Sunday, March 17, 2013

Julie Languille – Meals in a Jar (Ulysses Press)

As a kid, I can remember visiting my grandparents during summer vacations and being amazed by the pantry shelves full of home canned foods ranging from vegetables and sauces to jellies and dried beans that my grandmother had “put up.” It is a tradition that has by and large gone by the wayside. Nowadays when you mention “canning” or pantry it’s the storage cupboards that are stacked with awful food in metal tins and stashed in stacks on shelves.

With a struggling economy and a pattern of thought pointing to much more difficult times ahead, many are starting to revisit or learn the skills necessary to can and store food for future use. One of those skills is to plan for simple to prepare, all-in-one meals; add water, heat and eat. Meals in a Jar by Julie Languille is an easy to understand and use guide to the basics of preparing foods for future use.

Bulk is the theme here; the recipes are geared toward quantity as well as quality. Makes 8, 12 or 16 is a common thread here. The recipes cover breakfast, lunch and dinner with an emphasis on proper measurements, proper storage and each comes with a reminder to clearly label each container or storage bag.

While the focus is on quick and easy, there is a level of expense and sophistication involved in some of the equipment that is need to process and prepare these meals. Some rookies may be confounded by terminology or what is needed to maximize the effectiveness of these recipes, but the bottom line is the need to prepare and the focus on getting started.

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