While browsing through Robie Books, the local bookstore in Berea, I ran across a book that made me think of our CSA members. The book, Mason Jar Salads and More, is full of recipes and ideas for healthy ways to use your CSA veggies. Author Julia Mirabella describes how she was in the habit of eating out for lunch while healthy vegetables from the farmers market were rotting in her refrigerator. She hit upon the idea of making salads at the beginning of the week that she took to work for the remainder of the week. This new habit saved money, ensured that she used all of her vegetables, and made for a healthy meal.
Mirabella’s solution was to make salads in Mason jars. The empty Mason jar in CSA boxes this week is intended to spark your creativity and inspire you to find new ways to use all your veggies. She learned that most salads will stay fresh for 4-5 days in the fridge in the jars, because of the airtight seal.
Here are the basics for building a Mason jar salad:
1. Start by putting your dressing in the bottom of the jar – 3 to 4 tablespoons per jar.
2.Choose a few firm veggies to place in after the dressing – cucumbers, peppers, carrots, maybe some beans, peas, or corn.
3. Continue to layer and pack as tightly as you can since the less air there is between the layers, the fresher the salad will be.
4. End your arrangement by adding the salad greens on the top. (If adding nuts or cheese, add them last).
5. Twist the tops to seal the salad. Add chicken or other protein the day you plan to eat your salad.
Because other salad dressings tend to separate, Mirabella recommends vinaigrettes for Mason jar salads. Here’s a recipe for a tried and true vinaigrette from our house:
- 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
For more inspiration, visit Mirabella’s website – www.myfoodandotherstuff.com – where you can get more details for preparing Mason jar salads. And don’t forget to keep an eye on fellow CSA’er Carly Cornelius’s food blog- weeatforreal.com for healthy cooking ideas.
Send us a picture of your Mason jar salad! We will post on our website and enter your name in a drawing to win a copy of Mirabella’s book.