If you came here looking for layered salads inside a Mason jar, I’m so sorry, I don’t do that…BUT DON’T GO AWAY JUST YET. I have an even better idea. Keep reading to find out how Salad in a Jar-A Simple Method for Preserving Cut Lettuce will make grabbing a salad for lunch as quick and easy as opening a bag of chips.
These plain jars of lettuce you see above have changed my life. I have some just like them sitting in my refrigerator at all times. Check out the benefits:
- Limitless variations of dressing and add-ons
- Gives wiggle room for small indulgences the rest of the day
- Adds fiber and bulk to your diet
- Fills me up with few calories
- Gives lots of chewing satisfaction
- 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? Hang on!
I have devised a way to prepare 7+ Mason quart jars filled with washed and cut lettuce, all at one time. My method takes less than 30 minutes (with a little practice). Chopped romaine lettuce will stay crisp and fresh for more than a week. We’re assuming the lettuce is fresh and hasn’t been hanging around in some warehouse or your fridge too long since it was picked.
What is the secret to Salad in a Jar-a Simple Method for Preserving Cut Lettuce??
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?
Consider these benefits of storing chopped lettuce in a vacuum-packed Mason jar
- No brown edges on the lettuce and no wilted leaves
- No getting out the salad spinner every day to make a salad
- 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.
- 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.
Are you ready to revolutionize the way you prepare your typical weekday salad?
For a quick overview of the process, check out the video below.
Assemble your equipment:
* 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
1. Romaine lettuce is the best choice for this process. Wash it well, but leave the leaves intact at the base.
2. Cut lengthwise through the entire head at least 4-5 times.
3. Now slice crosswise about 3/4 to 1 inch apart according to your preference.
4. Fill salad spinner and spin dry.
5. Dump into a very large bowl. Fill Mason jars with chopped, spun-dry lettuce. I pack them as tight as possible.
6. Seal jars using a wide-mouth jar attachment and a vacuum-pack machine. Only one wide-mouth adapter is required. The round, white attachment you see in the picture above 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.
7. 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.
When ready to eat, pop the lid and empty into a bowl or onto a plate. I add salad dressing, veggies, fruits, nuts and/or some sort of protein. Enjoy chewing.
Why vacuum-pack instead of just a lid?
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 a pictorial comparison of various methods of lettuce storage.
Without the vacuum-pack, the cut edges of the lettuce will turn brown in a day or two or less. If you leave the lettuce whole, un-chopped and un-torn, 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.
Can I add other vegetables or favorite salad ingredients?
You can do it, 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 prefer to 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 the effectiveness of this process and posted his results here.
For more information about which vacuum-pack machine to buy, see related posts below.Print
Vacuum-packing fresh cut or chopped romaine lettuce in Mason jars will keep it fresh up to 10 days.
Fresh romaine lettuce (I use hearts of romaine because the inner leaves last longer than the dark green leaves on a whole head of romaine.)
- Wash romaine lettuce well, but leave the leaves intact at the base.
- Cut lengthwise through the entire head at least 4-5 times.
- Now slice crosswise about 3/4 to 1 inch apart according to your preference.
- Fill salad spinner and spin dry.
- Dump into a very large bowl. Fill jars with chopped, spun-dry lettuce. 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 10 days depending on how fresh your lettuce is when you started this process.
Shopper’s Note: My favorite place to buy romaine lettuce is at Costco. The 6-pack hearts of romaine will usually make about 5-6 quart jars of salad depending on the compactness and weight of the lettuce (which can vary a lot) and how tightly you pack the lettuce.
Keywords: Salads, preservation, Salad in a Jar, vacuum-pack, romaine, lettuce
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