettuce in the jars as tight as I can. The lettuce almost fills a 2-quart container when you pour it in a bowl so I need more than the usual “serving” suggested on the bottle.

Hopefully, you can get along with less. Most people can because they don’t pack the lettuce tight like I do. I need a lot of chewing in a day. :-)

Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for giving me a chance to make this a bit clearer.

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Bobbie September 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I was just wondering if you can add tomatos, onions etc to the jar before using vacuum?

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Jessie October 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

WOW!!! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!
Just came across a photo of how to make salad in a jar at Pinterest!
GENIUS!!! and I’m browsing through your blog now. Good Stuff!!!
Thank you!

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Velda November 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I love the whole idea of salad in a jar. We have used our original Food Saver for nearly 20 years now and it gets used śeveral times a day. Salad is another to add to my list of great uses.
I have a question though. Fiber One cereal contains aspartame ( Equal) and I get migraines from it along with a persistent metallic taste so Fiber One is out. Any other cereals out there which you have tried on salad and which don’t have Aspartame? Even many of the other bran cereals such as bran buds have Aspartame. Wish they would take it out of foods. Thanks in advance for ideas.

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Mary December 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Love your ideas!
For salad dressings, diced olives, honey, etc., I use the small zip lock bags that can be purchased at most hobby stores for jewelry, etc. I squeeze out what I want and toss the rest back in my lunch bag for another day. I generally have one of the frozen lunch packs in my bag (no fridge close to me at work), so they stay cool till I get home. I pack 3-4 of each condiment on the weekends and grab what I want each day.

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Paula December 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Great ideas Mary. Thanks for sharing. I had forgotten about those frozen lunch packs but they are ideal for lots of situations i.e. sitting with relatives or friends in the hospital, long shopping trips, etc. Happy New Year!

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Lori December 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Really enjoyed reading your blog. I was also wondering if you have tried adding other vegetables into the jar with the lettuce?

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Paula December 30, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Lori, I wrote about your question on a recent blog post you can see here.

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Jan December 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I love the idea of salad in a jar. Although I am a stay-at-home, it would be great to encourage me to eat more veggies and keep the lettuce fresher longer (my dh HATES seeing me compost so much veggies that don’t get eaten as quickly as possible).

I, personally, do not eat prepackaged cereal since so many of them have some ingredient or another I prefer not to consume. However, either wheat germ or ground flax seed would make great fiber fill in. If you’re looking for more crunch, nuts work great for me, especially sliced almonds.

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Kate February 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I’d like to repeat the question above, which I was also wondering. “Have you tried adding the other veggies in before vaccuum sealing the jar? I was thinking to put the whole salad together like carrots, celery, tomatoes, and what ever else you like.” Hope to hear from you soon! Kate

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Paula February 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Yes, I have tried it but your salads won’t last near as long, depending on the vegetables you choose. Cucumbers, spinach and tomatoes are especially short-lived. I like my lettuce to last at least 8-9 days so I add whatever I want when I eat it. Since the salad is already cleaned and cut, it doesn’t take long to slice up a couple vegetables. You can read more about the subject here. Hope you enjoy your previously prepared but super fresh salad.

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Ogreletmama February 26, 2012 at 11:32 am

Paula-
Thank you SO much for this idea- I HATE packing lunches and have recently made a decision to pack our lunches for the week in one Sunday (before). We are also watching our calories- I’m eating 1200 calories most days (not all-no one is perfect) but my husband can eat 1000 calories more than I can each day (he’s 6’4″ and a big guy). This helps me stay low cal- I had already been eating salad most days anyway, but hated “packing” them. Now I can accomplish all goals without much complaining.
Thanks again- happy chewing (I also need a lot of chew factor!)

Ogreletmama

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Claire Van Allen February 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

Love the idea. Why not use your empty spice bottles for the salad dressing.

