Meals in jar are a great way to put aside whole meals for your food storage. Through the canning or dry vacuuming process, you can put a meal up to help create long-term food storage.
While there are all sorts of fun things you can store in a jar in the fridge or keep on a shelf for a short period of time (like salads in a jar, etc.), I’m going to concentrate mostly on those food storage meals that you can put up for long-term storage.
I have all these #10 Cans? Can I use them?
If you’re sitting on a ton of #10 cans full of freeze-dried foods, what do you do with it? This method allows you to create meals from that food storage so that you can rotate this into your daily meals. Some of the links will be made by folks who sell certain freeze-dried food products. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a part of those companies to create these meals on your own, with your own supplies or your own vendors. These are also a mix of Youtube videos and blog posts because there’s so much available everywhere!
While using your #10 cans to create stored food for basic meals, your long-term shelf life will be reduced. Since you’re reusing the cans the food you put inside them won’t last as long as the original product. Your foods will only last a few years as opposed to a suggested twenty-five years of the original product. But you can create a shelf full of ready meals that are quick to put together and makes mealtime a snap on busy nights when you just don’t have time to cook a whole meal. You can also use your ready meals if you’ve forgotten to pull something out of the freezer.
Give the Gift of Meals in a Jar to Others
Think what a blessing a few of these meals would be to someone who is homebound from sickness or has lost a job and could use a nice meal or two to help them out! You can also give these meals in a jar as wedding gifts to a newlywed couple to help them establish their food storage (think of the old-fashioned pound parties) or even to new parents to give them some quick meals for hectic nights when Mom needs a break!
These gifts would be so much better used than simply a few #10 cans of ‘raw material’ (i.e. freeze-dried foods) that may not be understood nor may the recipient be knowledgeable about how to use them in their everyday life. But a jar they can pour out, add some water and a few fresh ingredients and wham! Dinner is served! That’s how Hamburger Helper became famous!
Ready to begin? Let’s get started!
Breakfast Meals in a Jar
Blueberry Scones (not shelf stable for long-term)
Cranberry Almond Cereal Mix (not shelf stable for long-term)
Homemade Granola (*NST) This is good to make and to store for breakfasts and snacks, but because of the fat content in the granola, it’s not great for long-term storage.
Oatmeal (make your own flavored varieties to store)
Main Course Meals in a Jar
Double Cheeseburger Sauce Mix – like Hamburger Helper
Soup Meals in a Jar
Sides in a Jar
Refried Beans (this is basically just dehydrated refried beans, but when all you have to do is add water, it makes a quick and easy side or protein replacement!)
Desserts in a Jar
Cookies (lots of Betty Crocker-esque cookies in a pouch mix.)
Other Treats in a Jar
Assorted Mixes in a Jar
Drinks in a Jar
Hot Cocoa Mix (you can even use dehydrated marshmallows to make it more shelf stable)
Salads in a Jar
These salads are not shelf stable, but they are a great way to prepare a week worth of meals and have them tucked away in the fridge to save you tons of time.
Sites dedicated to Meals in Jars
Books on creating Meals in Jars
Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook (read my review here). Not only is this a great technique book on how to dehydrate those products that can build your meals in a jar, she includes a lot of “just add water” meals, too!
How to Store Meals in a Jar
You can store them by dry, vacuum canning them in a mason jar, placing them in a jar with an oxygen absorber or by putting them in a mylar bag and sealing. (Tutorials coming soon!) While they don’t last as long as the individual freeze-dried or dehydrated commercial products that are sealed in those #10 cans, if stored properly with shelf-stable ingredients, they can last up to 5-7 years.
What’s your favorite meal in a jar recipe?