Salad in a Jar

Vacuum-pack chopped Romaine lettuce for a convenient salad that stays fresh up to 8-9 days.

My number one secret for eating dessert without dieting is eating a large salad in a jar every day for lunch.

Here’s why I, a reformed salad-hater, now love salad:

1.  Limitless variations of dressing and add-ons

2. Gives wiggle room for small indulgences the rest of the day

3. Adds fiber and bulk to your diet

4. Fills me up with few calories

5. Gives lots of chewing satisfaction

6. Easy lifestyle change to implement and adopt forever–this is not a diet!!!!

Does it sound like a lot of work to prepare a salad everyday? Especially on a busy workday morning? Hang on!

I have devised a way to make salad for 7-9 days — at one time. My method takes less than 30 minutes (with a little bit of practice). It will stay crisp and fresh for more than a week.

Consider these benefits of storing salad in a jar.

1.  No brown edges on the lettuce and no wilted leaves

2.  No getting out the salad spinner every day to make a salad

3.  On the run? Grab a jar and take it with you. Eat right out of the jar if necessary although I prefer a bowl or plate.

4.  Save money–especially when you buy the lettuce in bulk from Sam’s or Costco. No more wasting money on prepackaged salads that often aren’t fresh the day you bring them home.

5.   Glass jars are washable. Not only are you helping the environment, you are saving money.

My secret?? A vacuum-pack machine with a wide-mouth jar attachment. I have a FoodSaver brand but I’m sure other brands would also work if they have the right attachment. See this post for more advice on what to buy. Which Vacuum-Pack Machine Should I Buy to Make Salad in a Jar?

ADDENDUM: You don’t have to have a vacuum-pack machine.  See these posts:  How To Vacuum-Pack Salad in a Jar for Less Than $6 (Plus a Video) and Yes, You Can Use a Handheld Vacuum-Pack Machine to Seal Salad in a Jar

This will not work with the plastic bags and the vacuum. The lettuce would be completely squashed and bruised.

PLEASE NOTE:  In my experience this technique does not work well with spinach or spring mix. I wish it did! See this post.  

For a quick overview of the process, check out the video below.

Assemble equipment.

* lettuce
* sharp knife (My favorite is a Wusthoff Santoku knife)
* chopping board
* salad spinner
* very large mixing bowl
* wide-mouth jar attachment
* clean quart-size Mason glass jars with lids
* vacuum pack machine

Fresh Romaine lettuce

My favorite lettuce is Romaine –usually hearts of Romaine. Wash it well but leave intact.


Cut lengthwise through the entire head at least 4-5 times.

slicing lettuce-1

Now slice crosswise about 3/4 to 1 inch apart according to your preference.


Fill salad spinner and spin dry.

new salad spinner

Dump into a very large bowl. Fill jars. I pack them as tight as possible.


Seal jars using a wide-mouth jar attachment and a vacuum-pack machine. Screw on rings as insurance to keep lid sealed. Refrigerate up to 1 week or even longer if your lettuce started out very fresh.

Addendum: Only one wide-mouth adapter is required.  The round, white attachment you see below goes on top of each jar during the sealing process.  First, you put the flat part of the lid on top of the jar. Then you place the wide mouth sealer that has been attached to your machine with the hose you see here (provided with attachment) on top of the jar. Hit the “canister” button. Remove the attachment, leaving the flat lid firmly attached to the jar. Screw collar part of jar lid over the sealed flat lid to insure the lid will not lose its seal over the next few days.  Go to next jar and repeat these steps.

If you have a hand-held vacuum-pack device, see this post for more information.