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Paula March 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Great idea Claire. However, after awhile, I find it is just easier to buy the little disposable containers and throw them away. That’s just me. pr

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Floyd March 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Hi Paula

love the idea of lettuce in a jar I am going to watch your website more often keep on cooking.
your friend Floyd

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Tara Lee April 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm

My son recommended the other day we have a salad a day for a year, so I went in search of various ideas to help keep it going. Love the idea of the jar and side fixings. Thank you,

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Paula April 17, 2012 at 7:35 am

Tara,
Good luck. I have been eating a jar of salad nearly every day except for weekends for over 7 years now. Paula

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Terri April 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I LOVE this idea! I can’t wait to try it. I think I may add some shredded carrots to the lettuce. If I want to add tomato or cucumber, I can do that when I prepare it. I make my own Bacon/Tomato dressing, so it saves a ton of money.

Thanks so much! I actually learned this when I watched your video on Home-Made Greek yogurt since I make my own Cheddar Cheese.

Thanks Bunches!! Finally–a woman like me!

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Paula April 24, 2012 at 7:30 am

Hi Terri,
So glad you took the time to write. Your bacon-tomato dressing sounds fabulous.

You make your own Cheddar cheese? I’m intrigued. Does it taste a lot better? Paula

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Terri April 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

Hi Paula,

I’ve only made two wheels as of yet. I made them this month in April. I’m aging one for 3 months, and the other one for approximately a year. Different aging times produce the different flavors of mild, medium, sharp and extra sharp. I did not use Annato coloring in the milk, which is what produces the orange coloring, in my cheeses. They will be the Natural Yellow Cheddar or otherwise known as Vermont Cheddar. The orange color of cheese you purchase at the grocery stores are orange because of a coloring agent (Annato) that is added; it doesn’t mean it is a better quality cheese by fat content nor aging. Next month will be a wheel of Parmesan and another wheel of Cheddar. :) I just love your website!! Terri

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Matti November 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Terri, I am DYING to know how your Cheddars turned out! I am a wannabe cheesemaker.

Also, I am trying the salad in a jar starting this week.

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Charlie May 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I’m so excited. I pinned your blog a few months ago and have been intrigued by your salad in a jar concept ever since. We have a hand-me-down food sealer that, I think, is older than me so I doubted it would be compatible with a jar sealer. Well, QVC had a super duper model on sale and a relative ordered me one! Now I just have to get the attachment and I see lots of salad in my future. Thanks SO much.

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Paula May 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Hi Charlie,

You’ll enjoy how convenient it is to grab a jar of salad every day once you have them prepared.

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Angie May 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Hi, great blog! Salad in a jar sounds great, I grow lettuce and would love to keep it cut and ready to eat. You seem well in control of your weight, I need to lose 30-40lbs. What is your daily eating and exercise regimen. Do you eat basically the same thing every day? Thank You!

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Lillian June 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I love it! Now I need to get a vacuum sealer! Any chance that you’ll be doing a giveaway for one of those? =)

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Paula June 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Lillian,

Have you read my post about using a hand held sealer? It’s a much cheaper way to go. In a few weeks I’m going to post about another way to seal your jars for pennies. Check back.

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Lillian June 5, 2012 at 6:48 am

Thanks Paula! I just read your post about the hand held sealer! I’ll have to look into that!

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Linda July 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I am so excited to find this. I have a Foodsaver and have never used the jar attachment. I’m going to go find it and get lunch ready for the week!

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Paula July 30, 2012 at 9:35 am

Linda,
You are in luck. Hope you enjoy your salad greens ready and waiting for you with the pop of a lid.

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Regina July 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I made salad in a jar for the first time the week of July 4th. Today is July 30th, and I found one in the back of the fridge – STILL CRISPY AND FRESH!!!!! I poured it into a bowl and went through it – not one brown piece! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Paula July 31, 2012 at 4:48 am

Regina,
I’m not surprised there were no brown pieces but it doesn’t usually stay fresh tasting that long. In my experience, a week is about the limit. Sometimes 8-9 days if the lettuce was extremely fresh when you started.

