“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery
There is an elegance in autumn that is not present in other seasons. The light, filtering through the leaves, has the quality of honey – thick and syrupy. Toothache sweet.
I had a revelation this afternoon. My Mason Jar Salad obsession takes root in the fact that my salads are like fall. October in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is very much like a Mason Jar Salad.
October contains all of summer’s potential bottled up and presented in layered prettiness. Autumn is nature’s last stand before a long and cold winter. Fall attempts to coax our senses into accepting another season of hibernation. A jarred salad is portable and has the potential to be filled with an abundance of nutrients. It is an enticing container of fuel for our hectic and busy lives.
I have not posted recipes for the past couple weeks but I still have been preparing healthy meals. Last week I wanted to create a salad that was brimming with autumn’s lushness. About a month ago I started experimenting with the lavender in my garden and I found the flavor it brought to salad dressing pleasing.
The night that I met my husband Mike (August 2011), he walked me home from a gathering. We lingered outside and talked for hours. My landlord had planted a patch of lavender and I remember that night plucking a strand to crush and smell the tranquil aroma. To this day, lavender reminds me of Mike. When he was deployed to Iraq I bought lavender linen spray for his return and it was the first perennial we planted when we bought our house.
In the past I would pick and dry lavender, but I had not experimented with using lavender in recipes until this fall. Lavender imparts a fruity taste so I combined it with fresh berries, fruit, and citrus.
BLACKBERRY & LAVENDER VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
- 1 pint of fresh blackberries (frozen would work as well)
- 1/2 cup of vinegar (I used champagne vinegar)
- 1/4 cup of water (many homemade dressings do thicken as they sit and I thin out with water or extra vinegar)
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (you can always leave the oil out and add it individually to the bottom of your jar, or to each salad for portion control)
- 1 lemon ~ juice and zest
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of lavender blossoms (I harvested the lavender a few days ahead so it would dry)
- 1 Tablespoon of raw honey (you could also use maple syrup)Blend dressing well.
When making Mason Jar Salads put the dressing in first and keep it away from the greens. The acid in the dressing will make the greens slimy. If you close tight (I do not vacuum seal my jars) they will keep for over a week in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat you can shake, and either pour the salad out on a plate or bowl, or eat straight out of the jar.
FRUITED CHIA MASON JAR SALADS
I layered these ingredients, in the following order, in one quart Mason jars. (I made five salads)
- 3 Tablespoons of Blackberry & Lavender Vinaigrette Dressing
- Sliced cucumber (I used two cucumbers)
- 1 cup of fruit salad with Chia seeds and lime juice (recipe to follow)
- White Beans (I used 1/2 cup)
- Raw mixed nuts (I used 1/4 cup)
- Chopped romaine lettuce
FRUIT SALAD WITH LIME JUICE AND CHIA SEEDS
- 1 chopped orange (I also included the orange zest before peeling)
- 1 pint of raspberries
- 1 chopped mango
- 2 chopped kiwi
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- Juice and zest of one lime
- 5 Teaspoons of chia seeds
- 2 Teaspoons of fresh mint ~ chopped
- Optional ~ sweetener of choice (I did not use any). As the fruit salad sits the juices will marry and the flavor will become even more pleasing.
There was approximately a cup of fruit salad remaining after I assembled the salads.
The salads turned out exactly as I hoped they would. They would also be lovely plated and would make a superb course for an autumn luncheon or dinner.
The dressing and salad both harness the jubilation of October and I can imagine recreating both in the heart of winter for a fragrant and uplifting taste of deja vu. What is next up on my agenda? My plan is to continue writing and this evening I will be sharing another recipe for a Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad with Greek Vinaigrette. So stay tuned!
Pin this recipe here.
If you are interested in other Mason Jar Salads, please check out my other salads and dressings. You can follow my recipes on Pinterest and please like my Produce with Amy Facebook page.