I'm making sandwiches to take to a potluck (turkey, pesto, havarti and arugula). How far in advance can I put arugula on them before it wilts?
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Based on my lifelong experiences eating sandwiches as a kid and making sandwiches with arugula to take to the ballpark, etc. as an adult, lettuces -- including arugula -- will wilt in less than two hours.
A far bigger problem than wilted lettuce greens is the fact that the bread will start getting soggy from the more moist sandwich components.
There's little to do here except for pack the ingredients separately and assemble onsite.
That's one reason why delis make sandwiches to order. Even at home, I make sandwiches to eat immediately. I never make sandwiches to take to work, etc.
Only for the ballpark or other places where it is impractical to do the sandwich assembly onsite right before eating.
Hmmm. We make these often for the kids for school lunches, but I send the arugula in a baggie and they add it there. The rest of the sandwich travels well, but I've never tested the arugula. For this tailgate, maybe I'll just add the arugula one we're there? It's definitely a great component to the sandwich.
BTW, first time on this site and I'm totally impressed! Such quick responses. This will definitely be a regular visit for me!
By all means, if you're doing this at a football tailgate, add the arugula there. Tailgates are multi-hour affairs, even any arugula or lettuce you add to a sandwich when you arrive will be wilted to an unappealing mess by the end of the game (although someone will happily still eat it).
It's your call whether or not you add all the arugula to the sandwiches at the same time. You'll have to gauge the other tailgaters interest and appetite in your sandwiches and act accordingly. You may want to keep a few undressed and then prepare them at halftime (assuming you are attending a college game when people vacate the stadium at halftime).
I am one of the primary grillmasters at a regular college tailgate and I have to make similar judgment calls on how many sausages or burgers to put on the grill. You really want to pull them off the grill hot (and still have room to toast a bun to order) rather than toss fully cooked ones in some aluminum party tray for them to quickly cook off and lose appeal. I also cook carne asada tacos and that's even more labor intensive, since I warm the tortillas.
Again, judging your tailgaters appetites and interests, plus understanding the timing is a big difference between throwing a decent tailgate and throwing a great tailgate. I know the big wave of people show up about 90 minutes before kickoff. I also fire up the grill fifteen minutes before halftime to throw some sausages and burgers on the grill, so when people start returning from the stands, there is *HOT* food ready to go.
I've been attending tailgates for decades. Use your best judgment on timing and availability. Our tailgate crew knows we're going to get slammed at least twice, and a third time for a postgame feeders if it's a day game. Our folks care about putting out good food regardless of the moment.
Well, since we're on the topic of tailgate cooking, I would suggest that you also consider dressing some sandwiches for people to take into the game, maybe 30 minutes before kickoff. Unlike hamburgers, hot dogs, and tacos, a sandwich survives a short, brief trip pretty well.
Thanks for all the advice. I took your advice and added the arugula there. A huge tailgate that broke down as the game began, so I didn't have to worry about going the length of the game. A big hit. So many bean, cheese, etc dishes. This was one of the more "fresh" choices. Went quickly. I did them on the Hawaiin rolls (a la sliders...an indulgence, I know). The quickest, easiest pot luck dish I've ever taken. Reminds me of having my turn to provide snacks for the girls high school swim meet. They'd had it with granola bars and yogurt cups. I did some turkey cheese roll ups on tortillas and slices them in a-few-bite size. Such a simple thing and a huge hit.
Again...love this site!
Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I would have been beside myself to eat your sandwich at a tailgate. A nice, fresh departure from the usual.
Glad to hear it all worked out.
There are so many variables with tailgates, it's really a "gametime" decision on the potluck contributor. Weather factors like temperature, precipitation, sun exposure vary wildly by location and date.
Other important variables are the makeup of the attendees and what other food offerings are brought to the tailgate.
As you mentioned, your tailgate broke down around kickoff. Others, like the one I attend are in continuous operation, sometimes 6 hours or more.
If everyone at the tailgate can walk away feeling happy and satisfied (at least with the food, maybe not the game results), then the potluckers have done well.
In your case, your sandwiches were snapped up quickly, you might want to bring these again. Eventually, these tailgaters may be looking forward to seeing you and your sandwiches!
I would say that if the arugula is dried really well and on a "dry" sandwich it can last for a few hours (on a baguette with brie for example), but probably not the same thing with smth with mayo I guess.
amysarah is a trusted home cook.
I agree it's usually fine for a few hours. Another trick is layering the arugula, or any delicate green leaf, between the ham or turkey (or whatever meat) and cheese, or between cheese slices, instead of putting it next to the wet stuff - mustard, mayo, tomato, etc.