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Margaret August 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Hi Paula,
I’m so glad I found your blog! I was researching homemade yogurt ideas and tips. (Also, I made frozen yogurt today, and it tastes bad–like the metal canister that is used with my ice cream machine–so I was wondering if others have had a problem with this.) Anyway, your salad in a jar idea is JUST what I was looking for–in addition to the yogurt info because I need to lose 10 pounds. I can no longer tolerate my tummy, which is where all my weight goes–I’m like Big Bird (skinny legs and a round torso). Ha ha! However, beyond the weight loss needed, I know I feel so much better whenever I have a salad, but the prep is always so time-consuming! Thanks so much for this neat idea, AND for the salad toppings ideas too! Keep up the great work = )

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Shirley Sanders August 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I was researching websites for making food things in jars. I’ve been baking cakes and pies in jars for a long time. Came across your salad-in-a jar and I just loved that idea. I was wondering, can I make the entire salad in the jar, putting in all the vegetables, toppings, etc: and then sealing it ? I do a lot of Summer green markets
in my area and I think this would be great to do this along with my other jar creations. Your reply would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Shirely

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Paula August 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Hi Shirley,
I do not recommend vacuum-packing salads with additional ingredients because it shortens the amount of time you can store the salad. If you don’t care about that and plan to eat them within a day or two anyway, maybe it doesn’t matter. I guess I’m just saying it doesn’t fit with my whole purpose for doing salad in a jar. You can read more about my thoughts and experience with this subject here.

I am envious of the green markets you have available to you. Nothing much like that in my area and I miss them. Thanks for writing.

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Jennifer January 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Just watched your video on how to vacuum the salad in the jar. Amazing! I am a Weight Watchers leader and our topic this month is eating more fruits and veggies. At our meeting today, we talked about how to preserve our produce so it lasts longer. I can’t wait to share this with our members! I’m buying a Foodsaver today! Thanks!

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Paula January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Jennifer,
Great to hear from you. You might want to read these two posts for alternate methods of vacuum-packing for those in your group who can’t afford a FoodSaver.

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Carol February 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Could you use baby food jars for dressing with the ziplock tool and electric tape?

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Paula February 21, 2013 at 6:41 am

Hi Carol,
I haven’t tried it but think it would probably work. Wouldn’t cost much to try it. Great idea.

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Stephanie March 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I just found your site…and am very happy…what great ideas! An earlier post cautioned you on diet dressings. I have found an all natural, calorie free, sugar free, fat free, carbohydrate free, gluten free, cholestoral free (I know sounds tasteless!) that is full of flavor and very good. It is Walden Farms brand and I have found them at WalMart and Albertsons. Also on line at teir site. They have several flavors, including honey mustard, which is very good. Now I am off to explore your site some more. Thanks…

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Paula March 17, 2013 at 7:27 am

Thanks for the tip Stephanie. I have tried them before but will try the honey mustard, specifically on your recommendation.

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Carly Franklin March 18, 2013 at 2:15 am

What an interesting concept! A friend introduced me to your YouTube video and I am intrigued!

I am curious to know…can you add chopped veggies and/or fruit to the salad you put in the jars? For example, I like to chop Roma tomatoes, Gala apples, carrots, cucumbers and green onions (along with blueberries or strawberries) for my salads, so they’re flavorful and filling. Would these items keep as well as the lettuce if added to the jars before sealing?

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Paula March 18, 2013 at 7:23 am

Hi Carly,
This post is my answer to your question. Remember that this vacuum-packed lettuce is a different concept from the layered salads you see on the web which are not normally vacuum-packed.

Thanks for asking.

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Diana March 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hello,

I just want to know if it really stays fresh after 5 days in a jar. Whenever I cut lettuce, I lasts for a day, but when I do not cut it and use it daily bases, I can use lettuce longer.

