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#214590 - 01/09/11 02:14 AM HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ?
salesguy Offline

Registered: 11/28/05
Posts: 18
OK seem like with all the dried "fruits & vegetables and protein powder" on the market I May be better off making my own...but really do i need too with all the MRE's on the market today? Curious... I am really only interested in emergency needs not a catered affair.

#214600 - 01/09/11 04:41 AM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Well, what is it you REALLY want to make?

A true, wet pack, retort pouched Meal Ready To Eat? You can assemble these kinds of components from most grocery stores, they might taste a little better than full meals assembled by Sopako and the like, but you won't save much.

Food that you can add hot water to? That is easy, and from what you mentioned for components that sounds like what you have in mind, or maybe some kind of compressed food bar for an emergency ration. Look at the ultra light and long hiker websites- there is a LOT out there.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#214605 - 01/09/11 10:39 AM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7328
Loc: southern Cal
What you get with MREs is mostly convenience and adequate nutrition. For cheap and lightweight, you can do much better with judicious shopping. Ironraven's advice is right on. There are lots of options - many are very nutritious and tasty.
Geezer in Chief

#214606 - 01/09/11 11:25 AM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
You could pack your own food but you it requires more prep work and the maintenance requirements (expiration dates, storage temperatures, etc.) are more involved than MRE's. MRE's are convenient but nutritionally they're pretty lousy. Yes, you will be alive but after eating them for a few days you'll probably be constipated and generally feel like crap. For my emergency kits I use a combination of MRE's, freezedried meals from Backpackers Pantry, and my own food stuffs like almond/peanut butter, raw nuts, wheat germ granola, powdered milk, dried fruit, fiber packets, miso soup, salmon jerky, coffee/tea, etc. If you own a food dehydrator you have even more do-it-yourself options.

#214611 - 01/09/11 12:51 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1174
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
I say 'make your own'.

For 'shelter in place' we have a 30 day supply in storage.

The dry stuff: Dried beans, peas, flour, and rice. A large stack of 1-2 pound packages of dry whole wheat pasta. 6 two pound cans of coffee, bisquick, ramen noodles....

The heavier stuff: Lots of misc canned tomatoes, soup, spaghetti sauce, green beans, corn, chili beans and great northern beans. A dozen containers of peanut butter, multiple types of canned meat and fish.....

Last: 100 rolls of TP and 100 gal of available water, half of it in 7 gal totes.

We rotate by using it regularly, and replenishing it when it goes on sale. We also keep a large backpack, a rubbermaid tote , and 25 paper grocery bags on the rack.

It's way cheaper and we have and use what we like.
The man got the powr but the byrd got the wyng

#214617 - 01/09/11 01:41 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
LesSnyder Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1634
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
not as sophisticated as most, fairly inexpensive but not "ready to eat" composition for one day of my 72hour food pack:

packet instant oatmeal
(2)packet cocoa

tinned tunafish
ramen noodles or foil pack yellow rice
lift ring fruit cup
tub crystal lite
tea bags
boullion cubes
hard candy
peanut butter cracker snack

packed in and with spare 1 gal ziploc and 2'x2' square of aluminum foil

Edited by LesSnyder (01/09/11 01:43 PM)

#214656 - 01/10/11 04:08 AM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
Crookedknife Offline

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 24
Loc: Washington
When I grew up in Alaska, we would often dry food or use a pressure cooker to preserve it for the winter. It's not hard; it just takes work. We found that freezing food would only keep it fresh for a few months, and the food would spoil anyway if the power went out for a few days.

You can use a dehydrator or smokehouse to dry meats, and it's easy to dry your own banana chips & such. If you search the web for "freezer bag cooking" you'll find websites that give recipes for dried meals using a dehydrator. (I'd avoid the common practice of adding boiling water straight to a freezer bag; use a pot instead unless you like traces of melted plastic in your food.)

If you get your hands on mass quantities of fruit, vegetables, or meats, then a pressure cooker is the way to go. We used to use it to jar fish during the salmon run, and to preserve whatever surplus food we grew in the garden. You can make your own jams & jellies that way too.

It's a good idea to write the date on whatever you preserve. The food won't go bad, per se, but it supposedly loses its nutritional value after a few years.
"Let us climb a mountain, hanging on by low scragged limbs." - Roger Zelanzany

#214689 - 01/10/11 06:11 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
philip Offline

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Your use of MREs may be misleading, but I can't tell. My wife and I have a month's worth of food stored in our van, but it's all canned or boxed stuff we bought at the store. We also have some HeaterMeals we bought from that company; they're a sort of MRE - self-heating meals in a plastic pack. Military MREs have too many calories, too much salt, too much fat for my 60+ year old body. HeaterMeals suit my nutritional needs better.

If you're looking for storable meals that need little or no preparation, check our page at http://www.cieux.com/bm/quickMeals.html and see if anything suits you.

I wouldn't rely on any one thing for food for a month - not all MREs, not all canned goods, not all dehydrated stuff. Mix it up so you don't get bored to death.

#214693 - 01/10/11 07:11 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Actually, Salesguy has brought up an interesting question.

I try to keep a reasonably full pantry, as being marooned by flooding is my most likely scenario. Even with my small pickup, it would take up considerable room, weight and time to move. Plus the pets and their food.

So, let's rethink Salesguy's question...

Would it be POSSIBLE to make your own kinda-sorta MREs? Not necessarily packaged as tightly, no heat unit, just a smallish, condensed unit that would keep for a year or so, that wouldn't need commercial processing. For those of you who have seen all the Tremors movies, I am reminded of Burt Gummer's statement: "Plastic is NOT an oxygen barrier!"

Never having even held an MRE in my hand, I am assuming they are sealed in foil. Food storage websites sell 'barrier-coated mylar' and oxygen-absorbing packets, but I really can't see that being as good as a metal foil. Is that possible in the home kitchen?

There is no water in MREs, so I am assuming a separate source of water for cooking, where you wouldn't have to depend on the moisture in cans, for instance. Let's not muddy the question with multiple uses.

So, would anyone have any insight on how this might be done? Maybe some metal foil bags that could be used with a home vacuum-packaging unit?

If you have even partial ideas, please trot them out and maybe we can build on them.


#214699 - 01/10/11 07:50 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
PSM Offline

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 77
Loc: Cochise Co., AZ
We've used the Hungry Hiker's cookbook, by Gretchen McHugh, for nearly 30 years. It's allowed us to eat food that we would (and did) eat at home while backpacking, sailing, and now, RVing. It became a habit to dehydrate something from every meal we made and, over time, we had a pretty good selection. (An example would be if we made spaghetti sauce, we'd spread a couple of servings on a backing sheet and stick it in the oven at very low temperature (with the door propped open)overnight then crumple it up and put it in a Ziploc bag. If we had green beans with the meal, a couple of servings could also be dried.) I can't say how long it lasts since we used it pretty regularly and replenished it often.

Another advantage to drying the food you normally eat at home is that there is no shock to your system when you switch to the "rations".

Unfortunately, we've largely gotten out of the habit but thanks to this thread I think we'll beef up our pantry again.

Edited by PSM (01/10/11 07:52 PM)

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