SURVIVAL KITCHEN

Favorite Freeze Dried & Dehydrated Foods and Brands

Favorite freeze dried food brand

A recent comment here on MSB:

A few weeks ago, someone (I think new) had asked about which brands of freeze dried/canned food were the best.

Several of us threw in our two cents worth about Mountain House, Emergency Essentials and so on.

Thought about other factors since then. For example, the OvaEasy eggs are a little better than other brands, but more expensive. With items like bananas, found the freeze dried were better than the dehydrated. Red Feather canned butter is really good, and so on….

Hey Ken, how about doing an article where we can all chip in our favorites?

Excellent idea!

My first purchase of professionally packaged freeze dried and dehydrated food was during 2008. That’s pretty much when I started a more serious preparedness plan than ordinary Level 2 preparedness.

I still have lots of that original purchase of #10 cans of various dehydrated and freeze dried foods. Since then we have occasionally added a variety of more #10 cans of one type of food or another.

Note: Freeze dried and dehydrated foods are just a part of our overall food storage. We have all sorts of diversification. But for the context of this article, we’re sticking to just this…

Some of the cans that we have are from companies that no longer exist. They’ve come and gone. But we have opened some of them from time to time for consumption and food rotation – and they’ve been alright I suppose.

#10 cans of freeze dried food can be pretty expensive comparatively. That said, there is quite a range of foods that you can purchase this way. And there are benefits…

 

Benefits of Freeze Dried Food

There are two distinct benefits and advantages to having some freeze dried and/or dehydrated food professionally packaged and sealed in #10 cans.

1. Shelf life longevity. Freeze dried food has been processed to reduce it’s moisture content to be very, very low. This, coupled with proper packaging will ensure a very long shelf life. Dehydrated food is also processed to greatly reduce the food’s moisture content. Just not as much. Shelf life will be less (but still great) than freeze dried.

2. Nutritional value. Apparently the process of freeze drying and dehydrating food retains much of the food’s original nutritional value. Keeping the processing temperatures low enough has been proven to lock in nutrition compared to some other preservation methods.

Other benefits include good taste (due to the process) and light weight (less moisture).

 

Favorite Brand, Food, Tips…

Okay let’s get into it. Regarding professionally processed and packaged freeze dried or dehydrated foods,

What have been your favorite brands? Why?

What are your favorite food types in this category?

Do some food types disappoint when processed this way?

Are some freeze dried or dehydrated foods surprisingly good when processed this way?

Do you have any tips in this regard, given your own experiences?

 
(UPDATE) Results are in…
After letting the comment roll for awhile, I’ve come up with a list based on popularity.

1. Augason Farms
2. Emergency Essentials
3. Mountain House
4. Thrive
5. Provident Pantry
6. Wise
7. LDS Cannery
8. Valley Food Storage
9. Honeyville

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119 Comments

  1. Be good to see real life opinions on the different foods,
    I want to get a few cases of basics, well more than a few, but freeze dried veggies and various components, like milk, butter, etc,,,
    Just good to have, not really a fan of the ready made meals, just because, thinking reality, like how long will we have to eat that #10 can of spagetti like substance? But peas, beans, pineapple chunks etc, can do different stuff with them, and can stuff them away literally for a couple decades,

    1. Nailbanger
      I store 90% “ingredients” not the ready-made meals (except Soups). The Milk is sort of ok, and the FD Butter is good for cooking, I would not expect to be having it spread on French Toast anytime soon.
      I have tried the Spaghetti, Blue seem to like it… HAHAHA
      PS; I do have several cases of MRE’s, again ok, but easy and fast, also keep them cool and dry, they will last a long time.

  2. What have been your favorite brands? Why?
    I like Augason Farms and Mountain House both. I’m an avid believer in trying and using what you store. I have tried many different brands (picking one or three items in each category) and like the flavor and quality of what these two offer, such as not just powder but real chunks in some of the Veg’s and Meats. I actually opened a can of Wise Carrots and it was completely powder; though I had purchased a can of Carrot Juice.

    What are your favorite food types in this category?

    I store a complete variety of items, from Milk and Cheese to Meats and potatoes, veg’s and fruit. I also seem to have quite a lot of pre-mixed Soups, although they seem to be rather salty, I would just add a handful more of FD Broccoli to the Cheese Broccoli soup.

    Do some food types disappoint when processed this way?
    Personally I’m storing these for the “true” SHTF. And let me tell you, when your hungry 2 years after the stores shut down, Lights Out, and the Garden is a failure this year, the FD stuff is going to seem mighty dang good no mater if it’s just goo.

    Are some freeze dried or dehydrated foods surprisingly good when processed this way?
    I really REALLY like the soup mixes, again salty, but if you dress them up like a Prom Date they are actually very nice, I would not do them full time right now, but again this is TSHTF storage food that will be around well after I’m toast.

    Do you have any tips in this regard, given your own experiences?
    YES!!!!, do NOT just go out and buy buy buy, get the smallest package of the items you think you want to store, and actually eat it, try to dress it up some, make a meal of nothing but a couple of items.

    Second Store them correctly, do NOT expect to toss them in the attic or a HOT storage shed and expect them to last, like any food, keep them cool and dry. Freezing will not harm them as far as I know, but come-on-man, this is food, treat it as such.

    One thing, please remember these are NOT for everyday “Now” eating, but for me a survival food backup, I do not expect a gourmet Steak and Lobster meal from a can. But again, I have eaten Chocolate covered Crickets in Thailand, I’m not picky. LOLOLOL

    1. NRP
      Thank you for your input, sounds like your thinking is same as mine, i do need to just order some of the different items and try them out, the shipping to us over here is the killer, a friend of mine suggested we just order a pallet lot of stuff, but again thats a bunch of money, be nice, but dont really have 5/6/7,000$ to spend,

      1. Nailbanger
        A Pallet would be GREAT, is long as it’s something that’s actually eatable. and not something to feed to the Hogs or Blue. I have had a few of those.

        I would very seriously suggest anyone try this stuff first. you might find that canning your own is a better way to go, BUT I have powdered butter that will be good for 25 years HAHAHA

        Something to think about also, and this is for anyone, if your getting to the point of going Galt and getting the “hell away” from it all, than I would suggest maybe planning this for a few days down the road. 95% of us have a years of food stored (or close) or even a month or so, moving this stuff after you get it will only raise a HUGE flag to others (remember OPSEC), and it’s expensive to ship back over the pond back to the Mainland.

