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Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes Paperback – March 19, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 279 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julie Languille is passionate about both food and preparedness. She owns a dinner planning website with thousands of recipes compiled to make dinner planning, shopping and cooking easy for families. She teaches workshops on preparedness and long term food storage and regularly hosts food packaging parties where families gather to make pre-packaged meal kits to build their own food storage as well as bless families in need. Julie lives with her husband and family on lovely Whidbey Island, in the Puget Sound near Seattle, and when not cooking loves to read, sail and kayak in the waters near her home.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press; unknown edition (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612431631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612431635
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (279 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though I purchased this book at an introductory price, I feel it was $8.35 wasted. It falls far short of my expectations. If I could give it zero stars, I would.

One: The book is called "Meals in a Jar," and yet the preferred technique to prepare this food for long term storage uses something called a "retort pouch." So it's not about storing dry food in a container packed with an oxygen absorber; it's a book about pressure canning wet/cooked foods. Even the cover photo features dry ingredients stored in JARS. This book should have been entitled, "Meals in a Retort Pouch." Of course, if it had been, I never would've purchased it.

Two: There's no resources section in the front or back of the book for finding the products mentioned, like the retort pouches. The one link that appears in the book doesn't carry them (I checked this last night. They have mylar bags, but they don't have retort pouches of any size.). So good luck even finding them anywhere, since Amazon doesn't currently have them available.

Three: Her method makes MASSIVE amounts of food. I mean, putting together recipes with ingredient lists involving 16 cups of rice. If you're preparing for a small family or couple, the recipes are less than useless, since many of them make enough food for eight meals that feed six or eight EACH.

Four: Pressure canning is not "quick and easy," as this method is described on the cover. As one reviewer here said, "If you are a beginner and want to use this book, please be aware that you should learn to pressure can, and gather up the proper equipment." Guess how many hundreds of dollars and many hours you'll spend learning all that, before you can even BEGIN to use this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book, Meals in a Jar, has inaccurate information. There is NO properly tested process times for retort pouches of food at home. If this author has paid for thermal process authority development, then fine, but she does not indicate that anywhere in this book. Instead she lists USDA processing times to be used with retort pouches and this is NOT SAFE. USDA process times are intended only for use in the jars or cans listed on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, recent Cooperative Extension Service publications and in the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.
The process time is an issue as a cold spot (slowest heating spot) would have to be determined to measure adequate heating during the process time. In a jar or can, in a "still" canning situation like a home canner, the container sits still inside the heating medium of water or steam. Heat penetrates throughout the container in a predictable pattern.
The size and shape of a container and then placement inside a water bath or pressure canner makes a difference to the heating pattern and ultimately the process time for a food. You cannot just transfer a canning process from a jar to a pouch of similar size.
Certainly the product dimensions would suggest that retort pouches could be processed in home canners, but in order for heat transfer to be effective specialized equipment is needed to maintain package integrity. Additionally, the pressure in this type of pressurized canner is higher than in a home canner; thus the temperature used for processing is higher.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been canning for more than 30 years. So, I have water bath canners, pressure canners, and a food dehydrator and a vacuum sealer already. I am already familiar with the correct USDA methods for canning meats, which is required for many of the main dishes. So I was thrilled with this book which takes things a step further and combines canned meats with other ingredients which you get ready ahead of time and combine in a meal kit. Essentially, you are making ready-to-eat meals at home that are shelf stable. It's a good way to stock a pantry, prepare for emergencies, or have home-made convenience food on hand. However, you don't have to be an expert to use this book. The basics are right there, and the author does remind people to check the USDA guidelines as well. That statement made me trust the recipes all the more. If you are a beginner and want to use this book, please be aware that you should learn to pressure can, and gather up the proper equipment.

This book is not for the type of person who wants to toss a few ingredients in a jar and call it a meal. This book is for those who want to truly create meals ready to eat, from scratch, at home, and are willing to put in the work it takes to do that. These will be convenience foods later, but you do have to prepare them first. The thing is, you are often making 16 meals at once with these recipes. It's going to take some work in the kitchen--but on the day-to-day basis when you come home late from work and don't have time or energy to mess--you have it all done and food prep will just take minutes. So put in the time at the beginning, have short work of it later.
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