Thank you,

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Paula March 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Hi Diana,

Your question made me smile. The answer is yes!!! Vacuum-packing chopped lettuce keeps it fresh for a good week, sometimes more. If you were my neighbor, I would show you and give you a week-old jar. You would be amazed. As it is, I guess you will just have to try it. Have you seen this post about how to try it out cheaply?

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Beth Sherrill April 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

I love your site, and your salad in a jar idea. That said, I found an even easier way for me. I wash my lettuce, and I love the artisan mix of 4 small heads of various kinds, that are available at aldi’s or walmart, as well as other stores I am sure. I wash with a vegi wash and drain very well. I then tear the lettuce by hand, takes me maybe 10 minutes for all of it. I put 3 paper towels in the bottom of a big rubber made 5 qt container, and another 3 on top. If the paper looks very wet I pull it out and replace it. That is it, luckily we have full size friges at work, so I can place this in the fridge, and it will last all week. I make it on Sunday and the lettuce is still crisp on Friday! not sure why, but the paper towel to absorb any moisture seems to prevent the slimy nastiness lettuce normally gets after a few days.

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Paula April 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Hi Beth,
Thanks for writing. I think you have found a good method for you–especially if you like the artisan lettuce. One of the best things about that lettuce is the packaging as it tends to keep the lettuce fresher for longer because the entire head is still intact. Furthermore, vacuum-packing is NOT good for the more delicate types of lettuce, e.g. an artisan mix, Bibb lettuce or spinach. It will go slimy rather quickly.

For those of us who prefer the sturdier lettuces such as romaine and raddichio, vacuum-packing is a godsend. But I will mention your method to people who ask about preserving artisan lettuce.

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Patricia Smiley April 11, 2013 at 6:08 am

I am so excited over this Salad in a Jar.. I purchased everything I need yesterday to get started BUT the ONE item I can not find is the ZIPLOCK HAND PUMP. I have been to WalMart, Kroger and Publix.. I just saw where you noted the aisle it should be on.. Will give it another look.. I was so sad after doing all the prep work an that the other hand pump I had did not so the trick..

Thanks for sharing

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Paula April 11, 2013 at 7:45 am

If you can’t find it, you can always order online here.

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Jill Armstrong July 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thank you so much for all your information and help! I am so excited to get the food saver to help me lose weight!

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Steph. July 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Hi Paula: Can you please tell me about how many calories you add on to your lettuce jars (including fixings and dressing?). Thanks so much. Blessings! Steph.

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Paula July 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Hi Steph,
That is a very good question so I sat down and figured it up. My lunch salad will normally include 2 quarts of chopped Romaine, 2-4 tablespoons salad dressing (calorie count can vary with variety but this is where I spend the most calories), a mixture of seeds and dried fruit (a handful–about 1/4 cup), about 1/4 cup Fiber One cereal for serious crunch, and a foil package of water-packed tuna or salmon. The calorie count figures to be somewhere between 300-350. I don’t need or eat anything else for lunch unless I have a small tidbit of a leftover from dinner the day before. If so, I leave off the fish. I do sometimes add other things instead of the seeds and fruit, like a tomato; or a hardboiled egg instead of the tuna. But I don’t stray far. Hope this helps.

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Steph. July 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Thank you so much, Paula! :)

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Paula July 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Actually, I only eat 1 quart of Romaine. I just noticed I wrote 2 quarts. That really would be a lot! paula

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Steph. July 9, 2013 at 11:49 am

Haha! Yes, I figured that you really were not a rabbit. :) I have one more question if you do not find it too intrusive…would you be able to give an approximate breakdown of the calories per day (just roughly) and how you spend them? I think I read that you are eating greek yogurt about twice a day? I am asking because I think part of your success with weight management is eating many of the same things day in and day out, albeit with creativity. I am trying to give myself a plan that is doable, fills me up (I don’t do well starving, but at 51 I cannot eat many calories without gaining) and that works easily for work. Sorry for all the questions and thanks for this wonderful website! :) Steph.

