Vacuum sealed salad

During the summer I eat quite a few salads, but making salad for one person is tedious at best, especially if you want a nice variety of vegetables and lettuce in it. Vacuum sealer to the rescue!

Here are my salad veggies prepped for 3 salads. These will look perfect for 5 days and are passable for a week, vacuum sealed in jars. I did a series of posts on this a few years ago, The Great Salad Experiment. Today I have cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms. The radishes were from CSA Week #2.

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You can put almost anything you want in your salad jar. I don't put the tomatoes in the jar because I keep the tomatoes in my 55°F refrigerator - the real refrigerator is too cold and they lost taste and texture. And do not, under any circumstances, put broccoli (or probably cauliflower) in the vacuum sealed jar unless you blanch it first! Storing raw broccoli in a low-oxygen environment causes it to release an odorous chemical that will practically knock you over when you open the jar!

Here are the vegetables vacuum sealed and ready for the refrigerator. These are wide-mouth pint-sized canning jars. I can fit two at a time in my chamber vacuum sealer, but if you're using a FoodSaver type vacuum sealer, you'll need to use narrow-mouth jars and the jar sealer attachment, which works, but isn't nearly as convenient.

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I don't always make the salad part ahead. If I only have one kind of lettuce, for example, it's not that much work to make a salad. But this week I have lettuce from CSA Week #2 and red leaf lettuce from CSA Week #3 so it does make things easier to wash, dry, and rip or cut and divide the lettuce and vacuum seal. There's more in the salads than this - I can never guess exactly how much lettuce I will need.

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And vacuum sealed in pint-sized jars.

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Now all I need to do is grab a jar of each and dress. Add croutons and some cherry tomatoes. A minute, tops!

Here's a salad the next day with Annie's cowgirl ranch dressing, 4 organic grape tomatoes and Olivia's croutons.

ate.2012.06.21.d1.jpgIncidentally, I dress the salad in a separate bowl so I can make sure the salad is evenly dressed, then I pick out the majority of the lettuce and put it in the bottom of my serving bowl, followed by the vegetables and the rest of the lettuce and finally croutons. It's an extra bowl to wash, but the salad looks great!

Here's the prep for four salads the following week...

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