        1. NRP,,
          Yup, expensive,,,,
          Thats the thing ive been toying with, making my own,,
          For the price of a years worth of components for 3 i can buy a freeze dryer and lifetime supply of mylar bags and oxy absorbers, obviously would still need to get butter and milk etc, but when i think of how much food i toss or give to the chickens from the garden i see those dollar signs for freeze dried foods blowing away in the breeze…
          The other part of that is then i truly can store what i eat, i really dont grow anything i dont eat, plus then the economics of aquiring the supplies drops with each batch, power to run the unit then becomes the only real cost after a while. Tough choice, part of me is kicking myself for spending money on farm implement parts that i most likely should have spent on a freeze dryer, of course i could take one or two of my guns down to the shop to sell and easily pay for the freeze dryer and some dried butter,,,,, but thats a tough choice

          1. Guns or a Freeze Dryer…..
            DANG it I wish I had not taken that trip across Navajo Lake :-(

      2. Nailbanger,
        I am not sure about Wal-Mart there, but i am somewhat rural here and if I order Augason Farms from Wal-Mart and do instore pick up shipping is free. As long as I spend $100.00 or more. Plus it saves on having the Big Brown Druver knowing what you order. Order it and pick up at customer dis- satisfaction desk I mean customer service desk.

  3. OK, I’ll go. Back in 15-16 when Walmart was dropping prices ridiculously low to grab market share, I bought quite a lot of Auguson and EE #10 cans and 38 pound pails. They are all still in storage and I have only opened and tried three:

    1. Shredded Potatoes. Carefully re-hydrated, seasoned and pan fried, they are passable.

    2. Freeze Dried Mozzarella – This was surprisingly good. Use no more than lukewarm water and be patient for it to re-hydrate fully. When about 75% reconstituted, I like to drain off the bulk of the remaining water, and just fluff it every ten minutes or so until residual moisture is evenly absorbed. After that it keeps in the fridge and cooks and melts really well.

    3. Shredded Onions – Meh… they are a clear step up from onion powder, but they are soggy and devoid of life force energy. No substitute for fresh Maui sweets… or even regular brown or yellow onions.

    The rest… and there is a lot of it. Hasn’t been tried.

    Oh wait… Savoy Cabbage from North Bay. Good when new, doesn’t keep so well long term. Even when vacuum packed.

  4. I bought ‘Food Insurance’ as my first ever prep item. I bought a years worth. Still have it and that was , I think, 10 years ago? They sent samples for you to try first before ordering. I do prefer my own canned and dehydrated foods, but this all sits awaiting SHTF. Someday. I also send our grown kids 1 or 3-month kits (breakfasts and lunch/dinners) on occasion. They don’t really prep for themselves, but I sleep better at night knowing they have SOMETHING stashed away. They are halfway across the country and will never get here if SHTF.

  5. I have been buying mostly Emergency Essentials because I have put a group together and we can get the group specials with no tax or shipping. I have bought some Auguson Farms like their Funeral potatoes. I had an order of 181 pouches before their price went up to $5.99. They let me have them for the $3.99 price. But I find they seem to have more preservatives and their shipping is $10 if you buy under $200. Honeyville is a good product, usually no preservatives but even with $4.99 shipping on you whole order, their prices outside of their store are really high. I have also bought Thrive from Costco which is usually a great price, especially when they made the mistake of giving you 6 cans of meat for $150. They changed it after I ordered it. I don’t like their product as well. And I have a lot of Sam Andy, which is still around but you don’t hear about them. I sold 3 units consisting of 20 boxes of #10 cans for someone. They are 15 years old which is 1/2 of their shelf life. But after using their wheat I am happy with the product. They were made before they started experimenting with the make up of wheat. Actually I find the best product for the money is the LDS cannery. The canneries have become distribution centers for their main cannery in Salt Lake and you can have them shipped to your house from the provident living website. But they only have the basics so it is good if you are starting out with food storage.
    My favorites are Emergency Essential’s shredded cheese and the LDS hot chocolate. They are both excellent products. You can eat the cheese like a snack.
    I also like the potato soups from Essentials and Honeyville, but i always add extras. And some of the meals are good especially if you tweak them. The freeze dried veggies are always good if you find yourself without one that you need immaterially.
    Sorry I have been long winded, but it is something I know about!

    1. old lady
      A question if you don’t mind, do you buy mainly Pouches of the #10 cans and buckets? and why?

      1. I started buying before the smaller cans, pouches and buckets of food came out. I have bought buckets of wheat from the LDS church and Waltham Grains. I buy those in buckets because I get into them and use them a lot.
        I bought #10 cans of meals, meat and cheese mainly to store for the shtf. And since that hasn’t happened in a timely manor, and food is going up and my income isn’t, I am using them but not replacing them. I can’t afford it and I have several cans of the same meals so why not. I bought some smaller cans when they came out and find them better for 2 people and good for trying the product. I don’t buy pouches, if I can help it, because the shelf life isn’t as good as the cans and mice love pouches. I don’t buy the buckets of meals because I have a large quantity of cans already. When I open a #10 can I put what i don’t use in a ziplock bag and put it back in the can on the shelf. I haven’t found any degradation of the food. I guess I could have said, I think cans last longer for long term storage and probably are more cost efficient.

  6. We got into the FD and DH long-term food storage in 2009 and have been adding to our storage ever since. Our largest purchases were made after we seriously ‘woke up’ in 2010. We already had a year’s worth of home-canned, home-grown foods but knew we needed more for food storage AND we needed to add alternate preserved foods. I began learning more about FD and DH foods, and just how much we needed in terms of grains, beans, etc.

    We began getting #10 cans through 3 companies and it was tough going at first because offerings were so varied, prices were all over the place, and 2 of the 3 websites were not well organized for how my brain works. Then I found Emergency Essentials. When we found that Mountain House and Provident Pantry foods were offered through Emergency Essentials, everything was presented so clearly that we pretty much stuck with them. They also offer monthly ‘group’ discounted items which ship for free and that’s a big bonus due to the cost savings. We have more Provident Pantry FD and DH #10 cans than any other brand. We also have quite a bit of Essentials proprietary brand and the LDS brands. There’s also some Rainy Day brand items.

    Mountain House and Provident are very reliable and the brand is well known — they’ve been around for many years. They’re the ‘go to’ brand for us, but we’ve tried a number of other vendors like Auguson, Wise, and even a new one, Valley Food Storage, which makes a delicious DH cheddar potato soup. I like their website and they shipped very fast. I’d like to order more from them. Also Auguson and that’s mostly because they’re an MSB advertiser!

    I get all of our Red Feather Butter and Bega cheese tins via Camping Survival and like both of those items. The Bega cheese is used to cook with but it needs to be grated so it’ll melt easily. Red Feather Butter is butter!!!! Yum! Gotten many a can of Yoder’s bacon via Camping Survival, too, but the price is so expensive, that we decided we need to learn to home-can our bacon, or do without (horrors!). Camping Survival has super-fantastic service and when I put in an order, I’ll usually get some add-ons like extra paracord or fish meds.

    Can’t wait to hear opinions from others!

    1. I think i just broke out in a cold sweat at the mention of doing without bacon 😳 Now THAT is a scary thought,,,

      1. if you watch the yoders bacon can get pretty cheap between all the different outlets.