kristyreal January 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

I love your idea and prefer Romaine lettuce so it works great for me! I see that you get asked about adding the other salad veggies into the jars quite often so I thought I would share a trick I learned by accident years ago. Everyone else in my family prefers a simple salad, but I have always loved great variety in the “fixin’s” for mine so I had to get creative. I made one basic salad of carrots, red or green cabbage and Romaine and then made up a bowl of the extras for me (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, raw garlic, radishes, celery, mushrooms, etc.) Obviously, my extras would not last as long as the basic salad until I realized that I could “quick pickle” it in the fridge and it lasts much longer with very little change to the texture. Just chop all those veggies, add in ACV, balsamic or rice vinegar, EVOO and salt. You can add a touch of sweetener, spices or herbs, dijon mustard, etc. to the mix and it will keep fresh for many days. Tomatoes even work because the acidity of the juice will contribute to the pickling, but it won’t last as long with them included…..my solution is cherry tomatoes. Now, the trick is to mix up a batch of this and then package it into the 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jars and vacuum seal them as well. You won’t need as much dressing for the salad (quite possible you won’t need any extra) because you are using a basic homemade vinaigrette for the pickling. The only problem that I can’t seem to solve is how to have fresh mushrooms on my salad without washing and slicing them that day so I use canned mushrooms in my extras – you can also include things like artichoke hearts or pickled peppers or beets.

Also, another handy tip is to keep Mrs. Dash or Bragg’s spice mixes in your desk along with sunflower seeds, gamasio, dulse flakes, red pepper flakes or whatever other toppings you like. I have used the disposable containers to package shredded cheese and cooked, diced meat or boiled egg, beans or lentils so I can grab those along with my lettuce in the morning as well. Obviously I prefer paleo for losing weight rather than calorie and fat counting, but it would work for any style.) I also make lacto-fermented veggie relishes (pickling method that uses salt brine like traditional sauerkraut) that I use in place of my extras when crunched for time or in addition to my extras just because I love pickles.

One more tip for those who love grains like brown rice and quinoa in their salads: cook a big batch, portion it out in snack baggies, flatten the baggie, seal it and freeze. These flat little envelopes take up almost no room in the freezer, thaw quickly, and are the perfect portion for adding to a lunch salad. Pre-cooking large batches of beans or lentils and freezing the same way will allow you to take them directly from the freezer into your lunch bag where they will thaw by lunch time. This is my preferred method for beans, although I do sometimes make a bean salad and portion it out in disposable containers as a salad topping.

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Paula January 6, 2014 at 7:03 am

Wow Kristy–so many good ideas here. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and share.

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JP February 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Salad in a jar is a fabulous idea, thank you. Being a widower, I’m constantly fighting the Best Before Date and hate throwing away food so my two best friends are now the freezer and the FoodSaver. In any case, I found this product that would compliment your idea here: http://www.cuppow.com/products/bnto-04
I personally find it extremely expensive for what it is and have begun a quest to find a little container that would do the same as the BNTO canning jar adaptor. But I am wondering if the vacuum would only happen for the vinaigrette and not the salad portion. Here is a video too: http://vimeo.com/68870138

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Paula February 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

Hi JP,
I have been introduced to this product but did not find it useful for my purposes and I agree with you. It’s a bit expensive. To begin with, you can use small plastic containers inside a quart jar if you want-I happened to have some that fit perfectly. Furthermore, I want to fill the entire jar with lettuce so there is no room for anything else. I just add them as I go. Thanks for writing.

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Sis March 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

I like the dressing-to-go containers! http://www.amazon.com/Evriholder-Dressing-Salad-Container-2-ounce/dp/B0076PNQNU They are much more secure than the little plastic throwaway cups.

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Paula July 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Hi Stephanie,
You are very perceptive. I will write down a quick plan for you and send it to your personal email. I’m actually thrilled and honored that you asked. Be watching for it sometime in the next day or two.

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Steph. July 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

You are extremely kind! I got the fiber one and I actually really like it in salad!
Looking forward to hearing from you! XO, Steph.

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