We love our canning jars for everything from storing grains in the pantry to shakingcocktails in the park. But by far one of our most favorite ways to use our pint- and quart-sized canning jars is to pack them with salads. Yes, that’s right, leafy green salads. Dressing goes on the bottom, veggies and other salad goodies get piled on top. Everything stays separate and dressing-free until you toss the salad together in the bowl — never eat another soggy lunch salad again. Even better, these salads last for days in the fridge so we can make a week’s worth of lunches ahead of time.
How do the greens not get soggy?
The basic idea when packing salads in jars is to start with the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients with the dressing on the bottom of the jar and work your way up through the lighter ingredients until you end up with the salad greens themselves. As long as your jar doesn’t accidentally tip over in your bag, the delicate greens will be well-protected from the dressing until you’re ready to eat.
How does everything get mixed together?
When you’re ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake it into a bowl. Everything gets pretty compacted in the jar, so some vigorous shaking may be needed! This shaking also helps to toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Once the salad is in the bowl, you can toss it some more with your fork to make sure everything is evenly coated.
What’s the best jar to use?
Any canning jar can be used, but wide-mouthed jars are the easiest for both packing the salad into the jars and shaking them out again. Pint-sized jars are great for individual side salads of mostly greens with just a few “extra” salad toppings. Use quart-sized jars for larger lunch and dinner salads that have a lot of extra veggies and salad goodies. Two-quart jars (or larger) are great if you’re taking the salad to a potluck or cookout.
How long will jars of salad keep in the fridge?
With the lid sealed tightly, these salads can last for several days in the fridge — up to five days or so. If you’re making salads with soft ingredients or perishable proteins, like avocados, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, or cooked chicken breast, wait to add those ingredients until the day you plan to eat the salad. Also, if you have a vacuum-sealer attachment for your canning jars, vacuum-sealing the salads right after assembling them will keep your greens and veggies even crisper and fresher.
Do you ever pack your salads in jars? What are your favorite combos? Any other great tips to share from your experience?
How To Pack the Perfect Salad in a Jar
Makes 1 salad
What You Need
pint jars for side salads, quart jars for individual meal-sized salads, 2-quart jars (or larger) for multiple servings
Large bowl, to serve