        1. I need to pay better attention to the sales,
          My primary concerns for stuff i wont be able to get are meat proteins and butter, cheese, milk,
          Even if its a shipping strike thats some of the first stuff to get scarce, the garden can take care of veggies, hens lay eggs, but meats and dairy are going to be a problem,
          Had planned on just hatching out chicks rather than giving eggs away to up the number of chickens then eat those, can feed the chickens with stuff growing all around the homestead, but just in case i figured i better have a substantial stash of the meats and dairy.
          Now just need to figure out how to pay for it!

          1. Nailbanger
            Have ever grown Toro, saw a photo of it growing in Hawaii. Not positive what it is used for but could be the step up you may need.

          2. AC
            Ive grown it, it is a root crop primarily but the leaf (lau in hawaiian) is also edible cooked like a spinach. It is usually grown in flooded pattis (loe in hawaiian) (there are other symbols that go with the spelling but not sure wich, just know how to say the words and how they sound)
            It can be grown in dry ground too but develops differently. It grows fairly well here at our house as a dry land taro as it would be called.
            The meat from the root is a purplish color, similar to a grainy purple sweet potato.
            Will post a link
            I grow all sorts of stuff, is sorta why im not particularly worried about food… plus theres a huge herd of deer near our place and wild pigs, not too many people here in our neighborhood who would effectively hunt either, i could go out and come back with something every other day pretty easily even if the rest of the island was starving, lotsa liberals who dont believe in guns and the locals who do already have hunting areas and do it regularly. We are more rural , can walk up hill 5 minutes from my back door and be in forest so thick a crew in a chopper would have trouble finding me… theres lots to eat

          3. Nailbanger,,
            You’ve got what I call “a living food pantry” over there. We don’t have the growing season your do, but we also have the local deer herd that has crossed out land for ages! Nice to know they will be there in shtf. I miss the warmer climates for the growing seasons, but can’t handle the crowds that settle in those areas. Enjoy your comments, makes me think how to
            improvise, and adapt in this inland area.

    2. Modern Throwback, my situation is very similar to yours! I buy mostly through Emergency Essentials and favor the same brands. Same with the Red Feather and Bega. Also the Wertz canned meats (a recent sponsor here on MSB) are excellent. Have about ten months worth stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Wasn’t crazy about the Yoder’s bacon, though (sorry!). Have been very happy with Mountain House, Auguson, EE, and Provident Farms but not Wise.
      Questions for all of you…
      1. When you open a can that is not going to be used up in a short amount of time (such as chopped onions), how long do you continue to use it before discarding the remainder?
      2. Do O2 absorbers still work after opening, with the plastic lid?
      3. How about dessicant packs (Dri-Paks)? Have any of you found that they help extend the life?
      Just like Modern Throwback, look forward to continued learning!

    3. Two more questions…
      1. Any favorites on dehydrated milk?
      2. Any advantages to ‘fortified’ vs. not?
      I have both, but curious what others opinions are…

      1. jon dowe
        My 3¢ worth

        1. When you open a can that is not going to be used up in a short amount of time (such as chopped onions), how long do you continue to use it before discarding the remainder?
        After opening a full #10 can I use what wanted than put the remainder in a ½ gallon (or quart) Mason Jar, and Vacuum Seal it with one of those Lid Adaptors; Seems to keep a very VERY long time.

        2. Do O2 absorbers still work after opening, with the plastic lid?
        No. Assuming your talking the plastic lid for the #10 can.

        3. How about dessicant packs (Dri-Paks)? Have any of you found that they help extend the life?
        Only if you completely seal the container as in Question #1, sometimes in a tightly sealed Bucket

        Two more questions…
        1. Any favorites on dehydrated milk?
        I actually just buy from the local store what I can find and Vac Seal it with an O2-sorb in glass, seems to last a few years at least.

        2. Any advantages to ‘fortified’ vs. not?
        Nope. I do store Vitamins and Mineral tabs as supplements.

        Good questions.

      2. Try storing the rest of the can in a ziplock bag. I use them in stews etc until they are gone- sometimes a long long time. I reuse the desiccant and o2 packs all the time. There is one, not sure which that turns a color when it is no longer viable.
        On the milk the non fat will re hydrate fast but the regular milk takes a while, but is supposed to taste better. I also read an article that said the non fat will store indefinitely if canned properly. Also on the type, the morning moo is very popular, white and chocolate. Auguson Farms sells that brand.

      3. Jon, my favorite dehdrated milk is from the LDS cannery. They usually sell to the public, even if you’re not Morman. I’ve never had better. It taste like real milk recocstituted, and I add a cup of it to my homemade yogurt recpe. The yogurt comes out thick and rich, even tho its low fat. Good stuff. The dry milk keeps for years. – they package it really well. I ‘ve been very happy with it.

        1. To clarify -I add a cup of the dry powdered milk to my yogurt recipe. Not reconstituted.

  7. I would like to add, as long as Ken don’t kick my butt;
    Be wary of what you actually buy in the FD and Dehydrated items, I know technologically Beans and Rice in the #10 cans that a lot of Companies sell are not actually FD or Dehydrated, BUT they are VERY expensive if purchased that way. B&R and some other products will keep for a VERY long time if just stored correctly, so spend your $$$ wisely.

    1. Roger that, thats why the only dried stuff i have at the moment are beans and rice and grains, can buy in bulk locally and pack in mylar bags in 5 gallon buckets fairly cheap

      1. Very cheap to buy and store that way. 50 lb rice from Sams or Costco 20.
        dollars. 6.00 for 2 buckets at Home depot. 2.50 or less for Mylar and o2 absorber. Brings the cost to about .57 a lb. Beans a little more but this should work for comparison.

        1. Yep, half the people on the face of the earth live on a bowl of rice a day.
          It will keep forever in those mylar bag lined buckets with O2 absorbers,
          Can do the same thing with those little bags of lentils etc, freeze for a week to make sure theres no bugs then acclimate for a week in a dry spot then pack it away

    2. NRP
      Back when “O” was elected, I searched for a method to jump start our long term storage of emergency foods – just in case. At that time there was not much information that I could find on doing your own packaging with O2 absorbers. So, I went to Mountain House/Provident and got the basics in #10 cans – about $2000 worth. I don’t think many are freeze dried as you stated but I do did not mind rice and the like in the cans for long term storage as there are the O2 in the sealed cans. These basics have been added to and rounded out by canning and freeze drying my own produce as well as some from farmers’ markets.

      1. Also, I would love to have a good supply of MRE’s but it is a cost that must wait until other holes are filled.

        1. I like the MREs for my grab and go bag,,, are a good just in case meal or two, dont take up much room or weight and are ok, i keep looking at those things and thinking i should break one open for lunch just to see how terrible it tastes, need to get a couple cases of newer ones to replace the ones i have.

    3. NRP,
      Thank you again for your input on the Bob’s Red Mill instant potatoes… they are very good, and worth the extra cost in my opinion. I’ve already bought more and put into jars. :)

      For anyone who stores potato flakes I can recommend Bob’s Red Mill potato flakes. They come in clear cellophane bags and are more pricey than the boxed instant potatoes. But, dehydrated potatoes are the only ingredient, no preservatives or additives, so they taste like real potatoes, they don’t have the kind of fake-y flavor most instant mashed potatoes have. If they don’t sell them in your local market, you can get them direct from Bob’s Red Mill online.