Store jars in the refrigerator–up to 10 days depending on how fresh the lettuce was to begin with. These will be like gold when you are hungry and want something healthy but have no energy and/or time to prepare a salad. That would be every morning for me.  (Preparing my lunch that is–I don’t eat salad for breakfast.)

salad in a jar in fridge

When ready to eat, pop the lid and empty into a bowl or onto a plate. Add salad dressing, veggies/fruit/nuts and Fiber One (instead of croutons). Enjoy chewing.

salad on a plate

ADDENDUM:  I’ve had several questions regarding the necessity of a vacuum-pack machine.  The secret to the success of salad in a jar is lack of oxygen.  You must vacuum-pack to remove the oxygen.  See this post for pictorial comparison of various methods of lettuce storage.

I like my salad in small pieces so I chop the lettuce with a knife.  Without the vacuum-pack, the cut edges of the lettuce would be brown in a day or two or less. If you leave the lettuce whole, unchopped and untorn, it will last longer even without the vacuum pack. Wash, dry and store in zippered plastic bags with a paper or cloth towel to absorb the moisture.  Of course, you can cut the lettuce when you are ready to eat but I like to have everything ready to go so I have NO EXCUSES for not eating a lettuce salad.

Many people have asked about adding other vegetables.  This can be done but the shelf-life of the vegetables varies a lot compared to the lettuce.  For example, while the lettuce may still be good for several days, the cucumbers you packed with it can go bad within 2-3 days depending on their freshness.  I personally, stick to lettuce only and decide each morning what I will eat with it depending on my mood and availability of fruits and veggies.  Commenter Rick did a study about this and posted his results here.

For more information about which vacuum-pack machine to buy and other details, see related posts below.

Looking for more ideas to make your diet healthier? Click here to see a few of my own personal skinny secrets.

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
How To Vacuum-Pack Salad in a Jar for Less Than $6 (Plus a Video)
Is a Plastic Knife a Substitute for Vacuum-Packing Lettuce?
Can I Add Other Foods to My Vacuum-Packed Jar of Lettuce? 
Salad in a Jar–5 Years Later

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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

ali November 24, 2010 at 2:17 am

Thanks Cristie, and you said it perfectly, it’s a “nice jump start everyday.”


Heidy November 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Hi! I love the idea, and I’m looking forward to trying it. However, I keep stumbling across either really crappy reviews, or crazy price tags. Do you have any suggestions for a relatively poor college student that’s trying to eat healthy? I understand this is an investment n stuff but I have books and rent to worry about , too 🙁


Paula November 9, 2010 at 6:02 am

Heidy, Have you checked ebay or craig’s list for a like-new machine? Also, watch the Food Saver website for specials. They frequently run 50% sales. I bought one at Tuesday morning for quite a good price. They don’t seem to last long according to some people’s reviews but I have not had that problem.

Here’s something else to think about. How much would you pay to be healthier and skinnier? Salad in a Jar is no guarantee, of course, but for me, it helps more than anything else to keep my weight in check. It’s my lunch everyday–along with some small, usually-less-than-200 calorie leftover or half sandwich or burrito. I don’t even consider eating out.

I can imagine it would take some real discipline to pull this off in college when your schedule and eating times may be different every day not to mention friends who are tugging at you to go eat junk food with them. Hopefully, you have your own kitchen with a place to store the machine and jars not to mention refrigerator space for the lettuce.


Carole November 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Is there any reason that your couldn’t add other veggies prior to vacuum sealing ? such as cucumbers, tomatoes, celery etc…


Paula November 8, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Carole, Excellent question. In general, the veggies won’t keep as long as the lettuce–some better than others. Commenter Rick did his own experiment. You can see the results here.

For me personally, I never add extras. It takes more time and I don’t want to spend more than about 20 minutes putting the jars together each week.


Jenni November 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

This is great! Thanks! I never would have thought of that. I love salad, I’m vegetarian and need to watch the pounds I put on, so I eat a lot of salad. If I had the money I wasted in lettuce that has gone bad before I could eat it I’d be rich! We have tons of those jars because my grandma used to can, and I know there’s a food saver somewhere I never use. This is the kind of great idea that makes one wish they had thought of it, well done!


