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We like to use canning jars for everything. Try this creative way to carry your lunch or dinner - in a canning jar with a nutritious salad.


CHICKASHA, Okla. - We like to use canning jars for everything from storing grains in the pantry to displaying a beautiful floral arrangement for a country wedding. By far the best way to use canning jars, other than for canning, is to pack a salad for a lunch or dinner time treat.


Packing a salad in a jar starts with pouring the dressing in the bottom. It is recommended to use two to three tablespoons for a quart-sized salad or one to two tablespoons for a pint-sized jar. A vinaigrette-type dressing works well. Top with a layer of hard, moisture-resistant vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, radishes, or broccoli.


Next add a protein such as lentils, garbanzo beans or other beans such as black beans or kidney beans. You can add tuna but meats that have been previously roasted such as chicken or ham may taste best and keep better if added at the time of serving. Remember don’t keep previously cooked meat longer than four days if saving from a previous meal.


Softer vegetables and fruits come next such as corn, olives, grape tomatoes or dried fruit. Nuts and seeds follow such as walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds. Chunks of cheese also can be added at this time. Add salad greens last. For the most nutrition, use dark green salad greens such as romaine, spinach or leaf lettuce. Place the band and lid in place and refrigerate.


Before you take off for work, place the salad jar in an insulated bag with a gel pack. Use the salad within four days for best quality. Some people like to shake the jar to distribute the dressing and eat directly from the jar. Or, you can shake the salad into a large bowl. If shaking the salad into the bowl doesn’t mix the salad, gently toss with a fork until the ingredients are coated. 


Because the salads maintain a good quality for up to four days, you can prepare salads ahead of time. Look for quality vegetables at your local grocery store or farmers market and enjoy the vegetables that are in season.


For more information about healthy eating, contact Grady County OSU Cooperative Extension Service at (405) 224-2216. We are located at 828 W. Choctaw in Chickasha.


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone (405) 744-5371; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator (405) 744-9154.

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