      1. So Cal Gal
        You’re welcome, I personally like 99% of Bob’s stuff, although not really packaged for long term, that’s easy to cure.

  8. We have a variety of freeze dried & dehydrated products from several companies. I have to say that Mountain House is the absolute best when it comes to meals that you just add water. Pricey, but well worth it. We don’t store too much as it is for use during extreme times when we most likely wont be able to cook. I have yet to come across a product from Mountain House that I didn’t like.

    Then we have dehydrated from companies like Thrive, Emergency Essentials, Auguson Farms and a few that are no longer around. They all seem to be about the same as far as quality on the dehydrated. We also have freeze dried from the same companies. Again, pricey, but freeze dried is far superior to dehydrated. The only problems that I have found at least with the dehydrated is sometimes items need a longer time to rehydrate, also I had opened a can of diced carrots which were so small that the can should have read minced, even after rehydrating.

    One of our favorites is the #10 can of cheese powder from Emergency Essentials. We use it on popcorn. Another is the Red Feather brand butter. Real butter, not powdered. When I first tasted it, it was fresher tasting than the butter that I already had in the refrigerator. Which makes sense if they are canning it as it is being made. Another favorite is yoders canned bacon. My weakness.
    We also tried Wise brand foods but found way too many artificial ingredients.

  9. Whatever you buy, be sure to buy it in cool weather. Early on in my prepping, I bought a bunch of AlpineAire freeze dried food. It came when the temperature was 100 degrees. I happened to be home when the FedEx package arrived so I immediately opened it. It was worse than opening an oven. It must have been 200 degrees in the box. I called the seller and FedEx and complained. Neither one would give me a refund. The seller said the products might lose a little shelf life but if I ate them right away, they should be alright. I had bought that expensive food for long term storage, not for immediate use. But I went ahead and tried to use it anyway.

    It was terrible. I don’t know if it was because it was already cooked in the truck or if AlpineAire is not a good product I never bought that brand again.

    Mountain House seems to be the best of the things I’ve tried, but I am not a fan of any of them. That’s why I have started to preserve my own foods, and buy lots of rice, pasta, and flour — then keep it rotated.

    One thing I do like — the Thrive Cheese Sauce Mix is pretty good, but it is not as cheesy as I like it, so I usually mix in some fresh cheese. But in an emergency, it adds flavor and protein all by itself to whatever I am making.

  10. I feel like a real slacker after reading everyone else’s comments.
    Having less experience with LT food storage than many here, I started with canned goods because I could buy them and stack them easily and in a wide variety. Plus, living in the suburbs, I was concerned with being able to just open and eat something in an emergency – little or no cooking or water required.

    Once I was more comfortable with our supply of canned goods I looked to branch out to FD/dehydrated foods and read many comments here and looked at the big names like Auguson and MH. But, a lot of their foods was pricey and I wanted to taste test stuff, and I was kind of intimidated by all the choices and hard a hard time deciding.,

    So I searched and landed on a company called Harmony House (HH). HH has FD fruit and dehydrated veggies and beans (plus a few other items, but limited choices – and no meat just TVP) in sizes from trial pouches to large plastic containers or cartons. They make it very clear on their site that they are NOT packaged to store beyond 1-2 years as is, but that was okay by me because I wanted to try things anyway. Now that I’ve tried a range of their items I know I like their FD fruits (sliced strawberries and pineapple are 2 favorites) and I also buy their dehydrated leeks, sliced potatoes, mushrooms and their red and white beans in large containers and repackage them in pint or quart jars with o-2 absorbers. I’ve already started moving a lot of this to the mountain house because they can tolerate the cold up there and I don’t want to risk the canned goods freezing on me up there over the winter.

    I guess at some point I’ll jump into 25-year items, I just haven’t been ready to do that. Plus, I’ve also started doing home dehydrating for things I use all the time (like sliced carrots) because they are easy for me to do, and in the case of sliced carrots (not diced) they are hard to find. It’s easier to just do it myself.

    I’ll be reading everyone else’s responses for future ideas – thanks to everyone who is sharing their do’s & don’ts.

  11. Over about a 18-month period, we sampled probably 99% of all the offerings that are on the market.

    All things considered, we prefer Wise Company Food, and that’s what we ended up buying as a significant portion of our long-term food storage.

  12. Mr. and I bought some small freeze dried buckets and a few samples. My opinion is Mountain House taste the best. They do not have as much variety. Emergency Essentials would be next with Wise coming in last. These are the brands we have tried. What I found is WHAT constitutes a meal!
    When they talk about servings be diligent and READ. For instance the 72 hour bucket from Emer E has more nutrition than the Wise 72 hour bucket. Also some of the “servings” will be a drink package. Basically there a lot of Carbs and sauces in most of the food. If you want to buy freeze dried concentrate on the basics. Meat, Veggies, and fruit. The bread/cereals can be bought and put back by you in buckets with mylar and oxygen absorbers for a cheaper price. Some packages of dinners, sure. Of course any is better than none. MRE’S taste terrible but are better than nothing. Any of the above can be eaten cold. I am freeze drying my food already cooked. You can literally eat it like a crunchy cracker and drink the water. So no fuel/heat or smoke would be detected by others.
    With all that said my favorite freeze dried is MRS.USMC’s ! Hermit and others know what I mean!

    1. Mrs U
      Yup, I know what you mean – dinner tonight – having turkey from Christmas past, potatoes, red cabbage with a little vinegar and honey, plus more. Easy to put that together from freeze dried – re-hydrate and heat. I too, just do cooked foods except for fruit and vegis. At least we will eat well as the world around us ends. :)

  13. The FD foods are met to be high in calories and carbs. I have read that in many of the places that sell them. They are basically for emergencies when you need the extra calories to survive on.

  14. Being fairly new to prepping and emergency preparedness, I started out by buying a case of MRE’s, they were okay but shelf life limited for long term storage. I tried a Chicken, Tomato sauce with pasta that was over five years old. Passible taste in an emergency to still eat, but was weird tasting in flavor. We didn’t get sick but I used them up and looked for other long term supplies. I then started buying MH freeze dried pouches for our 72 hour kits. I tried a few and found them tasty. Next I looked at long term and bought #10 cans of MH main entries along with Auguson Farms, and Emergency Essentials soups, vegetables and spices. They are all good. I did buy a Wise Foods 48 hour, and Patriot foods 24 hour sample kit to try and to me it was horrible. I have several MH pails with pouches that I bought for short term use if needed as I didn’t want to open a #10 can then be stuck eating just that meal for the next few days. Since I won’t have enough fuel to cook up real meals daily, buying FD and dehydrated foods were my best options. I also bought a case of First Strike Military Rations as each pouch provides 24 hours worth of meals. Pricey, yes! Once I laid in my long term storage food I started on short term pantry cannedg and boxed products that have a shelf life of 2-5 years which I rotate through. Again these are for short term emergencies lasting less than a month. I’ve thought about canning and doing our own dehydrating but for me I’d rather pay that extra and have it all ready to go without having to purchase extra equipment and supplies.

