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#214705 - 01/10/11 08:17 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: Susan]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
[quote=Susan
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.
[/quote]

There is plenty of water in MREs; that is the reason they are relatively heavy and ready to eat, hot or cold, with zilch prep time. I would say that they are essentially canned chow in expensive packaging. For what they are, they are actually pretty good. I have been fortunate to have eaten mine on firelines rather than foxholes.

I am not sure about their packaging - it is not straight foil but is some kind of mylar/foil blend - seems to work.

Freeze dried/dehydrated is another matter. You definitely need water to make those edible.
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#214706 - 01/10/11 08:18 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1544
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
Sue.. military MREs are exactly that... they need no water except for the small amount used in the heater bag..the older LRRP stuff was freeze dried and needed rehydration

my post was a consolidation of a survival lab I assigned to my 9th graders... they had to come up with a suitable off the shelf meal, basically a one pot entree with a source of meat protein, carbohydrate from root vegetable, pasta, or rice, a fruit sugar dessert, and beverage. Other than the tinned meat, everything else was to be in a sturdy plastic or foil container with a minimum of 1 year shelf life... for Holiday food drives we collected tuna fish as good source of Omega 3 and protein for needy families...

if weight is a important factor, the tuna and other meats are available in foil packs with close to a 3 year "best by" date

instant rices and beans are available in pre packaged meal, and you can easily vacuum pack to save money... I happen to like yellow rice... the kids insisted on the ramen noodles regardless of the packaging

the dried fruits were not popular with the kids, so the concession to the lift ring can of fruit cocktail, canned peaches/pears was amended

crystal light was chosen due to the robust tub it is contained in, the tea or instant coffee would be a concession to the adults..most of the kids brought Kool Aide or Gatorade salts....the cocoa was universally accepted by the kids, and most agreed they could eat the oatmeal, but was not included in the original requirement

one of the lessons learned after the 04/05 hurricane season was the inclusion of a snack... the peanut butter snack and hard candy

the aluminum foil was tiple folded around edges and placed into the gallon zip loc bag, and heated water added to cook...this worked depending on the care they took folding the seams... most later considered a separate cooking container


Edited by LesSnyder (01/10/11 08:23 PM)

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#214708 - 01/10/11 08:46 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: Susan]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Anyone remember Yurika Foods from the 90ís? They were one of the first companies to employ retort packaging on a large scale for civilian use. Yurika Foods (which I believe went bankrupt) turned out to be a type of pyramid scheme, in terms of itís sales approach, but their food products were fairly high quality and like the current military M.R.E.s had a very long shelve life without refrigeration. I belive the food once in retort packaging was irradiated instead of cooking (canning) for long-term storage.

I think if a company today utilized the technology from the Yurika Foods days without the marketing scheme, it would do very well.

Pete

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#214711 - 01/10/11 09:07 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: paramedicpete]
hikermor Offline
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Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
My pantry shelves contain Homel "Compleats" - roast beef stem in a plastic tray and thin plastic cover that can be heated in boiling water or in a microwave. I would imagine that the stew could be eaten cold if necessary. Is this similar or related to retort packaging? I would bet that technology is edging into our supermarkets in one form or another....
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#214714 - 01/10/11 09:25 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: hikermor]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland

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#214737 - 01/11/11 10:39 AM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
Odd MRE factoids:

MREs were developed with the idea of getting one meal with about 1500+ calories in it. The average grunt needs 3k calories a day more or less, so two meals would do it. The early MREs sucked, pure plain and simple. Dehydrated meat aka hockey pucks, were never eaten. The dehydrated fruit was not much better. I mainly lived on ramen, tuna, canned chicken, jerky, slim jims, beanie weenie, snickers and raisins.

Most of us would take the MREs apart and can the stuff we didn't want. The best part, the tabasco sauce, was a good trade item.

One trick to MREs, open them length wise, instead of at the top. Easier to get all the food out without getting it all over your hand. You may need a knife, but all field guys have knives.

Allies freak until they realize one MRE is one meal. They tend to get a day's rations in one pack, we use three.

The MRE cheese is said to have plumbing plugging properties that defy modern science. The peanut butter is decent however.

I ate way too many MREs. Later on, a close friend was the SGM of the test labs and I got some sample runs of the newer stuff. The taste was better, but it was still an MRE. The newer ones have a protein bar and candy that the old ones lacked.

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#214738 - 01/11/11 11:37 AM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
salesguy Offline
Stranger

Registered: 11/28/05
Posts: 18
I must be honest I have never eaten a real Military MRE, but seeing the ones in all the camp stores, started me thinking. First I noticed the price and yes for convenience they seem to fit the bill, but they have a high concentration of stuff my body really does not need, salt and calories for starters. Granted i am now 55 but I'm not ready to be put out to pasture I just want to eat better.

Having changed jobs a few years ago my sales traveling patterns have changed and I am now generally at a place for a few days and nights and it is no fun to eat without friends and family so i have started to eat more heat and serve meals while I read or work. For breakfest I moved from instant oatmeal to regular oatmeal but i only cook (heat)till tender vs. a wet ball of goo. I add my own banana's, peanut butter/natural, and/or raisins,, etc. So yes this is not an "official" MRE it is to me. As i moved to lunch and dinner and the fact I wanted to eat better and at a lower cost, i started packing my travel MRE's (dry food packs) at home and taking with me for the week/month.

Yes you are right in the sense of military MRE's I am not, but in the general sense i look for better recipes both health wise and dollar costing.

Thanks for all your suggestions I have learned a lot once again.

God Be with you all.

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#214754 - 01/11/11 02:39 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
6pac Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 80
Loc: N.E. Alabama
I've heard that your not supposed to eat MREs for an extended period of time, does anyone know why or if this is even true.
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#214777 - 01/11/11 09:36 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: 6pac]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
Well, for one thing, it would be pretty expensive, and I imagine we would get pretty tired of them after a bit. They are heavy in calories and salt, etc. Consuming MREs for a long time would be about like eating at McDonalds regularly.

The newer varieties are pretty good, especially given the constraints under which they are produced and used. Nontheless, I can easily produce meals that are lighter in weight, nutritious, and cheaper, while being relatively easy to prepare - by that I mean that I need to boil water, about the limit of my culinary talents. I would never take MREs backpacking.
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#214789 - 01/12/11 01:16 PM Re: HOMEMADE MRE'S ? BETTER TASTING less cost ? [Re: salesguy]
salesguy Offline
Stranger

Registered: 11/28/05
Posts: 18
I should have said...."Ball Jar" recipes because aren't they the first modern day MRE? I have noticed that we all have moved from making stuff/food from scratch to all prepared food. It is amazing how many families do not know how to make or bake a simple apple pie.

But I move on. Taking dried items and adding hot water may be another way to keep cost down and flavor to an acceptable level.

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