Mason Jar salads seem to be all the rage lately. I’ve been thinking about trying them for awhile now, but I just wasn’t sure I wanted to invest the time and energy into it. I was also hesitant to spend money on jars when I have plenty of other containers already.
My issue with salads is that I couldn’t keep my lettuce fresh. I admit that I do not chop it myself. I prefer to think of it as prioritizing other things rather than being lazy. Regardless, within days of the bag being opened, the lettuce looked gross! My husband doesn’t eat much salad, so I never seemed to get through a bag before it would go to waste. After a friend of mine told me she tried the mason jar thing and that it kept the lettuce fresh, I finally decided to just go for it!
I used the quart size (32oz) wide mouth jars. I found mine at Wal-Mart, but I’ve also seen them at Target, Giant Eagle, and Acme! If you can’t find them locally, Amazon has a huge selection. Click here to see the jars that I am using.
I found it difficult to get some of the toppings in without spilling them, even with the wide mouth jar. I can’t imagine trying to fill a standard size jar, so wide mouth jars are critical! You can also buy a collapsible funnel to make filling easier. I love my funnel. It makes assembly and clean up much easier.
I spent HOURS reading about different options and variations on Pinterest and other blogs. The possibilities are endless, but the one thing I heard over and over was how important it is to put the ingredients in the jar in a specific order. You want to keep the moisture away from your lettuce to help it stay fresh as long as possible. Regardless of what type of salad you make, you’ll want to follow the same basic order of assembly.
ORDER OF ASSEMBLY:
- DRESSING in the bottom of the jar
- HEARTY VEGGIES (tomato, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, peppers, etc.)
- BEANS/OTHER VEGGIES (any type of beans, mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, corn, etc.)
- PASTA & GRAINS
- MEAT, EGGS, & CHEESE
- FRUITS & AVOCADO
- NUTS & SEEDS
As you can see, the dressing goes in FIRST, which puts it in the bottom of the jar. The lettuce goes in last, which puts it in the top of the jar. You want to keep the dressing and any other moisture rich vegetables as far away from the lettuce as possible.
If you don’t like putting the dressing in the jar, there are little cups you can get to set in the top of the mason jar. I would like to try them, but I am concerned about spilling or that the cups might take up too much space in the jar. In the picture it doesn’t look like it hogs the space, but I’m not totally convinced. I’ll need to try it out and let you know. You can always carry your dressing separate as well, but one of the main selling points of a mason jar salad is that everything is in one container. You decide what’s most important to you!
When you are ready to eat your salad, shake it up to distribute the dressing and then dump the salad out into a bowl or on a paper plate. I haven’t found any good way to eat the salad from the jar. I just love the convenience of storage and transport along with the fact that the ingredients stay fresh and taste great even after 4-5 days.
I haven’t tried nuts or seeds yet, but croutons do NOT retain their crunch. Let me know how nuts or seeds hold up if you try it. I do have some pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, so maybe I’ll experiment. I usually pack any crunchy toppings on the side, but I have a tendency to forget them if they are not IN the jar…