Some time ago I discovered the most amazing blog, Salad in a Jar, about using a vacuum sealer to store lettuce for salads. While I can't use most of the recipes on her blog for dietary reasons (too much dairy), it's totally worth a look. Hubby and I were looking for a way to incorporate more veggies into our diet, but with our schedules and the fact that I don't do mornings salads were out -- or so we thought. By vacuum sealing our lettuce in pint jars on Sunday we are able to have fresh salad throughout the week. I seal eight jars of lettuce and eight jars of toppings. For the toppings, I use 4oz jelly jars. Then when hubby is packing lunches during the week, he grabs one of each for both of us and uses another jelly jar for dressing. All of this jarring got me to thinking about what other things I could store this way. It turns out that there are quite a few things I can do...
|UL: Salad and toppings; UR: Lasagna, LL: Apple pie filling; LR: Shepherd's pie|
Expanding from the basic salad, I have jarred lasagna, shepherd's pie, red beans & rice, and jambalaya. I like using the jars because they are very portable and environmentally friendly. I like that they help with portion control. It turns out that a pint is the perfect size for lunch. Plus, they are super easy to clean and don't retain any of the funk that plastic containers can take on over time. So now instead of packing one jar, I get two pint jars and two jelly jars in every lunch box.
A word of caution: I use a vacuum sealer for my jarring. This is a more temporary form of food storage that requires the food to still be refrigerated. When hubby and I set up our garden (hopefully in the spring), I'll explore a more long term canning solution.
The next frontier of jarring for me is dairy free cheezecake. Hubby binged and ate a whole cheesecake the weekend before his exam and I was super jealous that I couldn't join him -- probably would have saved him the belly ache too! So, I found a recipe for dairy-free cheesecake that I'll make in the jars to take to work for lunch. I'll be sure to report back my findings.