Paula November 9, 2010 at 6:14 am

Jenni, Same here. All the money I’ve wasted on lettuce I didn’t eat is shameful. But no more.

Just a tip about all the jars grandma used to can….In the old days, everybody used small-mouth jars. Unfortunately, they are much more difficult to pack with lettuce and seal (not sure why they don’t seal as easily) than the wide-mouth jars. If you decide to try this, I would definitely recommend the wide-mouth jars. They are a small investment for a huge but “skinny” return.


Cristie October 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm

What a GREAT idea! I’ll be trying this out, it sounds like a great time saver as well as a nice jump start everyday to a healthy lunch. Darling blog you have here 🙂


Paula October 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Thanks Cristie, and you said it perfectly, it’s a “nice jump start everyday.”


Elizabeth September 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm

You are a genius! I came here from foodgawker to see your french bread recipe and was intrigued by the salad in a jar. We have a foodsaver and I’ve used it on jars for other things, but never this. Coincidentally – I was diagnosed today with diabetes and we were just talking about how to eat better and I find your site. This is the perfect way to do salads in an evening and then grab one on the go each morning. Thank you so much for this!!!


Marjorie September 16, 2010 at 11:12 am

I absolutely LOOOOOOVVVE your idea. Thanks so much for sharing!


Elizabeth N September 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Hi, love the idea. Just curious, have you heard of the OXO containers that have the push button vacuum seal? I’m wondering if those would work as well as the jars.


Paula September 15, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I have not heard of these but am intrigued. However, in looking online, I did not see a quart size which is my favorite. I plan to buy one though and try it out.


smspizza September 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

thanks for recept :))


Linda A September 12, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Great idea! I usually keep mine in a Foodsaver cannister. I like the jar idea. There is another way to seal the jars using your Foodsaver if you don’t have the jar sealer. Just put your jar with a lid and screw band on it inside of a Foodsaver cannister. Then suction the air out of the cannister as usual. When it is done remove the lid of the cannister and your jar will be sealed. The air is removed from the jar as it is removed from the cannister. You can now take the screw band off the jar.
Linda A


Paula November 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Linda, this is genius! Take note everybody.


Paula September 2, 2010 at 6:12 am

Kirsten, I took another look and the pictures on the FoodSaver website are a little misleading. (They don’t show the hose that attaches to the machine). I can see why you are confused. See the addendum I added in the post. Hope this clarifies the issue. Again, only one attachment is needed. You use it to seal with the flat part of the metal lid (is there an official name for that? — I don’t know) inside of attachment, then pull it off and go to next jar.


Kirsten September 1, 2010 at 11:11 am

Hi Paula, like Ruthann (comment from July 8th), I’m confused about whether or not you have to buy a jar sealer attachment for each jar … your pictures look like you still use the mason jar lids but the link to the website makes it sound like the jar seal attachment remains on the jar until you open it … so 6-7 if you are doing a weeks worth of salads at once. Can you clarify for us?



rachsbabycakes August 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Thank you Paula! I just ordered my Jar Sealer, so excited!! This will really help me because I already store much of my food in glass jars. We shop at Costco, it’s similar to Sams, and I often have to toss out lettuce because I can’t eat it fast enough.


Betty August 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hi: What a great idea! I love salads, but don’t like all that prep for a day or two. However, I don’t have a vacuum pack machine; is it ok just to buy the Food Saver Jar Sealer?


Paula August 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I’ve never heard of a Food Saver Jar Sealer. All I know about is the jar sealer attachment. Of course, you have to have a vacuum pack machine for the attachment. If you have a link on the web, send it and I’ll check it out.


Janet in Houston July 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I love your sight and visit it often. The “salad in the jar” idea is genius! I ordered the 2 jar lid sealers for my foodsaver and it works great. Thanks so much, I am starting Weight Watchers again and this will help a lot.


Paula July 30, 2010 at 8:01 am

So glad to hear salad in a jar works for you. Best wishes with your endeavors to lose weight.


