Monday, September 26, 2011

Meals in Jars

When I see news headlines like these…

U.S. Drought Driving Up Already Rising Food Prices While Economy Collapses! Get Prepared!

Drought means beef prices could rise

Multi-Billion Dollar Drought to Drive Beef Prices Up

…my first reaction is to freak out! It’s natural to experience feelings of fear and/or anxiety when reading news stories like this, right? But why, why would I waste one second of my life worrying about something I have no control over? You know what eases my fear: knowledge, preparedness, and a community of people that I trust.

About six months ago we began storing food. Buckets and buckets of organic beans, rice, quinoa, millet, oatmeal, popcorn, etc. now fill the once empty spaces of our closets. Given the access to water, we would be able to feed our immediate family and my parents (maybe even help out the neighbors) for about half a year. However, my thoughts lately are turning toward the possibility of using this food in the event prices of commodities were to increase, even more than they already have.

I’ve also been trying to organize what we do have and make it more practical for use. Today I began working on “meals in jars.” By combining beans, grains, dehydrated veggies/fruit from the garden, and seasonings I am attempting to ensure that we will have a supply of tasty and nutritious meals in the case of an emergency. Not to mention, it’s been a fun activity for the kids and I. It’s like canning beans and grains, but instead of using the pressure cooker all we do is place an oxygen absorber in the jar (smile).

There are thousands of different recipes you could follow when creating your meals in jars. Just remember to combine items that take approximately the same amount of time to cook. For example, do not intermix pasta with navy beans. The pasta will cook much quicker than the beans.

For an abundance of recipes to use as a foundation for your meals in jars look on this forum. Below I have also provided you with a few of the recipes we put together today.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (1 pint jar)
-1 cup oatmeal
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 cup sliced almonds
-1/4 cup dehydrated apples
*2 cups water necessary to reconsitute

Vegetable Millet (1 pint jar)
-1 cup millet
-1/4 cup dehydrated mixed veggies
-1/4 cup dried parsley
-1 tsp dehydrated minced garlic
-1 tsp salt
*3 cups of water necessary to reconsitute

Quinoa and Lentil Soup (1 quart jar)
-1 ½ cup quinoa
-1 ½ cup red lentils
-1/2 cup dehydrated veggies
-1/4 cup dehydrated onion
-1 tsp minced garlic
-1 tsp salt
-2 bay leaves
*5 cups of water necessary to reconsitute

Lemon Dill Rice (1 pint jar)
-1 cup rice
-1/2 tsp dried dill
-1 ½ tsp dehydrated lemon peel
-1/2 tsp salt
*2 cups of water necessary to reconsitute

For each recipe, layer ingredients in order as listed. Use the size jar as indicated. Place an oxygen absorber on top and then close lid. Store jars in a safe place. Keep off shelves.

Storage Tips
-The best way to store beans, grains, and dehydrated veggies/fruit is in a sealed mylar bag along with oxygen absorbers. The individual meals could then be stored in a 5-gallon bucket. Lightweight, takes up less space, it’s just a much better option. So, I’ll continue saving for the supplies required for this system of storage.

I recommend purchasing mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and heat sealers from the fine folks over at Preparing Wisely and who sell Made-in-America products.

Please comment and let us all know how you are finding creative, practical methods for long-term food storage.

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See this post and a host of others here:
Far Above Rubies, Homestead Barn Hop, Patchwork Living Blogging Bee, Real Food Wednesday, mangia mondays , Teach Me Tuesdays, Raising Homemakers, Simple Lives Thursdays, Your Green Resource, It's a Keeper, Food Renegade, Living Well, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Farmgirl Friday, Foodie Friday, SNS 104, Inspire Me Monday, Lines Across My Face, Hearth and Soul Hop

Year Supply of Basics


At September 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM , Blogger Patti said...

I like the idea of adding dehydrated veggies to the mix so it's truly a complete meal in a jar.
One thing I do in my food storage is to make sure I store complete meals. For example, 20 cans of tuna won't really do much good but by keeping tuna, relish, mayo, seashell pasta,and canned fruit we can have a decent meal. For times when the power is out I keep the small packages of mayo and relish. I know they're more expensive and have a lot of extra packaging but they don't require refrigeration like a big jar of mayo would.
Good luck with your food storage. No one can prepare for every single event but it's comforting to know that by having food on hand we can take care of an important basic need for our family.

