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In between our hectic weekday schedules, preparing meals every day can feel stressful. Amidst all that, you can feel relaxed and on top of your game with some meal-prepared salad. Having a big bowl of salad in the fridge ready to dig in can save a lot of time and money. But what you may be concerned with is, how long can salad with dressing last in the fridge?
How long your salad will last in the fridge depends heavily on the type of dressing you have used. Depending on your preservation method and the dressing, the salad will last for anywhere between 1 to 5 days. Without using proper storage methods, the shelf life of the salad might be even shorter.
No salad stays fresh for long. And it’s even harder to store the dressed salad in the fridge. But with some simple tips and tricks, you can enjoy your meal-ready salad for as high as five days. It’s also best if you are aware of the signs that tell your salad has spoiled. I will discuss all these and more in the rest of the article.
Shelf Life of Dressed Salads
Being left with some salad from your lunch is no rare occurrence. It also may be so that you want to make some salad in advance to have it later as soon as possible. Whatever the reason, the first idea to store the salad would be to pop it in the fridge.
It’s no secret that dressed salad that has been stored won’t taste the same after a day or two in the fridge. It can seem a bit wilted or soggy. But that doesn’t mean it is spoiled. How long the salad would stay well varies depending on the vegetable and most importantly, on the dressing.
Salad made with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, and others stays fine when you refrigerate them. Hardy vegetables like these will taste even better after they’ve been marinated in the dressing for a while. Storing these properly will make them last for up to a week.
But for other delicate green vegetables, the dressing will determine the salad’s shelf life. Dressings such as vinaigrette or Italian dressing will have vinegar or citrus juice in them.
The acid content can easily break down the cell structure of the leaves. This results in the trapped water in the greens being released and them getting wilted quickly. Salad with these dressings will last for about 3 to 5 days.
Dressings with a mayonnaise base don’t last long. So any salad with such dressing will not last long either. Caesar dressing, ranch, green goddess dressing are a great pair with your green salad. Since they are all mayo-based, it’s best to finish the salad within 2 to 3 days of buying.
As you can see there is no straight answer to the question “How long can salad with dressing last in the fridge?”. The type of vegetables or fruits used and also the nature of the dressing can dramatically impact the salad’s shelf life.
How Can You Store a Dressed Salad to Extend its Shelf Life?
Storing any salad is a meticulous task and it never tastes the same as it did when it was fresh. But doing it properly will extend its shelf life and retain some of the taste and texture. But how can you properly store the dressed salad? Two methods you can follow to store the salad is:
Method 1: Using a Mason Jar or Glass Containers
This method will work with any container that is airtight and leak-proof. Glass containers are the best for this as they are better at keeping moisture out. You can also use mason jars as they are budget-friendly and get the job done fantastically. The key to this method is to keep the greens separate from the dressing. This is the best way that will preserve the crispness of the greens.
- Step 1: Get your preferred container. Make sure to have them cleaned and dried beforehand.
- Step 2: Prepare all the ingredients for your salad. Any vegetables, proteins, grains, or greens should be cut and washed.
- Step 3: Start layering your container by putting the dressing in the bottom. You can pour any amount of the dressing you want. However, it’s best to pour 2-4 spoons.
- Step 4: The second layer should contain hard vegetables like- broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, onions, or others. This way they will be slightly pickled from staying marinated and keep the greens separate.
- Step 5: For the third layer, add any grains, pasta, noodles, beans, or similar ingredients of your choice.
- Step 6: The fourth layer will consist of the proteins or cheese. But you can skip this layer if you want.
- Step 7: Add all your delicate greens to the last layer.
- Step 8: Pop the container quickly in the fridge to have later.
With this method, it’s best to eat the salad within 5 days of storing it.
Method 2: Using a Glass Bowl and a Paper Towel
This is another easy method that will let you enjoy the pre-prepared salad. Anytime you’re hungry, you can take out the bowl and toss the salad on a plate to enjoy. This method is great at keeping the vegetables from getting soggy. A little arranging and you’ll get to enjoy a great meal with crispy salad.
- Step 1: Take a large clean bowl. Make sure it’s dry before use.
- Step 2: Pour salad dressing of your choice at the bottom of your bowl.
- Step 3: Next, put all the hard vegetables on top of the dressing.
- Step 4: Add the soft vegetables on top of that. You can add lettuce and spinach or store them separately to have them at the best texture.
- Step 5: Cover the top of the vegetables with a paper towel and put it in your fridge.
You can store the salad for about 12 hours with this method.
How Can You Tell Whether a Salad Has Gone Bad?
Trusting your senses is the best way you can tell whether a salad has gone bad or not. Check for some common signs that will tell you the condition of your salad. You can make it a habit to check the stored salads periodically for these signs. The signs you should beware of are:
- Discoloration or visual signs of decay
Most vegetables will show discoloration when it starts to go bad. You may also notice your greens turning brown. This is a sign for you to throw the salad out.
- Funky smell
Periodically check the smell of your salad. If they give off a rotten or funny smell, it’s probably gone bad. It’s best to throw it away.
- Mushy or soft texture
Most vegetables are firm and crisp in texture. If they feel mushy or soft at touch, they’ve started to spoil.
Salads are a simple and tasty way to have some greens and fruits. But not everyone has the time to prepare fresh salad every day. In that case, having a large serving prepared on your weekend will make your whole weekday schedule easier.
But storing pre-prepared salad is not easy and requires you to be well-informed of the salad’s shelf life. This article gives all the information that concerns “How long can salad with dressing last in the fridge”. So, I hope that this article will be useful for you and help you store your salad properly. Thank you for reading and wish you good health.