David Bower July 21, 2010 at 7:49 am

This is really a great idea. However lettuce does get a little boring so maybe some baby spinach, purple cabbage, a few plum tomatoes, carrot sticks, slices of radishes,baby peas,some edamame and some unsalted sunflower seeds and slivered almonds. Please when opening this jar of goodies stay away from all the salad dressings that are high in sodium and high fructose corn syrup. A few drops of olive oil , red vinegar or a few sprays of Balsamic Spritzer is really good. Food savers are great . We use it on all our salmon and chicken breast. Our food saver doesn’t have the port for the lid assembly so I guess were stuck.


Cathy July 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I found your website a while back and I have to say you are so right about the salad in a jar! I had to try for myself because I use the foodsaver put corn in the freezer and it is so good even a year after freezing it. I still wasn’t sure it wouldn’t turn brown, so I cut up my lettuce 9 days ago and it is still as green and fresh as the day I sealed it. I only did 2 jars to see for myself. It is awesome! I am glad to find more uses for my foodsaver and to stop wasting food. Thank you so much and I will be checking your website often.


Romaine July 21, 2010 at 7:50 am

Thanks for the testimonial. Glad it works for you.


Celeste July 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Putting a link to this on my blog, I love this concept! I seriously need to find a reasonably priced vacuum sealer with a wide mouth jar attachment and some mason jars!


SBM13 July 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm

have used a vacuum sealer for many years, haven’t thought of this application but I’m sure going to try it! Sounds like a winner. I’ve used mason jars for many years also and love them to freeze things like sauces and soups because it is easy to thaw in the micro or in a pan of room temp water
before re-heating


Helen July 10, 2010 at 7:19 am

Love the idea! One tip about brown edges on lettuce: Use a serrated plastic knife. I got one for about $5 at a kitchen supply store and use it frequently with great results.


Romaine July 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

Helen, Thanks for your idea. I’ve tried it before and the plastic serrated knife is fine–but not needed if you vacuum- pack in glass jars. The edges don’t turn brown no matter how you cut them. And since I do this in quantity, I want the best, sharpest knife possible so it will go fast. Since I’ve been doing this for years, it only takes me about 20 minutes to prepare salad for 6-7 days.


Ruthann July 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Ok…as I read this it sounds great…. I can see spending 170 dollars for the vacuum machine….

But as I read more – I see that I have to buy one of those special lids for each of the jars I want to seal. According to the manufactures page, I cannot use canning lids for this….
But when I look at your site – it seems like you are saying I can use just the canning lids….

What’s the situation on this??

Thanks 😉


Randy February 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

You don’t have to use one of those attachments for each jar, and you do reuse the canning lids.

I’ve found a better approach–part of it is what is suggested here–poke a small hole in a canning lid, then use tape (I use scotch, others suggest plastic electrical tape) to seal the hole. I just lightly put the tape on over the hole, then use one of those hand held Ziploc vacuum pumps (they’re sold at Walmart to vacuum seal special bags for very cheap–$3-$4). I put the pump over the tape and hole, but try to leave an edge of the tape free (in other words, not held down by the pump), and then pump several times to get the vacuum seal. There’s a little bit of an art to it, but once you get the idea, it works quite well. (I’ve had a few bad lids that wouldn’t seal, maybe because they were very old and the rubber cracked.)

If you use the hole in the lid approach, the lids are very easy to remove for reuse–just lift the tape to break the seal).

You can also reuse canning lids that have been sealed without the hole (including if they’ve been used in a “real” boiling water or pressure canning process) if they are in good condition and if you learn the trick for taking them off without bending them. The trick I learned (from someone else) is to take something like the handle of a typical teaspoon (one you’d stir your coffee with), put it on the thread of the jar, and run it up the thread until it touches and then lifts off the lid).