At September 27, 2011 at 8:29 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

Yes Patti! You are right we cannot be prepared for everything. But a little prepared is better than none at all;) You are so smart to store complete meals as you discribed. Carry on! And thank you so very much for sharing with us!

At September 29, 2011 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal said...

Those headlines do freak me out. Thank you for linking up to Your Green Resource - I shared it on twitter.

At September 29, 2011 at 8:35 AM , OpenID said...

You are speakin my language.
We just put a way our whole cow for the year.
With a family of 9 we really try and think ahead ...and especially at times like this.
Good post.
loved it.

At September 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM , OpenID fce25ca0-eab0-11e0-b133-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Do you cook and dehydrate your grains and beans, like lentils, quinoa and millet? I'm asking because it seems to me you then have a meal that you just have to add hot water, not really cook, which could be an advantage in many situations.

At September 29, 2011 at 9:08 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Andrea Thank you for sharing this:) A whole cow...A family of 9! You are my hero. We have to take responsibility for ourselves. Good for you:) Thank you for your encouraging words.

@I wont retype all of that;) I did not cook and dehydrate. Dang it! What a great ides! I will try this and if it works well, I'll do it from now on. Thank you for the recommendation.

At September 30, 2011 at 7:50 AM , Blogger Yart said...

Thank you for posting this. A few years ago I purchased Dinner is in the Jar by Kathy Clark. Unfortunately, I never got around to making any of the jars up. But now having seen your post it has got me thinking about it again. I even went and pulled out the book!

At September 30, 2011 at 12:16 PM , Blogger Grace said...

I just bought a book on this. I think it is called Dinner In a Jar. By the way, I went to the link you provided for more recipes and killed an hour and a half. Thanks. This is such a practical and useful idea!

At October 3, 2011 at 7:32 PM , Blogger ~Sara said...

Thanks for linking up to the Frugal Tuesday Tip.

At October 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Stephanie said...

I actually just starting exploring making my own "instant soup" this year. So far, I've had a lovely success dehydrating an herbed lentil soup that I can rehydrate with hot water and (ideally) a minute or two in the microwave at work. I didn't test that batch with just using hot water and a thermos, but that would likely work too.

Next up: Curried DIY Lentil Soup...

At October 18, 2011 at 6:58 AM , Anonymous Andrea (From Seed to Stomach) said...

Because I only cook for two of us, making a big pot of seasonal soup, one of my favorite activities, can be a little tricky. I usually freeze leftovers, but then I have a freezer full of containers full of mystery soups! Recently, I realized that the wide-mouth pint-size ball jars are freezer safe! I bought a package of those Label Once erasable labels and now the freezer is neat and organized. One of those jars of soup is perfect to take to work for lunch or to heat up for a fast convenience dinner after a long day. I'm still perfecting my dry storage strategy and like these tips.

At October 20, 2011 at 3:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much water is needed for each recipe?

At October 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM , Blogger Terri said...

I too was wondering how much water to cook each recipe?

At October 24, 2011 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Anonymous and @Terri I have made edits to the post including water amounts. Thanks for your questions:) It makes me better!

At October 31, 2011 at 5:21 PM , Blogger Melynda said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

At November 1, 2011 at 6:24 PM , Blogger Tristen said...

I'm curious to see where you purchase your organic beans and so forth and so on. Interested in beefing up our food storage this year.

At November 5, 2011 at 4:56 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

I've been wanting to try doing some of these... I have a foodsaver with a jar vacuum sealer attachment. Do you think would this be enough to replace the oxygen absorbers?

At November 22, 2011 at 9:36 AM , Anonymous said...

Quick question. I read in the post where it said to keep them off shelves. Can you help me understand better? If I do put them in canning jars temporarily and then do a whole batch of mylar bags, can I store the jars on my pantry shelves?

At November 22, 2011 at 1:37 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@TipGarden You want to keep the glass canning jars off of the shelves just in case of an earthquake or if there is a chance they will fall and break:) As I mentioned, mylar bags are your best bet:)

At December 13, 2011 at 12:33 PM , Anonymous Toni said...

How long should you be able to store these with the oxygen absorbers? Just wondering if they need to be used within a certain time, or if they are good for long-term storage. Should be absorbers be changed at some point?

At December 28, 2011 at 4:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same question as Toni. Does anyone know?

At December 28, 2011 at 4:43 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

@Toni With the oxygen absorbers these meals should stay fresh for up to 20 years. And there is no need to change them:)


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