Our special guests for this "Making It Grow" episode were Suzy Ellison from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture's South Carolina Specialty Food Association and James...
Mason Salad Jars
Laurie Aker is a food stylist extraordinaire and everything she does not only looks great, but tastes great, too. Laurie shares with us the advantages of using mason jars.
Benefits of Using a Mason Jar
There's tons of benefits to using mason jars. First and foremost, it helps keep your ingredients extremely fresh. Your lettuce, your fruits and vegetables that you put in there, it's going to help keep them nice and crisp, as well as give them a nice clean flavor. Also, they're great time-savers. You can make salads ahead of time, usually four or five days out. Just be sure keep the lid on in the refridgerator.
Mason jars are ideal for work, car trips, camping trips, or even for sending kids to day camp. You can put the jars in the lunch box. Also, we're reusing and recycling, so they're very environmentally friendly.
Building a Salad Inside the Mason Jar
Start off with a nice clean mason jar. But make sure when you wash it, you dry it very well. Because if there's any moisture in there, it can actually help make your lettuce and the other ingredients a little soggy.
Now, the key to any good mason jar salad is really the order in which you put your ingredients. There's four main layers to a mason jar salad.
Layer One: Dressing - Always put your dressing in first. It goes on the bottom.
Layer Two: Vegetables - Add in heartier bits like vegetables (snap peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions etc) that you want to marinate. You could add as much or as little as you want. Probably a good handful of each ingredient. This is where you will have the most color for your salad.
Layer Three: Proteins: Add in your proteins like chicken, beef, etc. You can also add grains, nuts, seeds and different cheeses. So it's truly the goody layer.
If you're on a gluten free diet, try adding quinoa. Dried blueberries are great to add to help add falvor to the quinoa.
Final Layer: Mixed Greens - Last but not least, we can't have a salad without our mixed greens. Put your lettuce right on top. That's going to be our fourth layer.
So we have some nice, beautiful layers. You can get crafty. You can take a little bit of fabric and hot glue it onto your top. You can also put some twine around there, and ribbon. And if you're going on a picnic or a family outing, you can even tie a little spork to the side.
With mason jar salads, the possibilities are endless. You can make all sorts of salads. You can have pasta salads in there. You can even do a fruit salad with a honey vinaigrette on the bottom. So have fun, play around with it.