How I Preserve Food: Meals in a Jar

There are so many ways (and reasons) to preserve food (scroll to the bottom of this post to see a blogger round-up of tons of great food preservation posts). While most people think about canning or dehydrating when they think about food preservation, we wanted to touch on something a little different today. We are firm believers in having a fully-stocked “home store” not just for every day convenience, but also in case of a long term emergency situation. We blog about this a lot over at Food Storage Made Easy.

You can dehydrate or purchase freeze-dried/dehydrated single ingredients and store them on the shelf with the intention of making meals out of them. But how often do you actually put together a meal and try it out? Are you going to wait until there is an emergency before you realize you don’t have all the right flavorings to complete a meal? We can beat those battles by putting together Meals in a Jar! These jar meals are great for:

  • Zero prep dinners on a busy night
  • Quick and easy meal for someone in need
  • Church or group activity to make a lot at a time and each take some home
  • Make lots of jars to keep in your long term food storage as meals


Here is one of our favorite recipes converted to a meal in a jar. I’ll include some cute labels and conversions for doing big batches below.


3/4 c. Freeze-Dried Chopped Chicken
1/2 c. Instant Black Beans
1/2 c. Instant Brown Rice
1/2 c. Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn
1/4 c. Freeze-Dried Chopped Onion
1/4 c. Freeze-Dried Green Chilies
1/4 c. Freeze-Dried Diced Tomatoes
2 T. Thrive Tomato Powder
2 T. Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Add all ingredients to a quart-sized mason jar in order listed above. Add one oxygen absorber or seal the jar with a FoodSaver Jar Attachment. When ready to cook, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add ingredients and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Delicious served with tortilla chips or cornbread.

To download labels for your jars CLICK HERE.

To make 15 jars of this recipe using Thrive ingredients (with some product left over on a few of the items) you would need to purchase the following products:
1 #10 Can Freeze-Dried Chopped Chicken
1 #10 Can Instant Black Beans
1 #10 Can Instant Brown Rice
1 #10 Can Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn
1 Pantry Can Freeze-Dried Chopped Onion
1 Pantry Can Freeze-Dried Green Chili Peppers
1 Pantry Can Freeze-Dried Diced Tomatoes (use a little less than 1/4 c. or else buy a #10 can)
1 Pantry Can Thrive Tomato Powder
1 Pantry Can Chicken Bouillon
1 large jar Ground Cumin
1 large jar Chili Powder
1 large jar Garlic Powder

Now check out some of the other ways preparedness bloggers are preserving food!
The Prepared Bloggers - How We Preserve Foods

Join us as we share different reasons and methods of how we preserve food to create a long-term storage plan for our families. Click on each link to be taken to a new blog with helpful information and tips.

Mom with a PREPHow to Dehydrate Ginger and Make Ginger Powder
Preparedness MamaMake Jam Without Pectin
Mama KautzDehydrating
Busy B HomemakerFreezer Jam
Ed That MattersAnyone Can Do It: Fool Proof Food Storage
The Apartment PrepperEasy Marinated Mushrooms
The Homesteading HippyHow to Use Your Pressure Canner
Montana HomesteaderMaking and Preserving Cherry Pit Syrup
Are We Crazy or WhatHow to Dehydrate Cherries
Your Thrive Life – How I Preserve Food: Meals in a Jar
Melissa K NorrisRe-Usable Canning Tattler Lids-Do They Really Work?
Real Food LivingPreserve and Store Grains with Dry Ice
Cooke’s FrontierSmoking
Homestead DreamerWater Bath Canning
Evergrowing FarmHow to Preserve Red Chile
Survival SherpaModern Mountain Man MRE’s
The Backyard PioneerFermentation
Trayer WildernessHow We Preserve Food
Living Life in Rural IowaVegetable Soup
The Organic PrepperHow to Make Jam without using added Pectin
Homesteading MomHow I Preserve Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup
A Matter of PreparednessHow I Preserve Using Mylar Bags

- Jodi and Julie


  1. We made this meal-in-a-jar and my family loved it! And I loved how easy it was to make. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be making this again and again.

  2. I’m taking the dive! I like the sound of this idea and it looks good. I didn’t want to invest in a lot of freeze dried foods and wonder how to use them. With lots of reading I think I can do this.

  3. What’s the shelf life for the quart jars? Will the oxygen absorber or using vacuum seal last longer?

    • Jodi and Julie says:

      The shelf life would be the “open” shelf life of the ingredient with the shortest shelf life. Adding an oxygen absorber or vacuum sealing will definitely extend that at least another year or two.

  4. Could you explain the vacumn sealing of a mason jar. Also, what is the serving size of the recipes? Thanks so much!!

    • Jodi and Julie says:

      The jars typically serve 3-4 adults. I bought a jar attachment for my vacuum sealer so I attach it to the top and it sucks the air out and seals the lid thus extending the shelf life of the food. Hope that helps!

  5. How do you freeze dry meat, and handling of it when using the jar recipes?

  6. Leonard L Lamers says:

    perfect :-) a buying list, now you need to make other recipes to use with the same buying list :-) then ill be hooked and use your product :-) ps thk you

  7. I’m trying to store for long term – just in case….. This recipe will work great & now I know what I need to buy to make a great recipe. Will be checking for more meals-in-a-jar.

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