Saturday, April 21, 2012

How to Can Rice-A-Roni in a Jar: Make it a Party

This is my best friend Fiona.  She's awesome.  A few weeks ago she called me all excited because she had found a deal on a large bag of converted rice.  (If you don't want to follow the link, converted rice is rice that as been steamed before husked and is non-sticky when cooked).  She wanted to make homemade rice-a-roni.

I immediately thought of my friend Chef Tess (aka Stephanie Peterson) and her 52 meals in a jar method.  She cans meals with dry ingredients and oxygen absorbers in mason jars.  It's cool, you should check her out.  I knew this method would be perfect for a rice-a-roni project.

I set about trying to figure out everything else we would need and in what amount.  I gave Fiona my calculations based upon her 25 pound bag of rice and 10 pounds I had on hand.  That's when she told me that it was a 50 pound bag!  Oh.  This was going to be a lot of rice-a-roni!!

I have made rice-a-roni mixes before, but never canned them.  I have to say, canning them was so much more fun.  I especially love knowing these are shelf stable for 5-7 years!  (And it might take us that long to eat it all.  Ha ha.)

Here's how we put together our canning party:

1.  Get all your ingredients together.  I'll put the recipes at the end of this post so you can see what we made.  They are a little different than my last version.  Wash all your jars and make sure they are completely dry.  You don't want any moisture in your jars.

2.  Add 2 cups rice and 1 cup pasta to each jar.

3.  Next you will add all the seasonings.  You can add them straight to the jar like Fiona did, or you can use little sandwich baggies like I did.  The difference comes when you cook it.  You will brown the rice a bit of butter.  Some people like to have their seasonings separate from the rice for browning.  Some don't care.  I've made it both ways and both work fine.  The only thing is that if the seasonings are a part of the mix you run the risk of burning the onions if the heat is too high.  This can of course be compensated for by using a lower heat.  So do what you want.  It's your rice-a-roni.

4.  If you elected to use the bags then tuck them in tight and shake everything so it's snug and there is room for the oxygen absorber.  If you didn't bother with the bags, just jiggle everything in the jar to help it settle.

5.  Wipe the rims of your jar with a dry towel to make sure there are no powdery things preventing the seal. Add your oxygen absorbers and seal with a lid and band.  Label your jars and include instructions to saute rice/pasta in 4 T. butter and then bring 6 cups of water to boil before covering and reducing.  Each jar is at least two boxes of rice-a-roni.  One jar makes a LOT.  I usually only make 1/2 jar for my family of 4.

6.  Step back and admire your work.  In about an hour you will hear your jars "popping" which is evidence that they are sealing.  Yea!

All told, Fi and I made 57 jars of rice-a-roni.  Then since we didn't want the oxygen absorbers to go to waste after opening them, we made another 16 jars of beans with seasonings for quick bean soups.

I thought I was being so clever to create a chart with the recipe, but it's really small on the blog.  Just click on the image to get a downloadable PDF.


  1. Another one of your amazing feats! So clever.

  2. that is a lot of rice-a-roni.

  3. Thanks, Cyndy. And Jana, you ain't kidding. At least we won't starve if the zombie apocalypse hits. We will just live on rice-a-roni!

  4. We love this idea!! We loved having you link up to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." Hope you'll be back soon! -The Sisters

  5. Thanks, Six Sisters. Love your site!

  6. I would be nice to be able to read the ingredients and the instructions. The print is way too small.

    1. The page with the ingredients and instructions are a downloadable PDF. Hope that helps.

  7. Do they seal because of the oxygen absorbers?



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