Preview: Many people ask me “Can you vacuum-seal lettuce and vegetables together? Yes, you absolutely can vacuum-seal certain types of lettuce.
What if you could vacuum-seal lettuce and vegetables together in a canister or jar? The idea sounds like a time-saver. In fact, it’s the number one question I get in regards to how to keep romaine lettuce fresh.
Yes, you can vacuum-seal lettuce. But what about adding vegetables to that lettuce? Keep reading.
When somebody mentions “salad in a jar,” what do you think of?
Most of you probably picture layered salads inside of Mason jars. They usually include dressing and various types of lettuce along with many and varied veggies.
Where are the layers?
When I first started this website in 2009, all my co-workers called my vacuum-sealed salads “Salad in a Jar.” Unfortunately, the name stuck.
That was almost 12 years ago. Now, people ask me if they can vacuum-seal their layered salads with the dressing and vegetables added to their lettuce.
It’s a reasonable question. After all, who eats lettuce alone and calls it a salad?
Most people who do layered salads do not vacuum-seal their salads, and that’s for the best. Here’s why.
What happens if you vacuum-seal lettuce with veggies?
Additional veggies limit the amount of time you can store the lettuce.
Carrots will last several days. Delicate vegetables, like cucumbers, often become slimy and disgusting within two or three days.
Plain cut romaine lettuce, when packed by itself, will usually be good for a week up to two weeks if it’s good and fresh.
Believe me, washed and cut lettuce that stays fresh for 10 days can be VERY CONVENIENT.
What about vacuum-sealing other kinds of lettuce or spinach?
In my experience, romaine lettuce, especially the hearts, maintain their freshness the best when vacuum-sealed. Radicchio also holds up as well. Spinach, butter lettuce, mixed greens, and the like are too fragile to store more than a day or two under vacuum pressure.
3 reasons why I don’t vacuum-seal fruits or vegetables together with lettuce:
Including cleaned and cut veggies increases preparation time.
This is the number one reason I don’t do it. I’ve been vacuum-packing my lettuce for over 7 years, so occasionally, I weary of the whole vacuum-packing process. However, I have not tired of eating it or of the waist-preserving benefits, so I continue.
When 6:15 in the morning rolls around and I’m getting ready for work, I’m mighty happy I took 20 minutes out of my weekend to prepare 6-10 jars of lettuce so I only have to grab a jar from the fridge for my lunch bag.
Adding anything but lettuce makes the process and habit less sustainable.
When I first came up with this idea, I was looking to maintain my ideal weight in a way I could sustain for LIFE. It had to be simple and relatively easy.
Despite the pretty pictures, adding veggies, not to mention salad dressing in the bottom, makes the whole process more complex, and therefore less likely to become a part of your routine over the long haul.
One girl told me she took about 2-1/2 hours to cut up several types of lettuce and vegetables. I wasn’t surprised to hear she doesn’t do it anymore. Who wants to keep that up?
Lettuce-only jars mean I can add whatever I’m in the mood for on any particular day.
Part of my eating philosophy is to consume exactly what I’m craving at the moment.
My thought process...
How will I know what I really want in my salad a week ahead of time? Sometimes I use warmed-up leftovers that taste good with lettuce, such as Chinese food. No dressing needed.
More often than not, I add dried fruits or vegetables and toasted nuts. Some days, I like fruit, nuts and a sweet dressing or a bit of blue cheese. Other days, I go down the savory road. More than anything, I crave variety.
If you still want to add other ingredients to your jars of lettuce, go ahead and try it. Just don’t expect your lettuce to last as long as advertised in the original An Amazing Way To Make Chopped Lettuce Last Longer post. For some people, that doesn’t matter. You decide.
Read more about vacuum-sealing lettuce into glass jars
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This post was originally published in 2010. Pictures and copy updated May 2019.