I am so excited to have my friend, Dusti, share her knowledge of making these convienent, beautiful, and frugal salads! Dusti is always showing off her beautiful pictures of these salads and I've been intrigued by them. I shared one of her pictures on my Facebook page and everyone LOVED them. Lots of people had questions about them…how to store them, how to stack the salad, how long they last…so I asked Dusti if she could share her wisdom with us all!
Mason Jar Salads
Thank you to my friend Jackie from “The Paleo Mama” for allowing me to write a guest blog post for her! It’s my first ever guest post, so please ignore my lack of writing skills!
Like most families, we continue to battle the “convenience” monster that hits the house between 11-1pm for lunch and 5-6pm for dinner. Since we like to eat fresh, whole foods, we have to prepare our foods and not being prepared adds to frustration and poor eating choices of grabbing something…anything…too quickly.
Having a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter can make prepping for meal times challenging. I work from home (i.e. working during naps when I could be prepping meals and after kids are in bed at night) with my photography business (Dusti Lynn Photography), my husband stays busy with full-time work as a firefighter for the City of Savannah, a Crossfit coach, and he, also, started up a new business, as of six months ago, called RetroFit Custom Design. We are very busy, but it's so important to us to eat good, whole foods, so we try to find foods that we can prep all and at once, and foods that will last several days at a time.
One thing I continued to see over and over again on Pinterest was these meals in a jar – specifically “Mason Jar Salads“. We are always trying to increase our raw produce consumption and although we love salads, to stop and prep a salad each meal wasn’t working out too well.
So one week I decided to give it a go. I was skeptical of the freshness lasting beyond 1-2 days. I continued to read that they stay fresh for up to 5 days. I was very pleased to discover that on day 4 after making the salads, they were still very fresh!
It’s SUCH an easy way to add variety to your lunches while taking in a large quantity of raw produce.
The Basic “Rules” of Mason Jar Salads:
Rule One: Make sure your veggies are fresh – try to buy local, fresh from the ground produce to ensure your veggies aren’t a week old by the time you buy them at the grocery store
Rule Two: Dressing goes in first. Do not get it on the sides of the jar. Dressing does not need to touch the lettuce, spinach, greens, etc. It will wilt and make it yucky.
Rule Three: Try to put the veggies in the bottom on top of the dressing that would do well with marinating – onions, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, etc.
Rule Four: Use the hearty veggies next to the greens to help buffer from the more moist veggies/fruits. Cherry tomatoes are excellent for this. Try not to use cut tomatoes unless they are at the bottom of the jar due to their higher water content!
Rule Five: For the dairy eaters – I do not choose to layer my cheese in the mason jars. Many recipes show that this is ok, but it’s a personal preference as I typically add stinky cheeses to mine and don’t want it in for a couple of days with the rest of my salad!
Rule Six: Store in the fridge until right before you are going to eat them.
Here’s a typical prep day for me…
1. I clean my prep area and get my jars out and ready.
2. I rinse/drain any veggies/fruits to allow them plenty of drying/draining time while prepping the other produce.
3. I make my dressing(s). This usually happens every other week due to the fact I try to make enough at once to last through two-three prep days.
5. Toast any nuts I plan to toss with my salad when it’s time to eat and store in a tightly sealed container.
6. Prep any animal protein we plan to eat with our salads in portion sized containers to make it easy when it comes time to enjoy.
I’ve compiled a few of my favorite recipes. But I’m serious – almost every single salad recipe you enjoy can be made this way. Just be sure to keep the dressing at the bottom along with any watery fruits/produce and the greens at the top. It’s seriously that simple. You can use store bought dressings or make your own. It really is amazing how versatile this can be.
CLICK HERE for the Rosemary Dressing Recipe!
– 2 tablespoons Rosemary White Wine dressing
– shredded carrot (I use around ½ cup)
– thinly sliced red onion – about ¼ cup
– well-drained mandarin oranges
– handful of blueberries
– sometimes chia seeds are added on top of the mandarin oranges
Here are some links to other salads I’ve loved…
Enjoy! And please make sure to ask any questions and share photos of your mason jar salads along with your favorite recipe to The Paleo Mama’s Facebook page!!