  15. I have purchased #10 cans and “pantry sized” cans of Freeze-dried individual ingredients. I have not purchased just add water meals. I bought mainly through Thrive, but also through EE, Honeyville, Provident Pantry, Auguson. We were able to sample many Thrive products and all were delicious! Especially the pineapple. Make sure if you buy pantry sized cans that they are true cans. Some companies offer smaller cans, but they are made of cardboard. I know that Thrive pantry sized cans are true metal cans just like their #10 cans.

    Just a note about freeze-dried milk. Thrive offers freeze-dried “whole milk” that I like a lot. I’m beginning to sound like a Thrive salesperson, but I am not!

    We also store bega cheese, red feather butter, ghee, Yoder’s bacon and Ova-easy eggs.

    My advice is to sample products before you buy.

    Beach’n

    1. p.s. We had a Thrive representative come to our place of business and she opened a dozen or more cans to show us the product and allow everyone to taste. We tasted FD cooked hamburger, cheeses, corn, peas, blueberries, pineapple and several more. I was impressed with all of them. It’s good to know that you can eat FD right out of the can. You don’t necessarily need to rehydrate. Just be careful to drink enough water and don’t eat too much. You’ll get overly full fast!
      And like NRP said, store properly! This stuff is an investment. If I don’t have to use it, my kids will inherit it. :D
      Beach’n

  16. The meat we tried was Rancher’s Cut, sold believe through EE, but I am not positive as it has been some time. We had chicken salad made with dehydrated onions and mayo on crackers it was good tasting.
    Personally we use EE potato gems over the Honeyvilles potato flakes, the gems have real butter. Augasons Farms freeze dried strawberries, can eat a # 10 all by myself–yum. Have been using dehydrated onions through EE for cooking,
    Tried rice chicken through Patriot supply, it was good but a little salty for my tastes. It also had very little chicken in the product. Although we have a few containers of their food products, we purchased it for back for the family with no supplies.

    Gave the MRE’s to the extended family after life changes occurred in the household what once was a back was no longer required.

    Milk–I store whole air dried milk when I run out of fresh. If powder milk (non fat)fails your palate use powdered dairy creamer & vanilla extract, let it chill before using. Shelf stable milk is also good from the reviews posted years ago.

  17. On a related note for those that like pasta…I found that Angel Hair pasta cooks much faster than regular spaghetti, bowtie or elbow macaroni. In a SHTF situation, your fuel will go farther. Cooked some (not whole wheat) that was in storage for over ten years and it was fine! So much for rotation… :-)

    1. Good point on fuel. and because of it’s smaller diameter you can get more of it in bucket. I put it in 4 gallon square buckets. Wish they made Gamma lids for square buckets!

    2. To freeze dry I cook brown rice, Texmati is real good American Rice. It rehydrates very fast !!!

  18. My wife was always throwing away half packages of fresh mushrooms. Bought freeze dried from EE and love them and no waste. Also she uses the imitation Vanilla from EE and loves it. You can save money when you use something’s

  19. We like Bear Creek and Cuginos dehydrated soup mixes. Checked pricing on Amazon Prime and Walmart and have to say, go with Walmart. Much better pricing. It has gone up there also but Amazon was like doubled over what I remember paying 2 or 3 years ago.

    the only thing I have from Auguson is a bucket of their rolled oats. I checked Walmart the other day for wheat berries but none in the store.

    We have a fair amount of Mountain House which I occasionally find on sale. maybe a dozen #10 cans and around a hundred mylar packs. Careful with the packs as some feed one and some feed 2. NONE of them have an adequate calorie count to be considered as a stand alone meal.

    Anyone remember the LRRP meals? Long range ration packet. I believe they were the original Mountain House meal developed for the military. I much preferred them over the C rats. I can remember buying Mountain House on sale in the post exchange in Hawaii for a dollar a meal. Loved them as we would go backpacking on Maui and Kauai.

    I’m also fond of Krusteaz pancake mix as it lasts a long time.

    My synopsis on this is soup mixes need to be augmented to become a serious meal but are easy to augment with canned food or pasta, beans or grain.
    Freeze dried certainly stores the longest but the trade off is space. For the amount of calories in the pack it takes up a ot of room but it is light.
    MREs are expensive for the true military grade and lots of them out there that are light on calories for the price. Walmart does have some ready to eat meals in mylar microwavable pouches that average around 300 or so calories and for many of us a 900 calorie a day meal would help us lose weight on a long walk home.. I carry a dozen under the front seats of the car.

    If storing in a shed, paint the shed white as any color other than white is going to absorb more heat and heat in this is the enemy of food storage.

    1. When I was in Nam when LRRP’s came out we thought we died and went to heaven. No more heavy cans of Ham & Lima Beans

      1. I think I was the only guy in the 101st that actually liked the Ham & Limas, aka Ham and shrapnel!

        1. Hated the Ham and MFs but loved the ham and eggs! Put them on the Jeep exhaust manifold and you had a delicious hot meal!

  20. Several years ago I found a can of Johnny’s dehydrated potato soup. I can no longer find this but Augason farms potato soup is the same thing and I use it as a base. Into it I swap 1/2 of the water for milk and add fried bacon crumbles and their grease, drained can of whole corn, can of creamed corn and chopped clams for a great clam chowder, swap clams for more corn for corn chowder, swap clams for diced DAK canned ham for ham chowder, add sour cream and fried hamburger, turkey gravy and chopped cooked turkey or what ever meat you want maybe even crickets if you are brave.

  21. I like Valley Food Storage for soups/chowders. They don’t have variety that other companies do but the product is all real food, no chemicals or additives.
    I have mostly EE for fruits and veggies. Not much you can do to mess those up.
    Milk I have used Auguson Farms, EE and Country Cream. I’m okay with all of them. Augason Farms Morning Moo’s is not a pure milk product and is something to keep in mind.

  22. We like Augason Farms and Mountain House pretty ok. Thrive was not bad at all. The dried fruit and veggies from Thrive were pretty good. I have not found any powdered milk I like. I have been using canned evaporated milk. I know I need to find a brand. But…ugh….Not a huge milk drinker anyway. Mainly use it for recipes.
    The Red Feather butter is the best. I tried the “powdered” on that too. Some things you just can’t substitute.
    I am trying to learn how to store and dehydrate my own garden veggies. We did some deer meat. We kinda ate it. It was delicious. hahaha. So we just have to do it and keep our grubby paws off it! lol

  23. I’ve only tried Mountain House meals because they’re available at WalMart. I pick up a couple at a time due to the price.
    My main SHTF concern is LONG-TERM Get-Home. I travel on business every week. If I ever wake up one morning and cars aren’t working or gasoline isn’t available then I might have to hike home/camp for a month or more.
    Eating is my biggest concern.
    I have LifeStraws and a pump-filter, so water shouldn’t be a problem.
    I’ve got my shelter and sleeping arrangements covered.
    Self-defense, fire-making, light sources, all covered. The big problem is food. How to carry a month’s, or more, worth of food?
    Well, there’s really no way. But freeze-dried Mountain House meals are so light that I can carry a couple dozen of them and, hopefully, fill in the gaps with fishing/hunting/begging/bartering.
    Plus, the MH meals are tasty and filling.

