Build Your Survival Pantry with Meals in a Jar

Build your survival pantry with meals in a jar. It’s really a way to make your own MRE’s (meals ready to eat).

Commercially available MRE’s (meals ready to eat) taste better than in times gone by, but they contain a lot of preservatives. If you’d like to be more self reliant when it comes to food storage, why not make your own MRE’s?

They don’t have to be just for camping out or survival during the aftermath of a major storm. These MRE’s you make yourself are convenient for everyday use at home. And not all of your meals ready to eat would have to be in a foil pouch. Why not put meals in jars, too?


Julie's meals in a jar--1


You can make your own meals ready to eat, naturally. In Meals in a Jar, by Julie Languille, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for 125 natural breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts. For example, you can make biscuits and gravy, braised short ribs, turkey pot pie, breakfast burritos, and white chocolate cranberry cookies, to name a few.

The recipes are good for meals you can take when you go camping or on other outdoor oadventures. They can also be lifesavers in times of disasters like fires, blackouts or hurricanes. But they’re also good for everyday use, such as quick nightly dinners for the family or when Dad or the teenagers are on the go and need a fast meal.


Julie Languille


About a Creative Cook

Julie Languille was my guest this week on DestinySurvival Radio. She’s pleasant to talk to and sounds like she’s smiling and happy. And her passion for what she does is quite evident.

Here’s her bio info.

“Julie Languille is passionate about both food and preparedness. She owns a dinner-planning website called 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 prepackaged 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 she loves to read, sail, and kayak in the waters near her home.”


Meals in a Jar


About Meals in a Jar

This is a paperback book of 175 pages. There’s a wide variety of recipes–everything from breakfast to soups, main courses, desserts, beverages and more. Most recipes are on a single page. It’s easy to get around in, thanks to the Table of Contents and index. And there are several helpful charts and tables.

Meals in a Jar is meant to take the stress and guesswork out of cooking. All you have to do is pull your meals off the shelf, mix with water and cook. Meals are easy and convenient, but they’re not store bought. Instead, you’ll be eating meals you’ve made from scratch.

Here are just a few of the meals you can make–ready to eat for you and your family.

  • Tomato Soup with Cheese
  • Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
  • Cornmeal Pancakes with Syrup
  • Breakfast Burritos
  • Chicken Chipotle Soup
  • Carnitas
  • Braised Short Ribs
  • Turkey Pot Pie
  • Coq Au VinRustic Fruit Pie
Putting together many of these meals calls for canning and dehydrating. If you’re an experienced cook or have never canned before, what you see in Julie’s book may seem overwhelming. Start small and work into it. More below about making all of this easier.


Julie's meals in a jar--2


About Our Mouth Watering Conversation

Julie feels comfortable having a pantry full of food at the ready in case of trouble. She’d like to have a hundred meals prepared ahead of time–about a month’s supply. Living through the Northridge earthquake in California woke her up to the need to be prepared.

While commercially available storage food is good, Julie has higher standards for nutritious, delicious meals for her family. She had other families in mind, too, when she put together Meals in a Jar.

It’s clear Julie puts a lot of thought and planning into her meals, and, thus, her cookbook. She’s very methodical. Some of the recipes are for dry ingredients such as soups or stews. Others are for home pressure-canned meals like braised dishes, such as pulled pork, or brisket.

Meals are packaged in either jars or vacuum sealed bags. Some meals are packaged with what she calls a sidekit, which is a side dish of mashed potatoes, polenta, noodles, tortilla makings, etc.

Variety of nutritious, filling meals in times of hardship is important to Julie. Her family’s favorites include braised ribs, pulled pork, pancakes and cowboy cookies.

I’m not a kitchen whiz, and my first impression upon going through Julie’s book is that following many of the recipes involves a lot of work. So I asked her about this.

One way to take a shortcut is to buy freeze dried and dehydrated ingredients, such as freeze dried meats. In doing so, you’re giving up greater control for convenience.

Another way to make things easier is to get together with other women, as Julie does, and have food packaging parties where they put meals together for one another’s families. Think of it as a good way to build your survival pantry and prepper community at the same time. Get children involved in meal preparation, too.

As the old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” It’s apparent that Julie enjoys making these meals for her family and has a desire to see others do so as well. Love and enjoying the task at hand can also make things easier.

We talked about some key ingredients you’ll want to store as well as where to get equipment for dehydrating and canning. Once you’ve made up your mind to can with a pressure cooker, Julie offers assurance that the task isn’t as daunting as it might seem at first.

Are you concerned about how you’d use a whole #10 can of diced celery, chopped onions or pepper pieces? Julie says you’ll go through the cans faster than you might expect, especially if you mix ingredients together and set them aside to include in recipes. We also discussed butter alternatives.

Julie desires to see families get prepared. Her book is evidence of this. And she’s actively involved in preparedness activities through her church.


Find Out More

We talked about more, but I’m only able to share highlights here. Hear my whole interview with Julie Languille when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for April 4, 2013. Julie has a Web site at

Meals in a Jar is a DestinySurvival Pick. Order your copy by clicking on its title where you see it linked in this post. You’ll be taken to the page where it’s featured. Get more info and place your order there. Her book is worth having if you’re serious about building your survival pantry from your home cooked meals.


Book Giveaway

I gave away my gently used review copy of Julie’s book, but it was more challenging than I expected. I solicited comments from readers and used to choose a winner three times over nearly two weeks, but didn’t get responses to e-mails when sending notices to the winners. So good intentions fell flat.

However, in the interest of fairness to all those who left comments with the intent to win Meals in a Jar, I opened up the contest to all 11 who had commented by mid April. Whoever e-mailed me first would get the book. I heard from Kelly, and we made the arrangements for sending the book to her. Congratulations, Kelly.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

12 thoughts on “Build Your Survival Pantry with Meals in a Jar”

  1. I would like to make some meals in a jar. This book would be a great help in doing that. It is a good idea to have some meals that could be quickly prepared for many reasons.

  2. Sounds like a great resource with a lot of great ideas. Will certainly consider adding it our library.

  3. I would love to win Meals in a Jar because I am very interested in being prepared. I am also very poor so anything free is greatly appreciated.

  4. My wife and I have discussed this as a possibility. Having Ms. Languille’s book would provide much needed guidance and help us avoid the whole trial and error thing(I seem to be heavy on the error part, lol). Thanks for offering this very interesting book.

  5. THIS IS A Great site to help with the canning an drying methods to complete a persons food storage.

  6. I love the ‘idea’ of these, and would love to learn more. The ability to premix meals that only need hot water to be finished or become ‘one pot’ meals would be a great food storage and everyday item.

    Please keep me and my family in mind for the drawing.


  7. I prefer a books over ebooks. I also like the idea of knowing exactly what is in the meal.

  8. My daughter LOVED this idea until we were chastised for the idea of why we would open a #10 can good for up to 25 years of storage to reduce the storage life to a year. We are so confused about all this!

  9. Wow. This looks like something even I can do to help the wife with the food preps. I would love to win a copy.

  10. Julie sounds like a very giving person and I’m sure her book reflects that, too. Would love to win the book to get some more ideas. Thanks!

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