I saw an idea on Pinterest, and wanted to expand on it, maybe modify it a bit, and try it out for myself.
I needed some quart-sized Mason jars, which I already had in abundance, and salad ingredients. The idea on Pinterest was to layer the salad into jars, starting with dressing at the bottom, then crunchy veggies (carrots, celery, etc.) which don't wilt in the dressing, then lettuce and other toppings. Do this in assembly-line fashion with several jars, and you have ready-made salads! Just dump them out and munch and crunch away.
I'm usually home when it's lunchtime, so I figured I'd leave the dressing out and just layer all the salad ingredients--minus tomatoes, since the jars are stored in the fridge and I prefer fresh-cut tomatoes on my salads. I used my canning funnel, and started with celery and carrots. I chopped all the celery, and layered it in the bottom of each jar. Then I worked my way through each ingredient, layering them one layer at a time in each jar:
2. Celery and carrots -- crunchy veggies on the bottom won't wilt in the dressing.
3. Sweet peppers
4. Chopped lettuce
6. Tomatoes -- this is where I'd put them so they don't wilt the lettuce.
8. Cubed cheese
Here's what my jars looked like:
Another note on salad dressing: If you really don't like the idea of the dressing being in the jars, use a small jar such as a clean spice jar. If you find, like I did, that the jars aren't completely full, you can put the dressing jar on the top of your salad. Or, fill snack-sized zip-seal sandwich baggies. Even smaller are the craft-type zip-seal bags (I have some that are 2x3" that will hold about two tablespoons of dressing, which should be plenty for one salad).
If the jars don't seem quite full, let me say one thing: If you fill the jars to the top, you will have an awfully massive salad to eat. What is in one jar above filled an 8" luncheon plate, piled high. It's all vegetable, except for the cubed mozzarella cheese on top. Very filling. Remember that the lettuce gets compacted, so just be careful about filling the jars. Unless, of course, you enjoy a very large salad! (Or want to use these for dinners, with a layer of chopped, cooked chicken--another great idea!)
I love opening the fridge, pulling out one of these jars, dumping it on a plate, quickly cutting up a garden tomato on top, and adding dressing. I have a great salad in just a minute! At the end of the week, even the last jar--I usually make about five at a time--is fresh!
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