    1. I have an aquaintence who is a regional rep for a fence material supplier, he travels around throughout the entire west coast, he worries about that too, his supplies he keeps in his truck are a whole lot of bars, all kinds of energy bars, granola bars etc, keeps bottles of water too, he doesnt worry too much about no fuel as he drives a Dodge with deisel, has a auxiliary tank in the bed, 110 gallons, his theory is he will run out of fuel before he runs out of snack bars and if its that bad he most likely aint makin it home anyway.

  24. With the exception of a couple of MTN house we had once, we’ve never bought any of this sort of food. It might be because of where we live, but figure in the cost and the likelihood you will need it makes it undesirable. And we don’t want dinners, just ingredients..

  25. Today only, Emergency Essentials is having a sale on a few items. Their FD Broccoli is 50% off, making a #10 can $9.99. If you buy 6 cans, free shipping. To me, this is a no brainer….and FD celery is 50% off, too, so that was in my order. They’ve also got a few BOGO offerings.

    Amazon has quite a few MH items and even offers a 5% savings if you get their Subscribe & Save. So there’s a savings with that, and if you’re a Prime member, free shipping. They also sell a bunch of the camp-size packs of FD/DH foods and even offer them as ‘Add On’ items. Check Amazon for the MH items before elsewhere — they may all be cheaper via Amazon. For example, a number of the MH #10 cans are cheaper at Amazon than at EE.

  26. I haven’t bought a whole lot of the FD just a few things that I can’t really put up myself such as eggs, butter powder, beef and chicken,I have also gotten dried onions since the last time I dried onions the house and everything in it smelled of onions for forever, I get both Augason farms and EE
    I really like the EE vanilla powder.and Augason honey powder it taste just like honey ( I don’t think it has any honey in it but it is good for flavoring) .
    I would like to start getting a little more but never know what might be good after reading everyone’s comments it is giving me some ideas on what to try.
    Question what is the best cheese powder? that is the one thing I would like to find but I am pretty picky about how it tastes. I bought some several years ago ( don’t remember what kind) and it was horrible so been afraid to try anything else.

    1. Ranchers Wife
      I have a few #10 cans of Augason Farms Powder Cheese, it would be ok for cooking, but I just LOVE Tillamook Cheese, so I hit my favorite Sam’s Club and get the 2# bricks for $10, just keep them in a very cool place they will keep for a very VERY long time. I keep 10 bricks in the deep pantry and a few in the frig, the longer it sits the better it gets.
      BTW I did call Tallamook, asked if I should Cheese Wax their wrapping, “No, we use an impenetrable airtight casing, it should last a minimum of 10-15 years after purchase if undamaged and kept cool, best in a refrigerator or root cellar”, she went on to tell me to remember the longer it sits the longer it will “cure”. I chuckled and said “GREAT, I want it so strong it will walk on its own” HAHAHAHA
      I opened one the other day that was 3 years into my Deep Pantry…. FANTASTIC

      1. Thank you so much for this information. This had been an area of weakness in our preps and I will now start to stock up on Tillamook Cheese. We have been to the factory and never thought to ask, silly me. Thanks again!

        1. SAB

          Your Welcome
          And whatever you do remember that an “Apple Pie without cheese is like a Kiss without a squeeze” just ain’t going to happen hehehehe

      2. NRP,
        Good information, thanks! the DW and I love Tillimook cheese. I have visited their factory there along the coast in Oregon, also did some crabbing in Tillimook bay. If I can store cheese and organic parts cleaner, I think we’ll be okay.

        1. Minerjim and NRP
          Just a crazy thought – what foods could be stored in a solution of “parts cleaner” Either in bags or in bulk if not ruined by the liquid? Certainly no bugs could get in but O2? Only a non-morning drinker would think of using the liquid gold this way haha

          1. ya, I know one can use vinegar but they you get the taste of – you know vinegar, not parts cleaner.

          2. hermit us
            Remembering that Parts Cleaner can be (Not that I would know of course) 50% or higher Ethanol or “ethyl alcohol”, I would say that anything “stored” or packed/pickled in the solution could be around for quite a long time, including ones liver hehehehe. BTW, pickling Cherries in the ‘stuff’ and keeping them frozen is ohhhhhhh so good. Again not that I would know personally; just hear-say ya know.
            But one must also remember that the other 40-50% is water or other water component, aka juice, sugar’s, so-on, plus some contaminants depending on the manufacturing process. Whiskey for example has a lot of charcoal and residue from aging, these contaminates are what give the Hangover. Even clear distillates such as Vodka and Gin have impurities that are not so comfortable the “morning after”. Plus the fact that Alcohols pull water from the system is another factor of ingesting Ethanol aka “dry mouth” and increased hangovers.
            A little hint, if you indulge a little too much ‘fun’, drink a few bottles of cold water or Gatorade when you finally do “hit the hay” it will help rehydrate you.

          3. NRP, Hermit US,
            I have always found that having a quart of iced tea before going to bed helps if you have been … um.. ah…. ‘handling’ organic part cleaner. I think water and tea tend to flush the kidneys, just in case you accidently ‘absorbed’ some Organic Parts Cleaner.

      3. NRP,
        Thanks, I will have to get a few cans of Augason farms. I will get the Tillamook cheese, I can’t imagine life with no cheese lol. I tried waxing my own several years ago it didn’t work out so well for me. I keep a lot in the freezer ( already shredded) but need a way to have block cheese. will be getting some to put in the cellar.

        1. Ranchers Wife
          Please get a pouch or small can before buying a bunch. Or I’ll send ya a jar full, you may not like it at all.

          1. NRP,
            I will defiantly get a small one before I buy a lot as I said I am very picky about my cheese. lol.

        2. Ranchers wife & NRP,
          Last year I also tried the cheese waxing, it worked okay but messy. NRP mentioned the Tillamook packaging to me, and I put some in the fridge to age. I think it’s time to pull one out and try it. Now I’m craving cheese… hard to lose that lb per week eating Tilkamook, though. 😋

          1. So Cal GAl,
            How did your cheese keep when you waxed it? mine must have had small holes or something after several months the cheese started to mold under the wax. I didn’t use cheese wax so not sure if that had something to do with it or not.

          2. So Cal Gal

            INFO alert; Cheese is a Health Food, non-fattening and all out good for the body
            THAT’S my story and I’m sticking to it, PEROID!!!!

