Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mason Jar (Make Ahead) Salads

Mason Jar Salads

It's Wednesday! Well, I'm actually writing this post on Tuesday night in preparation for tomorrow, so I guess you could say I'm a big fat liar. I'm also really honest, which is why I confessed. Ask my friends- I can't lie. I do weird facial contortions, my mind goes blank, I say stupid non-sensical crap and slap them together into sentences in attempt to fumble my way out. I find it best to just tell the truth. Sometimes I lie on accident. It's quite funny, because I'll usually realize the truth mid-sentence, and then I have a silent conversation in my head that goes something like this:

Should I backpedal now and explain the whole truth? Explain why I didn't realize it until now, and how it was all just a misunderstanding? Is it even important? Maybe it's just better if I don't say anything. Yeah, I won't say anything. But, I'm stumbling over my words as we speak because I'm trying to think and talk at the same time. Oh, there goes the facial contortions. Better fess up now. Shoot.

Phew- Now that we have that confession out of the way let's move on to the good newsflash I have for you. Mason Jar Salads.

I'm sure you have seen these floating around on Pinterest. These salads are make ahead concoctions for a quick lunch that packs well to the office, or that you can grab out of the fridge anytime. The salads are layered, which means dressing on the bottom, hearty vegetables or beans that can stand up to the dressing on top of that, followed by all your other ingredients, and ending with the lettuce so it stays crisp and fresh on top. Sounds fantastic right?

Here are the things I've found helpful in preparing your jars:

1) Pack ingredients in pretty well. You don't want a lot of extra space in the jar where condensation from wetter ingredients (mandarin oranges, etc) can build up, plus you want to fit as much lettuce in as you possibly can.

2) Pack common toppers like almond slices, blue cheese crumbles, sunflower seeds, and the like in a seperate to-go baggie. This might seem like a pain and you don't have to do it, but for the nuts to remain crunchy you need to add them in fresh, and blue cheese will stink your jar up. Still, these things should be fine after a day or two in your jars if only kept that long.

3) If you won't be at home when you eat your salad, make sure to pack a fork and a bowl or big tupperware container to toss your salad in before eating.

4) Plan to make your salads filling, or they won't take you till snack time.

I feel so accomplished after I've made these little beauties and have them waiting in our fridge for the upcoming week.

mason jar salads

Although Mason Jar Salads can be made up of whatever your little heart desires, here are the three I tried and had great success with.

mason jar salads

Asian Salad
Shredded carrots
diced cucumbers
sprouts
red bell pepper, diced
mandarin oranges (patted dry)
edamame
mixed baby greens
sesame seeds

(If I had marinated super firm tofu like my local health food store makes, I'd add that too)

mason jar salads

Field Berry Salad
shredded carrots
red onion, sliced thinly
blueberries
mandarin oranges
sliced almonds, roasted honey flavor
blue cheese (add on the very top)
arugula

mason jar salads

The Salad Bar
Dressing: Chunky Blue Cheese or Italian
diced cucumber
sliced beets
sprouts
broccoli florets (best if used before day three)
kidney beans (dry off well, and best used before day three)
marinated artichoke hearts
sprinkle of salt and pepper
Romaine lettuce, chopped
sunflower seeds (bring along instead of putting in your jar, unless eating the next day)

Remember, Dressing on the bottom, lettuce on the top.

All the blog's I've read say these should last for five days in the fridge. I say more like three for optimal quality. Still, that's pretty cool. The lettuce really does stay crisp and fresh, even on day five, but the other ingredients start to go downhill after day three and four.

What combinations are you most excited to try? Any salad suggestions for me on my next go around?

34 comments:

  1. YEAH for this post!!!! So excited to make my own! Off to the store I go. :) Brain still is raving about the "Field Berry Salad"! WHat would I do without your blog.. my family would go hungry?!?!

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    1. Did you do it ?, I've just some jars :)

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  2. I want to do this! This would be great to take to work for lunch! Hope your having a fabulous week!

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  3. such a cute idea!! i must try!

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  4. I have seen these floating around out there and have wondered how they would turn out in my kitchen. I am encouraged to give them a shot. They all look fantastic. I don't know which I would choose first.

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  5. You're very entertaining, Krysta! Funny, informative and sharing an idea I hadn't seen before...Mason Jar Salads! Very cool. Of course, I'm sending this to the world...any words before you travel? http://jodileastewart.com/

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  6. these look amazing! Thank you for posting. Just a couple questions: what size Mason jars did you use and are these individual salads, meaning serving size 1? Will sign in later but wanted to find out (as I plot a Mason jar buying expedition followed by Farmers Market trip)

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  7. Jodi, In case you didn't get my e-mail response, I thank you for your encouragement! :) And Anonymous (sorry to not know your name!) I used quart sized Kerr jars, and yes, each jar is one portion. Thank you for giving me a chance to clarify.

