As I was cruising through some YouTube videos on dehydrated food one day, I came across some videos on making meals in a jar using freeze dried foods. I thought the concept would be great for storing extra food. I ordered the book, Meals In a Jar from Amazon to get started. The author happened to be the chef for Honeyville Farms, a freeze dried food company so just stuck with that brand. At least at first.
I pooled over every recipe in the book. If I thought the recipe sounded like something I might want to make, it received one check mark. Recipes that got two check marks were definitely going on my list. Recipes that received three check marks, were the ones I would try out first. I picked out 3 of my favorite recipes and wrote down every ingredient needed.
It took me three and a half months to order all my ingredients, ordering just two to three #10 cans every 2 weeks. Honeyville just charges $4.99 for shipping, whether you order one can or twenty. It seemed to take forever and I paid more shipping than if I had ordered everything at once, but it worked with my tiny budget. I took advantage of that three and a half month period by stocking up on half gallon and quart size wide mouth Mason jars. Lots and lots of quart jars. And canning lids. And Oxygen Absorbers. And Mylar bags.
When I had all my freeze dried food, I had a wonderful time putting those meals together. Then I picked out three more recipes and ordered those ingredients. Since I already had some base ingredients from my first order, I only had to wait one month for my food and cranked out 36 more meals.
After awhile, I had the process down so well, I started to go through my own recipes….the ones I have made for years that my family loves. I shop around now for my ingredients. Just like Costco doesn’t have everything that the grocery store has, Honeyville doesn’t have everything and sometimes have to order from Thrive. Sometimes I add my own dehydrated ingredients but must be careful as freeze dried and dehydrated products reconstitute differently.
Most of the dehydrated meals I make up have a shelf life of 5-7 years, some up to 10. My ultimate goal is to have one year of jarred meals and one year supply of # 10 cans of freeze dried food. I have a way to go. In order to rotate my meals, I occasionally use them when I am too tired to cook a complicated meal, under a time crunch, or have unexpected company drop by. I also have given some jars to some folks who were going through a rough time. Do I REALLY need to just wait for an emergency?