          3. Ranchers Wife
            I, many moons ago, did some Cheese Waxing on a partial wheel of cheddar , it turned out well, kept for a year or so till it was no longer of this world, wink wink.
            I remember the controversy on actual cheese wax or not, back in the 1700 when I tried it I did use the cheese wax, something about it being a little softer and sealing better…. Also we put 3 layers of wax on…
            Have not done for a very long time, but I would have to say 2 million Swiss cant be wrong??????

          4. Ranchers Wife and NRP,
            I also used cheese wax and a cheese brush, and did a triple coating over waxed paper to help with the clean-up.
            I have not cut into one for months… I am going to open one up tonight when I get home and take a look. Before waxing, I dried the cheese off with a paper towel to absorb any residual moisture, then did a very light brushing with vinegar, let it dry, then waxed.
            I’ll report back on how it held up.
            And, NRP, I like your thinking – Does it count as a health food if I’ve been known to eat a healthy portion? ;)

          5. So Cal Gal , NPR,
            I am thinking that may have been the problem I didn’t use cheese wax.
            So Cal Gal I am curious to see how it turned out. Hadn’t thought of drying off the cheese before waxing. I am curious now I may have to get some cheese wax and try again.

          6. Ranchers Wife
            As So Cal Gal suggested, brush the cheese with Vin first, it helps to kill the airborne bugs…..Mold, Bacteria, Bats, Magpies, etc.
            When I did it we just let it “air-dry” under a cheese cloth for a bit

          7. RW and NRP,
            I cut into a chunk of home-waxed Cracker Barrel sharp tonight, and it was perfect. The wax was tight against the cheese, as fresh as the day I waxed it last year, no mold, just a little more sharp from the extra age, as NRP mentioned to expect. Delicious! 👍

          8. So Cal Gal
            Would be interesting to label one and put it away for 5-10 years…. talk about SHARP!!!!
            I will have to say though Cracker Barrel Cheese is very good to begin with :-)

          9. Ranchers Wife
            In what I have read it is important what you use the correct wax for coating the cheese. Why so many who coat their cheese use the special wax for this project. The was is recyclable, after you peel it off save for the next time, since it is put through a heating process.

      4. Good to know about the cheese lasting so long! Seems we use tons of it! I have stored dried milk, butter, eggs from Augustine. The rest I put together myself like dried soup mixes and pancake mix. Honestly, I can’t afford those prices! So I just keep adding to what I can when I have a little extra money (whatever the heck that is) since I have more time than money, I tend to just can my own soups, and stews.

        1. Miss I Made It Myself

          I do the same now, after I got stocked on the FD stuff, I LOVE to cook a HUGE batch of soups and can a couple of dozen pints of a good soup.

  27. Ken,
    Good article and great discussion. Food storage is an area where I am really ‘behind the 8-ball’ so to speak, and having everyone voice off on what is good and what is ‘marginal’ really helps! I’m taking notes! Next step for me is to set up a buying schedule, so I can get after it. Wondering if anyone has thought of making a matrix of all this good information?

  28. What is the experience with Legacy foods? Portion size and calories per portion seem realistic and generous. Packages are nitrogen flushed and contain an oxygen absorber.

    1. Just went to the Legacy Essentials site. Is this the one you are referring to? One of the first things that came up was dehydrated elbow macaroni at $29.00 a pound, regular price $40.00 a pound.
      I’m not an expert but I believe all macaroni is dehydrated unless it’s cooked. This doesn’t seem to be cooked and then dehydrated as the instructions say to cook for 10 minutes. Dollar Tree sells macaroni at 24 oz for $1.00. Legacy package looks to be mylar versus the dollar tree plastic. I don’t want to disparage a product i haven’t sampled but first thoughts on this is I’m going with Dollar Tree.

      1. me;

        $40.oo a pound???? Hey, I habe some Ocean Front Propery in AZ for sale… LOLOL

        Perfect example of “buyer beware”

        1. In all fairness maybe to nitrogen flushing and O2 absorber might make it keep longer. I have had pasta that was at least 10 years old and had been stored in a hot boat for years in Mexico. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either.

          Personally, for me and some of the rest of us storing food for 30 years just isn’t going to be necessary. Kids and grand-kids are eventually going to be on their own.

      2. me
        Not all prep companies offer canned pasta. If you or anyone else were looking for pasta store this way the LDS have a store where you can purchase canned pasta. They do offer a small variety, have never purchased it not, nor tried it.

        1. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! How in the world did pasta come up? With all the choices that Legacy has, why pasta? Emergency Essentials Has 22 Servings of Egg Noodle Pasta for $22. Patriot Supply has no pasta. Let”s criticize Mountain House because they have one serving of beef stew MCW for $12. HOW ABOUT SOME INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION??????? Has anyone actually TRIED Legacy products? That was the question.

          1. CQ
            Sorry we did not answer your question.
            No our household has never tried the Legacy products, but remember when they came out.
            You will have to excuse us we have a tendency to think out loud and share.

          2. Sorry but I am always interested in a good deal on food. When I saw your comment it inspired me to visit the site. One of the first items to see was the pasta. At that kind of pricing for an item that should be much cheaper I will usually dismiss the source as one I probably can’t afford. Most of us on this site tend to try and offer helpful advice to others so far as preparing goes. Maybe 1 or 2% of us can afford to spend indiscriminately.

            I absolutely concur on the comparison for the MH Beef Stew. That is an absurd price for a package of stew.

            I will go back and visit the site. Most of us are keenly interested in serving size and calorie count. I was one of the early ones to point out to people that a 3 day bucket was usually insufficient to feed an adequate calorie count for three days and that people need to look at the calorie count. They also need to consider the source of the calories and where the calories are obtained. We all need fats, protein and carbs but a carb and fat dense diet is not healthy as without adequate protein the body starts breaking down muscle to get it.

  29. So Cal Gal & NRP
    If you are looking for potato that has been dried for instant mash. Try Costco, they have one by Honest Organic Mash. Comes in a box with about 10 packages of mashed potatoes.

    Do these store well,, YES. Put this product through the test phase by poking a small hole at the top of the package, placing inside a vacuum seal bag & processing. Forgot all about these, as I thought we had consumed them all, and found a package that was missed, so we ate them. It was 5 (five) years later 😁.

    1. AC, are they flakes or powder? I wonder about cutting a hole in the top of an envelope and sucking powder into my vacuum sealers pump. Also with the price of bags I wonder about maybe putting several bags of the potatoes into one of the sealer bags.Maybe with a piece of tape on the bag to seal the hole in the bags when the big bag is opened? I love mashed potatoes, DW could care less about them.

      Speaking of powder. Another Army thing I liked was powdered eggs. I did find a brand I liked a number of years ago but after about 6 or 7 years they were no longer palatable. I’m sure some of my fellow veterans would say they were never palatable. Nevertheless, any body have any suggestions for basic eggs? Not the scrambled egg and ham mix or pepper mix that Mountain House puts out. The brand I liked is no longer available.

