Turn Your Fridge into a Salad Bar


Whenever I go to the market, I make it a point to enter through the door closest to the produce area. The minute I am among the fruit and veggies, I feel good. Everything is so colorful and inviting. I want to eat it all and I happily load up my basket.

Later, when I look in my fridge, the same produce is there but I  don’t get that happy feeling. In fact, a lot of the the time my first thought is, “…nothing to eat… at least not quickly.”

Recently, I figured out why that is. We eat first with our eyes. How food looks really makes an impact on our brains. I store all my fruit and vegetables in green bags to keep them fresh longer. I can’t see the produce through the bags. My fridge is full of fruit and veggies but usually, if I’m looking for something quick, I’ll reach for the nuts. The nuts are in jars….I can see them. Finally it hit me. If I could see my vegetables, I might be more inclined to reach for them first.

It worked! I set my fridge up like a salad bar. Veggies are visible, clean, cut and ready to eat. They are all at eye level. Colorful veggies are the first thing I see when I open the door. Now I feel happy when I look in the fridge. The same things are in there but seeing them makes all the difference. It’s also very quick and easy to make a big salad. And last but not least, I see everything I have. I don’t “lose” things because they are hidden in the bags.  I still use the bags but I put a some of all my veggies in jars where they can be seen.

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I use wide mouth Ball Mason jars. I love these because no matter what size you choose, they all use the same lid. It’a a small thing but it saves a lot of time and frustration when you can just grab a lid and know it will fit. As you can see in the photo, some of my lids are plastic. These are BPA free. I like to use them in the fridge because the metal ones can get rusty in there.

You probably don’t want to cut up tomatoes or cucumbers ahead of time. They won’t last long but you can fill a jar with cherry clean tomatoes.

Many of my chef friends insist that greens should be washed and cut at the last minute. Usually I agree, but if you are very busy and having lettuce ready to go makes the difference between eating salad or not, go ahead and get your leafy greens ready to eat. Wash them, spin them dry and fill a large jar to the very top – don’t leave any space for air – and put on the lid. Your greens will keep for 2 -3 days in the fridge.

Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, bell peppers, carrots, celery, corn, fennel, beets, beans and peas all store well in jars. You can clean and cut up enough for 2 – 3 days at a time.

Now all you need is dressing. I make a quart of dressing every week so I always have it on hand and ready to go. If you don’t have dressing ready, don’t let that stop you! Squeeze a lemon and drizzle some olive oil on your salad. Salsa makes a great dressing. You can also pulse a tomato in your blender with a little olive oil for a quick dressing.

If you set up your own salad bar,  please let me know if it makes a difference for you like it did for me!












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