I love mason jars. For real. In our house they are used for everything – dry storage, wet storage, drinking glasses, candle holders, cookie cutters, crafts…we even have those fancy ones with the stem that turn them into wine glasses! It’s pretty great.
This posting is dedicated to one of my favourite mason jar uses – the salad bowl.
Why glass storage??
You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz surrounding plastics and why they are not all that great for you. The basic premise behind this thinking is that over time, the chemicals that plastics are made from begin to break-down and leach into our foods. One of the main culprits here is BPA- bisphenol A, which is a chemical that is used to make plastics and resins. The concern of late is that this chemical may have a negative effect on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Doesn’t sound so great does it? That’s why you see all sorts of bottles and containers with big flashy labels stating BPA – FREE!!! Your safest bet here is to substitute your plastic container for stainless steel or glass. Hello mason jar!!!
The best thing about your new amazing lunch-in-a-jar is the ease. They are oh so easy, portable and will last in your fridge for 3-5 days. What does that mean? It means you can pack your lunches for the week in one night and not think about them until the morning when you grab your jar and go! Another fantastic feature of your jar-of-goodness is that you don’t have to pack a separate container for dressing and risk it spilling all over your lunch! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve packed a small container of dressing only to have it spill out and drench everything else in my lunch bag. Balsamic and oil bananas anyone? Gross.
Tricks of the Trade
There are no rules to making your salad in a jar. Throw whatever you love inside and you’re good to go. There are a couple of tricks however, that will ensure your salad is a success!
- Dressing on the bottom- it doesn’t matter what kind you use, just make sure it goes in the jar first and make sure it’s not a fat-ladden store bought number! Olive oil and vinegar or lemon is delish!
- Layer your heaviest and most dense foods on the bottom. You’ll want to put things that won’t get soggy right away like beans, on top of the dressing to keep your creation fresh
- Place any fruit you may be using close to the top of the jar. They are usually more delicate and bruise pretty easy.
- Lettuce -Last. Put your leafy greens on top because they are the most likely to get soggy and gross in the dressing.
- Really pack your fruits and veggies in. You don’t want to leave space at the top for things to shift around and get dressed before you want them to.
- Get creative with your dressings, use your imagination! Try different oils mixed with spices and mustard, delicious balsamic, a little garlic, cucumber and yogurt…the are literally hundreds of options!
That’s it, that’s all! You’re ready to start creating delicious and portable meals! One more helpful hint though – you’ll want to bring along a bowl to pour all of your goodies into. It’s not going to work if you try to eat it right out of the jar as is. Trust me on this one.
Here is the recipe for the salad you see here:
Stacey’s salad in a jar –
Black beans, yellow peppers, cucumber, carrot, green onion, mixed green and spinach.
Dressing – I mixed olive oil and fig infused balsamic vinegar which is ahhhhmazing. (thanks Mary!)
High-five like you mean it!