I love all kinds of meals in jars! I keep them on hand for quick and easy meals, to have in the camper and in case of emergencies.
While I am not officially a prepper, if S.H.T.F (shizzle hits the fan in prepper speak) I do believe in being prepared for an emergency situation. As long as I am able to access my home, I can keep my family fed and well for several weeks at least.
Because I love to pressure can, I have a nice little stockpile of all kinds of goodies, my cupboards are always full and I have a full freezer as long as we have electricity. If not, I’ll get to canning. We do have 2 generators and plenty of fuel to last a while.
But that’s not why I love to can. I do it for convenience, when I just don’t feel like cooking from scratch.
It allows me to be able to take advantage of a good sale on meats and fresh veggies. I buy in bulk if there’s a savings to be had, then can it all up.
Plus we avoid using foods canned in metal cans from the store, since much of it contains BPA in the can lining, which ironically is intended to keep the food safe.
Here’s a photo of just a small section of my food storage.
Another way to prepare meals in jars it to purchase freeze dried foods or to freeze dry your own and put it in Mason jars.
Freeze dried foods are so convenient! I didn’t start using them for that reason, but they really are nice to have on hand.
The reason I started using freeze dried foods is because unless you grow your own or live where you have the advantage of fresh produce all year round you are forced to purchase them from the grocery store.
These fruits and veggies have been picked before they were ripe so they would have a long shelf life. They sit in warehouses and in transit for weeks. Many, many weeks sometimes. That means that the nutritional value of our store bought produce is nil. They weren’t given time to ripen so the flavor and nutrition just isn’t there.
My favorite freeze dried foods are picked at their best and freeze dried pretty quickly, ensuring the best nutrition and flavor.
I have so much fun doing this! The meals are so pretty don’t you think?
Have you priced freeze dryers lately? Holy moly they are thousands of dollars!! That’s why I don’t do my own freeze drying. There are lots of other things I’d rather buy for myself that would be so much more fun 😉
These meals in jars work so well for a quick and easy breakfast, lunch or dinner in the RV.
We rent a lake lot in the summer just a few miles from our home, park our camper right on the water’s edge then come and go all summer long. We spend several days and nights each week there. It’s so relaxing and peaceful. It rejuvenates my soul.
Cooking a big meal in our little RV kitchen is kind of a pain if there are too many steps or ingredients to it. But with meals in jars it’s a breeze!
I try to make these meals as complete in the jar as I possibly can. Sometimes I have to add beef or chicken base, cream or butter, then add water, let simmer and viola` a super easy meal!
I have done a lot of freeze dried food research and comparisons. My favorite fruits and veggies are from Thrive Life.
They have the highest quality and most nutritious available. All of the fruits and veggies are Non-GMO, picked at the height of freshness, flash frozen then freeze dried within 24 hours of picking. That means maximum freshness and nutrition. I’m all about Non-GMO and highest nutritional value. That’s so important to me and my family.
Unfortunately that isn’t the case for the other brands I’ve found.
I wrote to several different companies and asked these 3 questions:
1. How long between when fruits and vegetables are picked to when they are freeze dried?
2. Are they non-Gmo?
3. Do your cans contain any BPA?
I’ve gotten very similar answers from them all:
Thank you for reaching out. I am happy to answer these questions for you:
1. According to our product specialist, we don’t have exact information regarding this. It is picked, then frozen, then freeze-dried though it could be a few months before it is freeze-dried.
2. None of our products are certified as non-GMO, however some of our ingredient suppliers do have a GMO statement. If you are curious about a specific product, I can try and get more information for you.
3. All of our cans are stainless steel and BPA-free.
So as you can see, not all freeze dried products are equal.
To be honest Thrive Life is a bit more expensive, but I would say it’s justified, wouldn’t you?
I am not as particular about the meats and dairy I buy this way as no company is saying the words “grass fed or free range”. They’re all about the same quality and flavor, so why not go with the least expensive? That goes for shipping too. Of course shipping is always free with Amazon Prime so that’s where I get the other freeze dried products I use.