While I’d doing a partial brain dump here, the one thing I’m cautious and slightly worried about is botulism. Foodsaver warns against vacuum sealing soft cheeses because of the possibility of botulism. (I would like to vacuum seal cream cheese (while refrigerating it). Foodsaver warns against this, but a UK site seems to think it is OK.)

The salad ingredients we’re talking about here (lettuce, carrots, peas, broccoli, etc) are not acidic, and this vacuum sealing process is not a real canning process, so there would seem to be potential for the growth of botulism producing bacteria. I will keep trying to learn more, and, will err on the side of caution in throwing any of the salads away if I start to see signs of spoilage.


Meal Plan Mom (Brenda) July 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm

I LOVE this idea! My husband has been buying the bagged salads forever because our local grocery store would put them on “clearance” a few days before they were to expire. Lately though he says they have not been having them discounted so he’s stopped eating salads as much. We’ve had a Foodsaver for years and I’ve not used it in a couple of those year…but I may have to order the attachment and pull it out. Ironically I also just came across some off the canning jars in the attic and thought I should just donate them…now I’ve found a new use for them.

I will be posting this tip on my blog too–what a great meal planning trick! Thanks!


Lisa June 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

After finding your blog, I had to give this a try. I bought the wide mouth attachment and I have been doing my salads this way for the past 3 weeks and I LOVE it. I just grab a jar in the morning on my way to work and it has made mornings much quicker and my Friday salad is as fresh as Monday’s salad. Thanks for sharing your great ideas.


stephanie June 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Just found your site and LOVE it. I have a food saver machine, with a few plastic jars included. Does the food saver machine work on the mason jars? I’m not sure I understand how you would take the air out without the handy hole that the included plastic jars have. Since I LOVE dessert (especially the coffee angel food cake) need to eat those salads.


Romaine June 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Stephanie, you must have the special wide-mouth attachment. It can be ordered on line for about 10$.


Niamh May 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

This is an outrageously brilliant idea. You’re a genius!


Sandi Vanthoff May 17, 2010 at 12:57 am

I have been using the Foodsaver for years. You are spot on with using the jars. My only suggestion would be, try not to cut lettuce with a knife. Just tear it with your hands. The leaves will not turn brown so quickly. A great idea and thanks for sharing. Your pictures are fantastic.


Romaine May 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I hear ya about the knife. However, I make this stuff in a huge quantity—and I like small pieces. It would take me forever. I have found the lettuce does not brown on the edges when vacuum packed even when cut with a knife so I chop away. Thanks for visiting.


Erica April 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I love this idea. I’m not a big salad fan but really need to do something to eat healthier. Can I ask what it was that made you start to like eating salad? Is it that you did it so frequently you just started liking it? If someone has prepared a nice salad, I will enjoy it but I dread making my own so I’m hoping this idea will help me! 🙂


Randy February 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

For me, learning to eat salad started with eating salads packed with flavorful stuff that might not have been all that healthy–a salad dressing that I like, bacon bits, possibly shredded cheese or cold meat, tomatoes. Over time I’ve learned to include more and more healthy stuff (with crunch) (carrots, broccoli, snap peas, green pepper, sometimes beans like garbanzo or kidney beans) and less of the unhealthy stuff. I substituted those “fake” (vegetable based) bacon bits for the real thing, and rarely add cheese or meat any more (although that wouldn’t be all bad).

The most recent improvement is finding out this site–now I cut up a head of lettuce and pack it into pint jars with other vegetables (except tomatoes). So, to make a salad, I just get out a jar of salad, dump it in a bowl, cut up part of a tomato, add it, some croutons, some bacon bits, and salad dressing. Much less of a hassle than cutting up part of a head of lettuce each time.


shorty April 9, 2010 at 12:26 am

I am not sure how I found your blog but I tried your salad in a jar and LOVE IT! I tried mine with carrots and cut up tomatoes and it worked but I would add cherry tomatoes next time. I am going to try with lettuce, spinach and cabbage too. I love being able to grab one out of the fridge when ever I need it. I have gotten hooked on adding beans to my salad! Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this AWESOME idea. I will never go back to making daily salad!