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    1. How long can the salads keep? A week? I'm worried id make them and if I didn't eat them all id waste the ingredients!

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    2. For the best quality, I think you should eat them within three days. However, they are good in the fridge for 5-6 days

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  8. What size are these jars? 32 oz?

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  9. Thanks for all of the options! I just did a Thai Peanut Salad mason jar on my blog. Love the salad bar combo I will have to try that.

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  10. Let me know how a chef salad would turn out in the jar. I love chef salad with turkey, ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce tomatoes, olives, carrots, celery, and cucumber. I'm curious if the meat and cheese would become bad in the jar.

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  11. Wow. I can't help wondering how I can survive another day without buying a mason jar. This is going to be hard.

    Thanks for the great options and information :-)

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  12. Funny post- and great recipe idea!

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  13. Super great Mason Jar Salad idea!

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  14. Hi, I just found your site doing a search for salads. I love your idea: I am a mason jar fan, have been my whole life!!

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  15. I use Kale instead of lettuce and make my own dressing with hummus mixed with balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar until it is dressing consistency. I make 5 jars on Sunday and they stay fresh for the whole week. Some favorite ingredients: hearts of palm, uncooked zucchini (cubed), hard boiled egg (which I slice and throw in the jar right before I take it to work) and smoked salmon. Yum!!!

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    1. Thanks for the info on the hard boiled egg...my daughter loves them and she loves salad, so I am thinking of doing one of these for her to take for lunch sometime!

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  16. Love this idea and the way they look.

    Often make foods/casseroles etc for the week but never salads....

    Miught be good to do it for pre-planned Green smoothies....

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  17. I love this idea! I have two "out of the home" eaters. This may be a perfect resolution for them. Question(s): Do you use a separate bowl to mix/toss the salad? Is there a lot of wasted dressing because of this?

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    1. I don't put my dressing in the jar, I put it on when I toss the salad. That's just me though.

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  18. We do use separate containers for tossing, but I don't find a lot of the dressing to go to waste.

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  19. Hi, I'm from the Netherlands and was looking on the web for some "food-in-a-jar"recepies and so I found your blog. Love the ideas for the salades and can't wait to try them out!
    I first saw the Mason jars at Pinterest and I love them!!! Unfortunatly not for sale in the Netherlands, but I'm going to try to ship them over!
    Greetings from Inge

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  20. These look so fun and yummy! I'm looking forward to shopping for these this week. Also, INGE from the Netherlands... We can buy mason jars all over the place here. The thrift stores near my house have tons. I wonder how much it costs to ship mason jars from the states???

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  21. I've been doing this for over 10 years. If you vacuum seal (with a Foodsaver, for example)they keep upwards of two weeks. Especially nice if you like a salad veg your family hates--it doesn't spoil before you get a chance to eat it up.

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    1. Hi I just stumbled upon this site and I'm absolutely amazed at how fresh the salads look and i'm so looking forward to making my own... I own a Foodsaver (counter top and handheld) and I'd like to know how to vacuum seal the jars...

      thanks in advance for your response...

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    2. Tee Williams, if you go to saladinajar.com, she has a video showing you how to seal the jar using a foodsaver. Hope this helps :)

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  22. Some of the ladies in our neighborhood are going to have a salad/smoothie prep party on Sunday mornings. That way we can have a variety instead of everyone buying a ton of stuff that can go bad or a ton of dressings to store. Glad to hear that the vac-n-seal will make them last! I heard 5-7 days but love the 2 weeks with the vac-n-seal.

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  23. Those mason jar salads look so yummy! I'm excited to try them! (And thanks for the tips--I'm sure those will come in handy too!)

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  24. I'd want ceasar salad, chicken, lettuce, bacon, avocado, garlic croutons, a tiny bit of anchovies, hard boiled egg and ceasar salad dressing. If you mix up the ingredients instead of layering, and chop them up pretty small, there's no reason you couldn't eat this from the jar and save you washing up.

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  25. This is AWESOME! We posted this to our Facebook page today because our director recommended mason jar salads as our Wellness Wednesday tip of the week, and our nutritionist found your site. THANKS for the great ideas.

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  26. Would it be okay for me to link back to your blog in my blog? Thought I would ask first.
    Thanks!

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