How to Prepare and Store Rice Pilaf in a Mason Jar

How to Prepare and Store Rice Pilaf in a Mason Jar

October 01, 2019

How to Prepare and Store Rice Pilaf in a Mason Jar

Mason jars are the perfect storage container for making your own convenience foods.  We all love to have easy ready-to-use mixes in our pantry and rice pilaf with pasta (a.k.a. Rice-a-roni) is no exception.  It’s easy to make pre-made rice pilaf mixes and store them in a mason jar so they are ready when you need a quick side dish.  We hope you’ll love this recipe for homemade rice pilaf in a mason jar.

This recipe is inspired by one from Chef Tess Bakeresse, an old friend and remarkable chef, baker and cookbook author. 

Mason jar with rice pilaf mix inside

WHAT SIZE OF MASON JAR SHOULD I USE?

Rice pilaf in a mason jar is best made in one of two sizes: quart and pint.  The recipe below is for a quart sized mason jar and will easily serve 5-6 people.  If you are serving a smaller crowd the recipe can be halved and stored in a pint sized jar.

WHAT KIND OF RICE SHOULD I USE?

mason jars with rice inside
The best kind of rice for rice pilaf in a mason jar is converted rice–also known as par-boiled rice.  Converted rice has been steam pressured in the hull before it has been milled.  This causes it to retain its nutrients and to lose it’s stickiness.  The grains of converted rice separate easily when cooked, but can take longer than an ordinary long grain rice to become tender.

WHAT KIND OF PASTA SHOULD I USE?

3 piles of pasta - orzo, fideos and broken spaghetti

There are several types of pasta that work well in a rice pilaf.  You will want the pasta to be of a similar size as the rice, so orzo is a natural option.  Another option is to break spaghetti into small pieces or purchase pre-broken pasta sometimes labeled as fideos.  If you are gluten free, then you can easily substitute a gluten free pasta as long as the size is similar to rice.

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE THE SEASONING

Mason jars with rice pilaf mix and seasonings inside

The recipe below is for a basic chicken flavored rice pilaf, but you can easily swap out of few of the ingredients to change the flavor profile.

  • Southwest Flavor:  Replace the parsley and poultry seasoning with 1 t. cumin, 1 t. oregano, 1 t. chili powder (or 1 T. taco seasoning)
  • Curry Flavor:  Replace the parsley and poultry seasoning with 1 T. curry powder (I sometimes add 1 T. of brown sugar as well)
  • Beef Mushroom Flavor:  Replace the chicken bullion with beef bullion and the poultry seasoning with 2 t. powdered mushrooms (or Trader Joes Mushroom and Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend).

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?

  • mason jars
  • canning funnel
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • plastic bags or other container for spices
  • lids and bands

HOW LONG WILL IT LAST ON THE SHELF?

You can safely store rice and pasta in cool dry temperatures for one year or more.  The spices and bouillon may have a shorter shelf life, but should keep sufficiently long in the plastic baggie inside the jar so long as you remove all of the air.  To increase the shelf life of the pilaf mix in the jars, we recommend adding an oxygen absorber before it is sealed.

DO I NEED TO PROCESS THE JARS?

You do not need to process the jars.  Since all of the ingredients are dry and shelf stable they can be stored without processing.  Water bath canning is for high acid foods such as fruits, salsas and pickles.  Pressure canning is for low acid foods such as meats, vegetables and soups.  Rice pilaf before it is made will not need any form of processing in order to keep in a pantry or storage room.  If you have leftovers of the pilaf after it has been prepared, the freezer is your best option.

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