Romaine April 9, 2010 at 5:57 am

So glad to hear you are enjoying daily salad. Love your ideas about adding veggies.


Rick March 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Thanks for the excellent idea! I tried an experiment with adding veggies to the salad in a jar. Celery, carrots, and green peppers worked great, though “fragile” vegetables like cucumbers and mushrooms certainly don’t last as long as lettuce does. My results:


Janell March 19, 2010 at 6:20 am

Hi, Paula, I love this idea. My dad just bought me a foodsaver several months ago. I work full time and have a wonderful and energetic 3 year old. I am always on the go and always looking for time saving tips. I love salad, and is time consuming to make. I can’t wait to try this, I will need to buy the jar attachment. Thank you!!!


Neil February 12, 2010 at 10:45 am

With the FoodSaver jar sealing attachment, you only need the Ball jar lid. You do not need to use the band (and shouldn’t while vacuuming). The vacuum inside the jar holds the lid down securely.


Nicki February 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

Does the vaccum seal attachment fit over the jar lids? On their website it says that the attachment replaces the lids.


Stan January 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I’ve been researching this topic for a while and I’d like to offer a suggestion for those cramped for funds. I don’t have a vacuum sealer yet, but the information for a Pump N Seal has me leaning in that direction. Pump n Seal goes for about $32.00, and it is capable of 25+ inches of mercury. I think it’s a mediocre choice for bags (from what I’ve read) but probably a good choice for those who use jars.

I used quart mason jars a while back for salads with lots of other veggies included. I don’t have a vacuum sealer (yet), and I did experience some browning as you suggested, but only after about 4 days. It seems logical that the vac pack idea could concievably double that time in a good cold fridge, and I was excited to see this page. I was about ready to pull the trigger on a pump n seal before reading this, but I’m gonna order it for sure now. I want to try both the little valve thingys and the FoodSaver Lid Sealers, as I can see uses for both methods. Thanks for posting this and all the pictures!



Ladawn November 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Love the lettuce in a jar idea! I recently used my foodsaver to preserve chocolate in various forms (chips, candy bars, powder, etc. and also a variety of seeds,nuts, snack mixes and dried fruits–I love knowing I have all those things that don’t need refrigeration in my pantry (for a pantry, it’s huge- roughly 5×15′!) We also pressure can beans and meats and I want to can some breads and cakes and butter, too. I think I’ll try using the foodsaver to seal some cereals and baking ingredients, too. It’s great that jars can be opened, partially used and resealed several times. Thanks for sharing!


Meema J November 15, 2009 at 5:44 pm

I love this idea.
We have had a Foodsaver machine in the family but it was generally only used around this time of year to package & freeze venison that the menfolk got during the deer hunting season here in Wisconsin.
Thanks again.


Michelle Pugliese November 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Are the seals for the canning jars re-usable?


Romaine November 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Michelle, Yes, they are—over and over and over unless you accidentally bend them.


Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free October 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I have thought and thought about buying a FoodSaver. It’s just my husband and I and he travels a lot – sometimes last minute. Balancing grocery shopping is tough. I can’t stand to have food go to waste – I might finally have to get one of these.

Everyone has their own kitchen tricks – I love learning about all of them.


Kris October 31, 2009 at 8:51 am

As a personal chef, I have been leaving salads in gallon ziploc bags for my clients for years. I leave a fresh paper towel or two crunched up and they stay well for a week or longer. They are always amazed!


