If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Salad In A Jar!

It works!  I saw this pinned on Pinterest and read about it, watched the tutorial, and wondered if it would work.  Then, after watching a couple of bags of pre-mixed salad and a couple of heads of lettuce spoil, I decided I was going to pursue this venture.  How excited I am that it really does work!

Paula from the site, Salad In A Jar, showed me how to preserve my lettuce and have a quick, easy, fresh salad.  I knew that Mike had one of those Seal-A-Meal things because we had frozen portions of a pork loin, a big bag of chicken quarters, etc.  It is great for that sort of thing.  Sucks all the air out and prevents freezer burn.  I love it.  Of course, there is sometimes a bit of cursing involved when our old, fumbly fingers cannot get the corner of the bag slid just where it needs to go to get it vacuum sealed but that is a small price to pay when we are later enjoying the food.

I did my research with Paula.  Then, I went online and searched for the attachment I would need and ordered it.  I eagerly awaited my week for it to arrive.  (I'm too much of a cheapo to order fast shipping and just get regular.)  Then, a couple of weeks ago when I got home from the store, I set to work.

Really, you just wash your lettuce.  You need to get it mostly dry just like 'they' have always told you to do when you are working with lettuce.  I don't have a fancy salad spinner.  So, I just put my lettuce in a dish towel and step out onto the back porch and swing that around - you know, like Granny showed me when I was a little girl to swing a bucket of milk around and none would fly out.  Well, with the dish towel and lettuce, the water does all fly out and you are left with a nice dry product.  On the particular day I was doing this it was sprinkling rain.  So, I'm not sure how wise I was and I came in a bit damp.

Then, I just got out my Pampered Chef Salad Chopper and began cutting up the lettuce leaves.  I used a head of leaf lettuce that I'd bought at the local grocery store's produce section.  I was a bit skeptical even though Paula had assured me it would work.  You know how the leaves usually turn black over-night when you cut lettuce with a metal object...that is what I was expecting. 

After cutting up the leaves, this is all the waste I had left from one of my lettuce heads:

I love this because it doesn't waste and I hate to waste - especially wasting food.  We work hard for our money or to raise some of our food and I do not want to waste!  Yes, you can call me Muffa (my paternal grandmother hated waste, too, and was infamous for combining unusual things to save them).

Next, you pack the lettuce into mason jars.  I didn't pack mine very tightly because I tried to only put enough for a good salad meal in them.  I used wide-mouths to make it easier to pack and empty, like Paula suggested.  Set the flat lid on top.  Attach the jar sealer and the hose accessory from the vacuum sealer and turn it on.  Voila!  Salad in a jar!

After removing the sealing top attachment thingy, screw a ring on it and put the jar of lettuce in the fridge.  To make matters even better, I found a new toy when I was at one of the grocery stores searching for my small egg wreath.  (Read about that HERE.)  It is a battery operated, hand-held vacuum sealer that is just perfect for a quick easy job like this and there is no hose attachment needed. 

(Don't my jars of lettuce look delicious?)  I tried it this week and it worked like a charm!

This picture shows all of the needed tools except the jars and lids (and you know what they look like):
That round, white thing on the left is what sits on top of the flat jar lid.  It sells separately and is a Food Saver brand, too.  The middle, gun-looking thingy is my new toy.  And the box is what this hand-held vacuum sealer came in.  Look a little closer and you can see what a bargain it was, too!
I love getting a deal!  This is a different brand from Mike's vacuum sealer.  It is a Food Saver brand.  I'm not partial to one brand or another and am not being paid anything to tell about them.  So, choose for yourself what you want if you decide to get one.  I would advise you to watch for a bargain, though!  That makes me happier about getting anything!

The real beauty of this endeavor is that when I opened my jar of lettuce yesterday - a full 8 days after sealing my first head of lettuce, it was just as fresh and crisp and delicious as the day I sealed it in the jar!  Love that!

The jar on the left was done nine days ago and the other two jars were done a couple of days ago.  See, you can't tell a difference.

For lunch today, I have set a jar in my lunchbox.  Added a bowl to pour it in, a fork, a zipper bag with a boiled egg and some grated cheese, a small tub of a left-over slice of the pork loin Mike grilled, and some dried cranberries in another zipper bag.  Slid in a small ice-pack to keep it all cool.  I have a bottle of dressing and a napkin and I have a gourmet lunch!