      1. me
        The potatoes are a fine granulated material, best why to describe the make up of the product. The potatoes look as if they were cooked, mashed and put through a ricer for a smoother mashed potato mixture. I cut back on the water requirement and add it to the milk in the recipe, makes a richer potato for consuming.
        On the packaging I put as many as I can into the vacuum seal bag for processing 4 to 6 per bag to cut down on vacuum bags required, but some like to use the special split bags that will hold one package. Just extend the margin on the bag(any style bag) for reuse and you will cut down on how many you need and still are able to reseal the bags after you remove what you need for a meal.
        I used an old fashion ice pick to put the hole in the bag and did not experience any clogging on the vacuum sealing the bags. No need for tape or additional precautions this works well for the processing.

        Dh requires powder eggs in his special diet so I purchase the #10 eggs from either EE or Augason Farms for him(I do not eat them). Before the six months to a year is up if any of the eggs are left over they to into glass canning jars for vacuum sealing. I use smaller jars so that we only open what will be required for a couple of weeks(1/2 to 1 pint jars).

      2. Me
        Regarding powdered eggs, you might want to check out the “Ova Easy” egg crystals, available from a variety of places, including Amazon. You can get a pouch to try out (equivalent to a dozen eggs), then if you like them, go for the #10 cans. Much more cost effective in larger sizes.
        I’m hoping to have chickens at some point, but for now, I use the OvaEasy when I don’t have fresh on hand.
        .

  30. Well Ken,
    This topic will point out the fact that I am old and it has been a long time since I lived off the food I could carry in my backpack for days on end. Butt, here goes from my recollections of being an old ranger that crossed the Sierra Nevada mountain range in 5-7 days with no resupply: Days 1-3: I ate cheese and salami, cabbage thin sliced and apples and anything fresh. Prep work was done with a sharp knife. Filler foods were dried soups ( Lipton cup a soups – I like split pea.) any canned food was eaten in the first days in order to lighten backpack.
    Days 4-6 freeze dried foods from a defunct company called Richmore (now called Alpine air). as I preferred their foods over Mountain House back then. supplemented with Granola cereal used because it was very nutrient dense and provided enough carbs for the slow burn needed for the long haul over the Western Divide. Dried soups were consumed on order of 1x per day along with a piece of jerky or tin of sardines with meals. Sometime during the day, I would eat a small box of raisins or other dried fruit along with lots of water or powdered drink mix to help with regularity. At night, I would have hot cocoa and would have small amount of 12 year old scotch. (more bang for the weight and bulk.) Each day started with either instant coffee and was soon replaced with Irish Breakfast Tea. (I need that caffeine jolt when I wake up.)

    Average milage per day was anywhere from 12-20 miles with a 55 lb pack that got lighter as the trip went on. At 10,000 feet, I just paced myself and walked slower. While climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, a 15 pitch day was the equivalent of a long day on foot especially if it rained on you. (about 50% of the time.). Point being, at the end of the long day, you are not going to have the energy and wherewithal to break out to chaffing dishes and good china. Meals were kept simple. I liked the beef stroganoff, beef stew, chicken stew. I was not a fan of the very spicy things like the Chili Mac as it caused a lot of GI upset and gave me gas. (not good when you are in a mummy sleeping bag).

    Additional tips for living rough for extended periods of time with the food and shelter on your back: When working or travelling fast over long distance, I ate to keep my body going not so much for aesthetics like flavor, palatability or texture. I also took the time to clean my hands prior to food preparation in order to avoid getting sick in the backcountry.

    Don’t forget to eat fiber every day: the modern MRE’s and freeze dried entrees are good to eat and provide plenty of calories. They do not contain a lot of fiber to help you with your regularity. Many young firefighters need to drink water and eat a handful of dried fruit each day in order to go into the bushes with the TP and return lighter and happier each day. Everybody has a lesser or greater tolerance to constipation/loose bowels so fiber amount is a very individual thing. Being 3 days out from the nearest trailhead is the worst location for constipation/bowel impaction.

    I ate considerably better when I travelled by horse and mule and same could be said of travel by canoe, raft or kayak. My 72 hr backpack contained the freeze dried food as the contents were meant for days 4-6. The first 72 hrs were met by grabbing stuff out of the fridge or cupboards prior to meeting the chopper on the helipad. Sometimes I was rushed in packing as the job would involve rescuing a live person (versus recovering a dead body) or tracking a person from the point of last sign/ last witness verification.

  31. Just got back from Wally World. The ready to eat meals I mentioned earlier are by Pace, Prego and Cambells. They were all priced the same at $1.94 each and as I said earlier they average around 300 calories each, They were on the aisle with the signage for canned pasta.

    While there i noticed Wise Foods sharing the shelf place with Auguson. I picked up a couple of pouches and was surprised to see that each pouch serves 4. Then I looked at the calorie count and each serving is 250 calories. Still though, price was $3.72 for the cheesy lasagna and $3.48 for the savory stroganoff. This makes them a better buy than the ready to eat meals for calories versus price. They are meatless and do require water and prep work.

    1. Meant to add that I looked for the Bob’s Red Mill potatoes and didn’t find them on the shelf but did see them on the on line site. While on the site I noticed the Bobs’ Red Mill has many different products and might be interesting for some folks. Need potato or rice flour? They have it. Thought I’d mention it. Check Amazon first as they might be cheaper. Link Ken?

  32. Bear Creek soup and pasta sides are delicious, along with being much cheaper than the same type of products in #10 cans or mylar pouches. Out of curiosity, I tried a BC soup that had expired 7 years previously, which meant that it had been packaged about 10 years previously. I had not stored it in a plastic bucket, nor in a cool place. It tasted just fine! I have also eaten expired pouches containing noodles (including the cheapie Ramen noodles), and discovered that the only difference from the non-expired packs is that the noodles need to cook longer to soften up. So obviously the standard grocery store pre-packaged meals last well beyond the expiration dates, perhaps comparable to the shelf life of the dehydrated food that’s specifically packaged for long-term storage.

    I believe the same applies to almost all packaged soups and pasta dishes, many of which are the same meals as the vastly more expensive Mountain House ones. So I’ve been storing them for when the need arises for quick, easy meals. However, now I store them in metal tins to keep rodents out and I try to keep them in cool places.

    My experiments with dehydrating sour cream and cottage cheese turned out well. Next up will be cream cheese and condensed milk. I presume they potentially have the same shelf-life as powdered milk and powdered butter.

  33. (UPDATE) Results are in…
    After letting the comments roll for awhile, I’ve come up with a list based on popularity.

    1. Augason Farms
    2. Emergency Essentials
    3. Mountain House
    4. Thrive
    5. Provident Pantry
    6. Wise
    7. LDS Cannery
    8. Valley Food Storage
    9. Honeyville

  34. We’ve tried a few brands of commercially FD foods and it was enough to turn us away from them. I loved the idea of being able to safely store food long term but the quality was not up to par for us. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on foods that my family won’t necessarily like we saved and purchased our own freeze dryer. It’s been delivered and we are in the process of building the room for it in our basement and we should be up and running this week.

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