Gina October 29, 2009 at 7:41 am

I got a foodsaver for an early birthday present. I’m waiting for the wide mouth attachment to come from Amazon. Do you have any other good advice for ways to use the foodsaver? I’m planning on getting some lettuce to try soon.


anita November 25, 2009 at 6:25 pm

You can put just about ANYTHING in the mason jars with vacuum sealing. It will never take the place of canning, so stuff that has to be refrigerated still needs to go in the fridge.
-When you open a canister of coffee, transfer 2/3 of the can into mason jars and seal. It really keeps the flavor much better that way.
-Seal cottage cheese, or cubed/shredded cheese
-You can freeze in mason jars as long as they are the sloped size jars. As tempting as it may be, don’t pop ’em straight from freezer into microwave. With the sloped jars, you can rinse the sides of the jars to loosen the contents and they will slide out easily. Soup works great like this.
-You can seal ANYTHING you’d normally keep on the shelf: popcorn, pancake mix (I buy the big 5lb bags of krusteez mix), brown sugar, rice, tea bags, oatmeal, just about anything you can think of. It keeps the staples bug free, moisture-free, and fresher longer
-use small jars for long term spice storage
-The wide mouth jars are also good for marinating meat (foodsaver sells a device for this but it is pricey) that is either cubed or in smaller sizes. Marinating goes much faster because the vacuuming pulls the liquid into the pores of the meat, I think
-You can toss fresh veggies in jars and keep them in the fridge (I like celery sticks, carrots sticks, cucumber wedges)
-The sky is the limit.
Note: you can re-use the lids indefinitely as long as you don’t bend them (which can happen when you pry them off). For things that I use often (like tea bags) I use the pin-hole trick. You can find it online in a bunch of places, but in a nutshell: you poke a small hole in the top of the lid, and then put a piece of electrical tape over it. Seal like normal, but then when you want to access your contents, you can pull up on the tape and it releases the seal and the lid can be pulled off easily. Simply put the tape back on and seal back again. I wouldn’t recommend this for anything you keep long-term, but for often-accessed items it works like a charm.

Sorry this went long!


elwood March 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I would not recommend your technique with tea or coffee – at least not more than once for storage. Every time you ‘re-seal’ you are literally sucking aromatics out of the bean/leaves. That is why most coffee roasters have swtiched to actually pressurizing the tins with inert gases (to keep the oxygen away) rather than sucking the air out. Coffee should also be away from light, so if you go with a clear jar, put it in a cupboard.

The best way to keep coffee is freezing – go straight from the freezer to the grinder. If you buy ground coffee, then all is lost already 😉


Paula March 29, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Hi Elwood, Noted. I don’t do it myself anymore. Too much trouble to seal and unseal everyday.


Cathy January 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I make homemade jam. I’ve spoiled my kids – none of them will eat store-bought jam. This caused my Naval LT son a problem, ’cause they don’t have homemade jam on US ships. I didn’t want to mail jars which could break, so tried sealing it in foodsaver bags, and sending them with plastic storage containers. It works great! Now I can send all kinds of food items to family all over the country! You just have to gauge when to hit the “seal” button so it doesn’t suck the jam out, or squash the cookies or breads.


Sarah Galvin October 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Love this salad in a jar idea. I have begun to keep berries in a jar and they keep much longer. I don’t even vacuum pack.


Romaine October 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm

vicsailgarden, I’m not sure about the lemon or vinegar. But I’m skeptical. Oxygen is the culprit. That’s why the vacuum pack lettuce stays fresh so long. No oxygen inside that jar. If you eat a lot of salad or would like to, it’s worth the money.


vicsailgarden October 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I wonder if you rinsed the lettice in a little lemon (or vinegar) water, maybe they would last longer (if you don’t have a vacuum packer).


Gina September 12, 2009 at 10:36 am

My family is leaving for vacation and I’m staring at my foodsaver and the 5 heads of Romaine lettuce I have waiting to be preserved. 🙂 However, when I use my salad spinner, it never dries the lettuce completely. Do you seal with the residue moisture or do you have a secret of how to get your lettuce bone dry? I have placed in an unbleached pillowcase and ran it through the spin cycle in my washing machine and it works very well but I’d like to make sure the lettuce isn’t stripped of it’s moisture. Any advice would be great as we’re leaving tomorrow. 😉


kathy November 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

After I wash/spin my lettuce I place in a clean kitchen towel, roll, and flatten out. Dries in minutes!


