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What Happens if I Vacuum-Seal Lettuce and Vegetables Together?

The number one question I get regarding vacuum-packing lettuce in Mason jars is “What Happens if I Vacuum-Seal Lettuce and Vegetables Together?”  Although I have answered this question several times, in bits and pieces, I decided it was time to devote an entire post to the subject.

vacuum-sealed jars of lettuce with fresh veggies laying next to them

In more recent years, most of you have seen “salad in a jar” come to mean layered salads inside of Mason jars. They usually include dressing, various types of lettuce, along with many and varied veggies.

If that’s what you were expecting, let me explain.

Where are the layers?

When I first started this little website in 2009, all my co-workers called my vacuum-sealed salads “Salad in a Jar.” The layered salads were not popular at the time.

Unfortunately, I chose that title for my blog and this extremely useful kitchen hack for preserving lettuce.

In a nutshell, Salad in a Jar (My Way)” goes like this:

First, add rinsed and chopped lettuce to a Mason jar. Second, vacuum-pack (paid link) it so the leaves will stay fresh and not turn brown for the next 7-10 days.

vacuum-sealing jars of cut lettuce

It makes sense that many people would try adding other foods to a jar holding only chopped lettuce. After all, who eats lettuce alone and calls it a salad?

Most people who do layered salads do not vacuum-pack their salads, and that’s for the best.

vacuum-sealed jars of romaine and radicchio without added veggies or fruit

The answer to the question…

What happens if you vacuum-seal lettuce with veggies?

Additional veggies limit the amount of time you can store the lettuce.

Some veggies will last several days, like carrots. On the other hand, more delicate vegetables, like cucumbers, become rather slimy and disgusting within two or three days. This can vary, depending on their freshness going into the jar.

More delicate types of lettuce also fall into the latter category, e.g. spring mix, spinach, and Boston lettuce.

Plain cut romaine lettuce, when packed alone, will nearly always be good for a week.  However, it can last up to two weeks if it was very fresh when you packed it.

Believe me, washed and cut lettuce that lasts that long can be SO VERY CONVENIENT.

What about vacuum-sealing other kinds of lettuce or spinach?

In my experience, Romaine lettuce, especially the hearts, give the best results. Radicchio also holds up well. Spinach, butter lettuce, mixed greens, and the like are too fragile to store for a week under vacuum pressure.

Why I don’t vacuum-seal fruits or vegetables, with lettuce

#1

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.

#2

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?

#3

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.

Wrap-up

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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Can I Add Other Foods to My Vacuum-Packed Jars of Salad

This post was originally published in 2010. Pictures and copy updated May 2019.

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Lewis Britton

Thursday 1st of August 2019

I have been purchasing the mixed bagged salad at the grocers. I have been vacuum sealing it with great results. I put a half sheet of paper towel under and on top of the salad. Testing shows I get 14 days before any changes. I just read that you shouldn't vacuum seal cabbage. My salads contain cabbage. Should I switch to cabbage free ? Also I vacuum seal red onions and cucumbers the same way and they stay fresh for 10 days. Do you think this is unsafe?

Paula

Thursday 1st of August 2019

Unsafe? If the veggies don't smell bad or turn mushy, I think you are safe. I am surprised the cucumbers don't go bad on you under vacuum-seal. Maybe it depends on the variety and original freshness. At any rate, sounds like you have found a system that works for you. High Five!!

Kathy

Thursday 7th of January 2016

Oops again ... It stayed fresh 3 whole days for this experiment. In the future, I plan to test filling the jar, sealing it, taking out small portions, then resealing the jar. Our family eats cole slaw 2-3 times every week and, while I don't mind the shredding, I would prefer to spend less time cleaning up.

Kathy

Thursday 7th of January 2016

I recently experimented by shredding cabbage, sealing it in a half-gallon Mason jar, and storing it in the refrigerator. The cabbage retained its fresh flavor, and was quick to combine with the dressing a few minutes before serving the meal.

Kathy

Thursday 7th of January 2016

Oops ... forgot to mention this was for making cole slaw.

Nidhi Bhansali

Wednesday 26th of August 2015

Hi Paula Loved ur idea of vaccum packing salads in advance. I luv salads but d idea of chopping n packing each time is just so upsetting that i instead chose to be without it. But the way u do it seems pretty convenient n I hope to try this soon. I would like to know how you vaccum pack d dressing. May I request u to plz make a video on d same. Thanks for sharing.

Paula

Sunday 30th of August 2015

Hi Nidhi, I don't vacuum pack my salad dressing. No need to. It will stay fresh without being vacuum-packed.

Wendy Hampton

Friday 24th of October 2014

At last a way to prepare salad and have it ready when i want it! I used my glass jars the lettuce, cut up celery and carrots etc. It didn't brown, it isn't mush, it's crisp and fresh. Thanks so much for sharing this tip.