Sneak Preview: Many people ask me, “Can you vacuum-seal lettuce and vegetables together? Sometimes, but there are caveats.
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What if you could vacuum-seal lettuce and vegetables in the same jar? The idea sounds like a time-saver. It’s the number one question I get in regard 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 about?
Most of you probably picture layered salads inside Mason jars. They usually include dressing, various types of lettuce, and many veggies.
Where are the layers?
When I 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 the same jar of 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. However, delicate vegetables, like cucumbers, often become slimy and disgusting within two or three days.
When packed by itself, cut romaine lettuce will usually keep for a week, even up to two weeks, if it’s good and fresh.
Washed and cut lettuce that stays fresh for ten days can be VERY CONVENIENT.
What about vacuum-sealing other kinds of lettuce or spinach?
In my experience, romaine lettuce, especially the hearts, retains its freshness when vacuum-sealed. Radicchio also holds up as well. On the other hand, spinach, butter lettuce, mixed greens, and the like are too fragile to store under vacuum pressure for more than a day or two.
Three reasons why I don’t vacuum-seal fruits or vegetables together 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 eleven years, so I occasionally become weary of the whole process. However, I do not grow tired of eating it nor of the waist-preserving benefits. So I continue.
When lunchtime rolls around, and I’m starving for something “right now,” I’m mighty happy I took 20 minutes out of my weekend to prepare 6-10 jars of lettuce. Consequently, I only have to grab a jar from the fridge and dump it into a bowl.
2. Adding anything but lettuce makes the process and habit less sustainable.
When I first came up with this idea, I wanted to maintain my ideal weight with habits I could sustain for LIFE. So they 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 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 want on any particular day.
Part of my eating philosophy is to consume what I’m craving at the moment.
My thought process:
How will I know what I want in my salad a week ahead of time? Sometimes I use warmed-up leftovers that taste good with lettuce, such as Chinese take-out. No dressing is needed.
Here are some ideas for quick-to-add extras:
- Dried fruits such as dried cranberries, raisins, or dried cherries
- Fresh veggies like carrots, tomatoes, or cucumbers
- Dried veggies like sun-dried tomatoes
- Toasted Nuts
- Seeds like flax, sesame, or chia
- Foil packages of tuna or salmon
- Leftover chicken salad, ham salad, or egg salad
- Leftover beef roast, rosemary chicken, or pulled ham
- Fresh grated Parmesan, blue cheese, or Gorgonzola
More than anything, I crave variety.
If you still want to add other ingredients to your jars of lettuce, try it. Don’t expect your lettuce to last as long as advertised in the original An Amazing Way To Make Chopped Lettuce Last Longer post. But of course, for some people, that doesn’t matter. You decide.
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!