Valerie! September 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Fiber One instead of croutons — great idea! I like those crunchy chow mein noodles in my salad, so I’d imagine it would taste pretty much the same. Great site, and I love the photos!


Sherry September 11, 2009 at 1:05 pm

What a great and creative way to do lettuce. I have looked at vacuum pack machines but was never sure what I thought of them. I love this idea. I have been working to loose those extra baby pounds and this looks like an excellent way to stay motivated. Thanks for sharing your ideas! My husband is from Indiana. We don’t live there, but I notice I admire the ladies I have met from IN. They are practical and capable. Good problem solvers and lots of fun too. I found your site when I read 9-11 comments on PW’s web site. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROMAINE!



Trish September 9, 2009 at 7:55 am

I LOVE this! I think I may need to borrow the idea.
Adding you to my blogroll, recipes look divine as well.


kitchen Butterfly September 9, 2009 at 2:16 am

Wow. Lovely photos. Great tips…and another lover of Romaine lettuce. Yippe


Jeannette August 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm

why just lettuce? i would like to add tomatoes and cucumber to REALLY save time. have you tried this yet? is there a reason that it only works with lettuce?


Romaine August 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I stick to lettuce because 1) different foods have different lifespans under vacuum–can depend on their freshness too. I want my lettuce to last at least 8-9 days and not sure other things can go that long. 2) I’m not really big on raw vegetables other than tomatoes (which I don’t refrigerate) and carrots. I LOVE veggies–but prefer them at least slightly cooked. But it might work great for you. Let me know…


Emme August 16, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Great idea! I tend to like my salads about 50% romaine, 40% other chopped vegetables and 10% combined other (fruit, cheese, nuts, salad dressing, avacado, etc.)

Had you tried a test of how long these last without the vacuum seal? I think the lettuce by itself might hold up for a few days. I’ll have to check it out. Love the fact that it is in re-usable glass! Thanks for the idea.


Romaine August 17, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I haven’t officially tried it without a seal. However, I’ve had jars lose their seal and they go bad in a day or two. When oxygen hits all those cut edges, the lettuce turns brown and limp in a hurry–just like the bags of prepared lettuce at the grocery store. Vacuum packing is the secret.

I’ve learned to always screw the collar on the jar to prevent losing the seal.


Val August 25, 2012 at 4:52 am

If you cut your lettuce with a ceramic knife, the edges won’t turn brown any faster than normal, even without a vacuum seal.


Paula August 25, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hi Val, Thanks for writing.
Have you tried a side by side experiment? Several people have said the same about a plastic knife. But when I did a side by side test, there was no comparison. The vacuum-packed cut lettuce stayed fresh much longer. You can read about it here.

I plan to buy a ceramic knife and try the same experiment, although I am dubious. It is the lack of oxygen that keeps the cut edges from turning brown. Regardless, I will post the results when I do it. Thanks for the challenge.


Val August 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Sorry, my comment wasn’t clear. I meant that using a ceramic knife will keep lettuce fresher than using a metal knife, but not as fresh as using a vacuum seal. That’s for those of us who don’t have vacuum sealers. Ceramic knives are much sharper than plastic ones, at least on par with my steel knives if not better. My favourite benefit is that ceramic slices tomatoes incredibly well; much better than anything else I’ve ever used.

Jean Summers August 9, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I love your website! Your sister, Kay, and I have been friends for a long time and have been out West with her and Elliott many times. She told me about your website. I love to cook and try new recipes. We eat lots of salads and I am going to try your salad in a jar method.


Romaine August 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Hi Jean,

Welcome. Glad you stopped by. Hope you are enjoying the salads. Have you seen the new house yet?


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