Finding Comfort in Ready Made Meals



British poet Edith Sitwell wrote, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth. For the touch of a friendly hand and a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home.” The feeling arrives just as you close the exterior door, let go of keys, bags, and shoes. The next step is meal preparation. Instinctively, our hands seek out refrigerator or freezer doors; yet, there is an alternative place to find a storehouse of food. For generations, preservation has been housed in a distinguishable glass jar with an airtight screw top.

Getting Started

Throughout the fall season, we assess our pantries and admire the numerous containers that may be described as “summer in a jar.” Perhaps, you canned batches of bread and butter pickles or salsa, which may supplement meals and be intended for holiday gifts. A broader approach is essential when considering the possibilities of storing dried meals in a resealable Mason jar. Before getting started, determine a location which remains 70 degrees or cooler. Shelf space is ideal; yet, the possibilities are boundless.

Extending Shelf Life: How much food do you have in sealable bags or boxes? Just imagine extending the shelf life of your food supply with the simple act of sealing contents in a Mason jar. By adding walnuts and chocolate chips or dried blueberries to pancake mix, you could create interesting varieties for your family.   Take the concept further and consider sealing cookie mixes, oatmeal flavors, popcorn, and hard candies that otherwise might be forgotten and one day thrown away.   With the bare essentials of heat and the right amount of water, or just unscrewing a lid, a meal can be ready in an instant.

Combinations of Soups: Readymade soups packaged in a bag often include powders, spices, bouillon granules, and dehydrated vegetables and, sometimes, meats. By adding the recommended amount of water and providing time on the stove, the meal becomes an appreciated convenience.   Absorbed by liquid, the soup comes to life with fullness and the aroma of flavor. And, you could probably do it better!

While dehydrating fruits and vegetables can range in time between five to twelve hours, just imagine the possibilities if you had dehydrated carrots and onions, celery and potatoes, or blueberries and apples. Long term food storage companies provide foods vacuum sealed in a #10 can for the convenience and simplicity of creating your own dried meals. You could assemble jars of “Brown Rice and Vegetable Soup” or “Carrot Ginger and Potato Soup.” Tuck in the recipe and an oxygen absorber for longevity. (Since the contents are dry, the lid can be used again.)

Home Canned Spaghetti Sauce: The challenge with prepackaged spaghetti sauce is it often requires spices to liven the taste. Also, pouring from a large container may result in drowned noodles. The solution is canning your own spaghetti sauce to a desired perfection of taste and size. For pasta meals, a pint jar serves the perfect amount while pizza sauce requires a half pint jar. Here is the chance to put love into a family recipe and have a delicious sauce on hand for any occasion.

Main Courses and Side Dishes

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to decide to make braised chicken with mushrooms accompanied with Indian rice, cashews and raisins? It sounds heavenly! Hours of work can be simplified by opening up a pantry door or entering the root cellar and grabbing two labeled Mason jars. If dessert is on the minds of those seated at your table, grab a jar labeled “Cobbler Mix.” By the time dinner is finished, everyone will be happy to receive a serving of sweetened goodness.

Recipes

Meals in a jar is desirable for the individual who works late and needs a good quality meal or who likes to be prepared. The possibilities are boundless when fruits, vegetables, and meats are dehydrated.   Whether you further your understanding of meals in a jar through books, blogs, or websites, information is available to help you get started and demonstrate the ease of preparing meals. Months from now when the lights go out, and all that remains is the warmth from your fire; you may feel grateful for your efforts in preparing meals in a jar. The night may not prove to be so cold surrounded by so much comfort and peace of mind.  

 


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