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A Tale of Two Jars: Exploring "Canned vs. Dry" Meals in a jar


Recently I had a question concerning meals in jars and how the dry vs the canned versions compare. Soooooo Are you intrigued by the idea of pre-made meals in jars but unsure where to start? Look no further! In this post, we'll explore the fascinating world of canned and dry meals in jars, shedding light on their unique attributes and helping you decide which method suits your needs best. This innovative approach to meal prep offers convenience and versatility, allowing you to have delicious, ready-to-eat meals at your fingertips.

There are two primary methods for creating meals in jars: one involves placing raw ingredients or a fully cooked meal in a jar and canning it, then storing until ready to use. Here is a blog I did for an example with recipe. While the other entails assembling all dry ingredients for a recipe in a jar or vacuum-sealed bag for storage until needed. Here is a blog sharing a recipe and information about these. Despite both resulting in a meal conveniently stored in a jar, these methods differ significantly. Let's explore the distinctions between the two and uncover their unique advantages.


Canned Meals in Jars:

  • Assemble and cook your recipe as usual, then seal it in canning jars through pressure canning.

  • Stored on shelves until needed, requiring reheating in a pan before serving.

  • Drawbacks include:

  • Significant space required for storage, with jars needing to stay dry, out of sunlight, and unstacked.

  • meals must be properly reheated to ensure no botulism is in the jar before consuming.

  • Temperature control is crucial to prevent spoilage, they cannot freeze, and the temperature should be cool and not excessive.

  • Lids are susceptible to losing their seal or rusting if storing long term. If this happens the food inside is ruined and must be thrown out.

  • Time-consuming process involves cooking, canning, cooling, and cleaning, often spanning an entire day's work for a batch.

  • Typically yields 7 to 14 quarts per batch, making them impractical for quick, on-the-go meals.

  • Cumbersome to transport due to bulkiness and fragility, limiting suitability for camping, hiking, or emergencies. Ideal for quick dinners at home.


Let's now explore the fascinating world of dry meals. Unlike their canned counterparts, dry meals offer a unique approach to convenience and longevity. Let's delve into the details and discover why they're becoming a popular choice for meal prep enthusiasts and emergency planners alike.

Dry Meals in Jars:

  • Prepared recipes with dry ingredients only, ensuring a shelf life of up to 25 years when vacuum sealed properly.

  • If the seal breaks, food remains usable as long as the ring is intact, and they are in a dry environment. If one should come unsealed the ring will protect the contents and it can be resealed and continued in storage.

  • dry meals often just need water for rehydration, making meal preparation simple and efficient.

  • Ingredients are precooked, allowing for safe consumption even when eaten cold without the need for reheating. Storing Advantages include:

  • Portability: Sealed in food saver bags or vacuum-sealed, dry meals are light weight easy to carry and suitable for camping, hiking, and emergencies.

  • Compact storage: MANY meals can be stored in vacuum sealed bags in totes, allowing for stacking and efficient use of space.

  • Variety: Prepare multiple meal options simultaneously, streamlining meal preparation and offering versatility.

  • Quick assembly: With ingredients ready, meals can be assembled in just minutes, sealed, and stored for future use.

After thorough experimentation with both canned and dry meals in jars, it's evident that dry meals offer a host of advantages in terms of efficiency, versatility, and convenience. The arduous process of canning, which involves equipment, cooking, sealing, and storing, often consumes an entire day for a single batch of meals. In stark contrast, preparing dry meals is a breeze, requiring significantly less time and effort. This efficiency allows for the creation of multiple meals in a fraction of the time it takes to can them.

Moreover, the flexibility of packaging dry meals in bags or vacuum-sealed pouches is a game-changer. Not only does it simplify storage, but it also makes sharing meals with friends, family, or even in times of need, incredibly convenient. Additionally, the compact nature of these packaging options enables easy stacking, maximizing storage space and organizational efficiency.

One significant advantage of dry meals is their versatility. While canned meals typically focus on dinner options, dry meals can encompass a wide range of meal types, including breakfast, lunch, and even desserts. This variety ensures that there's always something for every craving or occasion, whether it's a quick breakfast on a busy morning or a satisfying dessert after dinner.

Furthermore, the suitability of dry meals for on-the-go situations cannot be overstated. Whether you're embarking on a camping trip, hitting the hiking trails, or preparing for emergencies, dry meals in jars or pouches are the perfect companion. Their compact size and lightweight nature make them easy to carry, while their long shelf life ensures that you're always prepared for any situation that may arise.

An additional benefit worth mentioning is that the dry ingredients in these meals are already cooked, so rehydration is all that's needed in an emergency. This makes them an invaluable resource for quick and hassle-free meal solutions during unexpected circumstances.

In summary, while canned meals in jars have their merits, the numerous benefits offered by dry meals make them the clear winner in terms of timesaving, versatility, and convenience. From their ease of preparation to their suitability for various meal types and situations, dry meals in jars or pouches emerge as a practical and efficient solution for anyone looking to simplify meal prep and enjoy delicious, hassle-free meals anytime, anywhere.

I will continue this blog with how and where I get ingredients and how to get my meals in jar recipe collection, so stay tuned! For more recipes you can search through the blogs, visit our Facebook page at Goshen acres homestead.

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