I buy so many things from Amazon because of the free shipping and the prices can’t be beat. I honestly could just shop Amazon ❤️ and never leave the house, LOL.
Check Prime free delivery out here.
Remember, all the freeze dried veggies came from Thrive Life. You can find them here.
I’ll share where I found the other ingredients I used down below the recipes. Each one was the least expensive choice and good quality. Again, all products have been vetted by me.
Here are the recipes…
When you see FD in the ingredients list it means I’m too lazy to type out Freeze Dried every time. My Cream Of Any Soup Mix recipe is below this one.
Cheesy Cream of Chicken Veggie Soup
- 1 cup (heaping Cup) of FD chicken chunks
- 1/4 cup FD celery
- 1/2 cup FD mushrooms
- 1/4 cup FD red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup FD diced carrots
- 1/2 cup FD chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup FD sour cream
- 1/4 cup FD cheese mix
- 1/3 cup Cream of any soup mix
- 1 TBSP Chef's Choice All Purpose Seasoning Blend See notes for substitute
- 1 tsp granulated or powdered garlic
- 1 TBSP FD green onions
- 1 TBSP dried parsley
- 1 TBSP dried or FD minced onion
- 3 large Knorr bouillon cubes see notes for substitute
Dump entire jar into a 4+ quart stock pot. Add 2 mason jars of water (8 cups), bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add 1 Cup of heavy cream, stir well and serve.
You can substitute any seasoning you wish for the Thrive Life Chef's Choice All Purpose Seasoning. I make my own by pouring an entire bottle of my favorite steak seasoning, 1/4 cup onion powder and 1/4 cup garlic powder in a grinder and pulverizing it. I've used this on everything I cook for years. The Chef's seasoning has become my favorite, but still use my own a lot too.
You can substitute the 2 quarts of water for 2 quarts of chicken stock or broth if you don't want to use bouillon cubes.
You will need to push everything down into the jar to make it all fit. Throw in an oxygen absorber packet if you plan on long term storage, if not don't worry about it if you don't have them.
Click here for the printable Cream Of Any Soup Mix recipe.
Now for the next recipe…
Vegetable Beef Soup
- 1 heaping C FD ground beef
- 1 T FD green onion
- 1/2 FD diced potatoes
- 1/4 C FD celery
- 1/4 C FD mushrooms
- 1/4 C FD red bell peppers
- 1/4 C FD carrots
- 1/4 C FD zucchini
- 1/4 C FD corn
- 1/4 C FD diced tomatoes
- 1/4 Cup FD peas
- 1/4 C FD green beans
- 1 T dried parsley
- 1 T dehydrated or FD onions
- 1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 heaping T Thrive Life Chef's Choice All Purpose Seasoning Blend
- 3 TBSP FD Thrive Life tomato powder
- 3 beef bouillon cubes My preference in beef flavoring is Better Than Bouillon paste instead of cubes, which I don't add until time to cook. It won't work in the jar
Layer ingredients into a quart jar.
You will need to push everything down into the jar to make it all fit.
Throw in an oxygen absorber packet if you plan on long term storage, if not don't worry about it if you don't have them.
Dump entire jar into a 4+ quart stock pot.
Add 2 mason jars of water or 8 cups
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes and serve.
You can substitute any seasoning you wish for the Chef's Choice All Purpose Seasoning. I make my own by pouring an entire bottle of my favorite steak seasoning, 1/4 cup onion powder and 1/4 cup garlic powder in a grinder and pulverizing it. I've used this on everything I cook for years. The Chef's seasoning has become my favorite, but still use my own a lot too.
You can substitute the 2 quarts of water for 2 quarts of beef stock or broth if you don't want to use bouillon cubes.
My Top Ingredient Picks
So there you have it. Meals in jars for convenience, for emergencies and for camping! You can buy Mylar bags if that works better for you too.
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