How to make and use dehydrated or freeze-dried food to prepare meals in a jar

Guest post by Jacquelyn F


How much easier would it be to have a meal ready to cook by only adding water, or adding some meat and maybe some canned tomatoes?  There are many books on the market for making meals in a jar for meat eaters and vegetarians plus dehydrated meals for hikers and campers.  If using dehydrated or freeze dried meat, the only item necessary to add is water.  You can make your own MRE’s at a fraction of the price.  If properly sealed, meals in a jar or Mylar pouch will last easily 7-10 years!  So let’s get started.

The first thing I did was to learn how to make mixes for baking and soups, etc. by reading and by watching  I have several links at the bottom that will introduce recipes; but more important, basic skills to learn.  Improperly sealed jars or pouches means food goes to waste to soon.

The first process I go through in developing a mix or a recipe is to identify which recipes I use that are adaptable to storing in a jar.  I look for those with a majority of dry ingredients.  I lean toward recipes with lots of dried veggies including beans.  You will see a video later on how to treat beans if you want to use them in your meals in a jar.  Pasta in any form is great.  As a Vegan, I do not use real meat, but there are many meat substitutes out there many with beef or chicken flavorings.

I am now buying dehydrated veggies plus my dehydrator s are at work drying the important items: onions, celery, carrots cut in various shapes, cabbage (prepackaged cole slaw mix on sale), broccoli heads and broccoli sticks, mushrooms, potatoes sliced, diced, and shredded, and corn.  I keep a variety of flours in the freezer, instant beans, and dried fruit; particularly, raisins.  Now let’s talk recipes.  First step I did in learning was to learn to make dry mixes for baking.  They can be stored in individual pouches or in large mason jars.

My favorite Vegan snack/dessert is Pineapple Bars.  I computed each ingredient times 10.  Ten cakes 9 x 13 serve the needs of family members visiting for a couple of months.  The mix is stored in 2 half-gallon mason jars with a little left over in a pint jar.  The reason I consider this an ideal mix is the dry ingredients are put in a bowl and all I need to do is mix in a handful of coconut if I want to use it and open a can (2 small or 1 larger) of crushed pineapple with flavoring added to the pineapple.

I stir the wet ingredients into the dry until moistened, pour into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with something like Pam, and then bake.  I serve it warm most of the time, but it is also good for breakfast hot or cold.  This is my bulk recipe:

Pineapple Bars-10 batches cut into squares to serve

  • 20 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 5 cups sugar or Splenda/Stevia
  • 20 t baking powder
  • 10 t baking soda
  • For each batch use 2.5 cups mix plus
  • 2 small cans or 1 large can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 t coconut flavoring
  • A handful of coconut (optional)
  • 9 x 13 cake pan sprayed with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 19-24 minutes or until golden on top.

If the mix is to be kept in storage long term, either put an oxygen absorber in each jar before putting on the lid or vacuum seal the jar.  Individual packages for each cake can be made using Mylar or vacuum seal bags.

Here is a variation that came to me while asleep.  Change flavoring to vanilla, add a little cinnamon to taste, a cup of rehydrated diced apples, and then add enough unsweetened applesauce to moisten.

This is another recipe I like which is also Vegan:

Blueberry Loaf Cake-8 batches of 12 muffins or bread loaves

20 cups of whole-wheat pastry flour

10 tea cinnamon

5 tea ground ginger

10 tea baking powder

5 tea baking soda

5 cups brown sugar (I use Splenda or dry Stevia)

For each batch use 2.5 cups of mix plus

.5 cups applesauce

1 tea vanilla

1 cup milk

1 cup frozen blueberries (wild or tame)

Use a 9-inch bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Muffins bake about 20 minutes.

Other good recipes for mixes are pancakes, biscuits, muffins, cakes, and cookies.  Some commercial mixes include the shortening/butter in the mix.  The inclusion shortens the shelf life so I prefer to add the fat when putting the liquids into the dry ingredients.

The supplies needed to begin storing meals in a jar are dried onions, garlic, celery, carrots, flours, sugars, dried milk/buttermilk, dried butter, dried eggs, and dried cheese.  If not filling individual jars, a very large bowl is necessary for mixing the ingredients thoroughly.  Clean tools and surface is absolutely mandatory.  A calculator helps with multiplying out the numbers of desired portions.

Go to and search meals in a jar to see what is available.  Some are better than others.  I use my own cookbooks plus books and cookbooks like The Preppers Cookbook by Tess Pennington and Meals in a Jar by Julie Languille.  One of my favorite resources is YouTube.  Type in Meals in a Jar or Meals in a Jar recipes.

Your best source is  Below, I list some of my favorite chefs and then a sample of their recipes.

This is a list of chef’s to study for various techniques and recipes.



Linda’s Pantry

Honeyville Grain

Chef Tess


Here is a selection of videos with recipes and cooking instructions:

Linda’s Pantry

Meal in a Jar Soup Starters  (I would vacuum pack or use oxygen absorber to extend shelf life)



How to Make ‘Quick Cook’ Dry Beans (This video is critical to view as many of our meals will include beans.)



Meals in a Jar-Pasta Three Different Ways



Meals in a Jar: Cream Soup with Multiple Uses


Linda’s Pantry

How to Make Meals in a Jar-Pouch Rosemary Chicken & Rice


Chef Tess

Honeyville Personal-Sized Meals in a Jar (Noodle Base Recipe) with Chef Tess



Chef Tess

Honeyville Meals in a Jar (Hawaiian-Style Teriyaki Beff & Vegetable with Chef Tess




Meals in a jar using food storage! Great for Preppers, Hunters and Camping (This is an 11 day food supply for four people packed in a 6 gallon bucket with other items added.)


Remember, when the SHTF, we will be very busy and just may be low on fuel.  Most of these recipes can be ready in less than 20 minutes saving that fuel and the jars or pouches will make the storage area more efficient.  Good luck.  Experiment and have fun.



Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via :  thesurvivalistblog

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