I work at a hospital 3 days a week about 45 minutes away from my house. This is awesome because I get 4 days off, which equals plenty of fun time for my favorite hobby ever: creating recipes and blogging. Yay! The downside is those 3 days are in a row – for 12 hours or more. After I add in the drive plus time to get ready, I am looking at a 16-18 hour day, and that doesn’t include making food. This can definitely make cooking and eating healthy a challenge. On the really busy weeks, I just plain fall off the wagon and into the mud. I once told a coworker on a particularly difficult week that this should be my new blog introduction:
“Hi, I’m Tiffany and 4 days a week I eat delicious healthy meals packed with seasonal produce and whole foods. Don’t ask me about the other 3 days…”
Good thing I met my new best friend: Salad in a Jar. Not only does this little ingenious idea allow you to pre-pack salads with yummy healthy ingredients, it stays fresh for up to 5 days in a mason jar. Did you hear that – 5 days people!!! That’s crazy talk! You know what else is crazy talk? I tried it and it really works. I can pre-pack our lunch at the beginning of the week and boom. Yummy lunch, ready to crawl right into your lunchbox before you head out the door.
Apparently, there is a little layering trick to make sure stuff stays fresh and doesn’t get soggy. There is nothing worse than soggy lettuce, except maybe soggy croutons. Yuck. When I originally heard of the idea, I totally winged it. Obviously I knew that the lettuce should be closer to the top, and the dressing on the bottom. I had no idea about the rest of it, or the fact that I completely bought the wrong jars. So what do you do?
Rule #1 – Buy Quart Sized Canning Jars with Wide Mouths
Yes, wide mouth is where it’s at. I bought the one’s with a narrow opening at first. Don’t do it. You will not only frustrate yourself trying to get your salad into it, but will also look like an idiot when you try to eat out of it and it keeps sliding off your fork back into the jar. Trust me on this one…
Rule #2 – Layering is Key
There was a time, not long ago, where I thought I understood how to layer a salad. Wrong. Exhibit A: Crispy Chicken and Raddichio Salad with Honey Poppyseed Dressing – How not to layer a salad in a jar. They were still ok, but putting your lettuce underneath anything runs the risk of it becoming soggy too soon. Layer your items in this order starting from the bottom: Salad dressing, hard veggies, soft veggies, protein and cheese, seeds and nuts, and top with lettuce. Make sure not to pack in the items so tightly that you can’t shake it up later.
Rule #3 – Get Creative!
Do you know why people hate salad? Because they are eating boring salads or eating the same one over and over again. I too struggle with the idea of eating salad, so I am preaching to myself as well. There are LOADS of salad combinations from some pretty awesome bloggers to keep you on your toes with new flavors each week. With seasons changing and harvests of fresh veggies coming out all the time, there are so many opportunities to try different combinations. Don’t be afraid to change up your jars. You may find you actually do love salad! Here 10 great ideas to get you started:
7) Crispy Chicken and Raddichio Salad with Honey Poppyseed Dressing – Gluten FREE!
Rule #4 – Seal it tight and keep it upright!
Don’t forget to tighten the lid to keep your salad as fresh as possible for an extended period of time. Also, don’t let it tip over in your lunchbox or refrigerator. The idea is to keep the wet stuff on the bottom and if it gets mixed up too soon, you will have a soggy mess when lunchtime rolls around.
Rule#5 – Shake and Enjoy!
This is the fun rule…eating it! Shake all the ingredients well and get your fork ready to indulge in a fresh, healthy and delicious lunch – straight out of the container if you prefer! Rinse your jar out immediately after eating to make clean up a breeze.
I am not even kidding. Whoever created this – you deserve an award!
Do you have a favorite Salad in a Jar Recipe? Share it here!