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Showing posts with label Survival Food Strategies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survival Food Strategies. Show all posts

Friday, October 9, 2015

Making Your Own MRE’s

Making Your Own MRE’s Can Be Satisfying and Cheaper
By Cari Schofield January 21, 2013

Have you ever considered making your own MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) as opposed to buying them? They can be used for more than a BOB. We use them as quick on the go meals and they come in especially handy for that forgotten field trip your child needs a packed lunch for.

In this article I am going to show you how simple it can be and provide a meal or two that we make ourselves. After gathering everything we want to put in the meal, we will put it in a freezer bag, squeeze the air out of it as much as we can and add a small Oxygen absorber to it.

The other method we use is vacuum sealing. However, if you do this, make sure that nothing you add in there that is in a package has air in it, otherwise you have a big bulge of air in the meal. If you’re adding an emergency water pack to the meal then tape it to the outside of the package. You can also put the vacuum sealed meal in a freezer Ziploc and add the emergency water package in there. After we have a bunch of them made we put them all in a bucket or in a storage tote. You can also buy attachments to seal dried foods in mason jars.

Note: One thing to remember when making a shopping list for this project is to buy things that can be eaten raw or only requires water to be prepared. Technically speaking, an MRE is a meal that is ready to eat cold because you may not always be able to prepare (heat) the meal and some of the things listed below do not fit in that category but will still work as a meal. Meals that need to be heated have a trioxane bar included to heat without the use of fire.

Breakfast #1 – I love breakfast, it is literally my favorite meal of the day so I am going to start with the morning meals I put together. A big hit in my house is oatmeal. We will take 1-2 of the instant flavored oatmeal packs, 1 sugar packet, 1 powdered butter packet, and one powdered milk packet. (We pre-measure the butter to our taste and the milk according to package directions) We then add one pouch of dehydrated water. (Kidding!) We add 1 emergency water packet to reconstitute the milk and butter. (You can also purchase a 5 gallon bucket with gamma lid of powdered milk here if you’re looking for long-term storage for milk. If you want to, you can also add dehydrated fruit to add to your oatmeal. Hot cocoa drink mix or a yoo-hoo single drink packet.. (These are used when the weather is cooler.)

Breakfast #2 – This one is simple. Dehydrated sausage and either powdered eggs or crystallized eggs. 1-2 salt/pepper packets. If you want cheese on it then you can also pre-measure powdered or freeze-dried cheese. Once it is re-hydrated, mix together for a sausage and egg breakfast scramble. Single kool-aid mix drink packet. You can also add a hot sauce packet to the meal to put on the eggs.

Now that you get the idea, you can make a grocery list of things to purchase to put your meals together. We try to stick with simple things that don’t require much to eat them or make them. The breakfast listed above require some cooking, but in my opinion it is still a ready to make/eat meal.

Below is a list of some of the things we use in our homemade MRE’s. Make sure to write the date it was made on the outside of the package for rotation purposes.

· Prepackaged meats such as on the to-go tuna, spam, and chicken. Pay attention to the dates though because these don’t last 20 years.

· Dehydrated meals that are already prepared and you simply add hot water.

· Prepackaged crackers like we buy for our kids or out of vending machines. You can purchase these at any store or in bulk at Sam’s or Costco.

· Instant drink mix packs. We purchase the on the go ones because they are pre-measured in single packets for a bottle of water. You can even buy instant coffee now by Folgers that looks like a tea bag. You simply add it to a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Add sugar and cream packets and have a great cup of coffee.

· Instant oatmeal packs

· Salt/pepper packs and sugar packets that we save from fast food restaurants. When you go through a drive through just ask for some along with extra napkins and utensils. You can use all of them in your home-made MRE’s.

· Bouillon cubes or home-made spice packets.

· Trail mixes, nuts, raisins.

· Energy bars

· Dried fruit like banana or apple slices. We love dried pomegranate.

· Canned Tuna, chicken, sardines etc. Although this is a little more added weight than the on the go packs.

· Dehydrated meats. Just like with noodles, powdered eggs etc, you must have water to reconstitute the meat.

· Candy; preferably some that won’t melt. We like weathers originals.

· Rice side dishes, like the Lipton rice or Rice-A-Roni.

· Individual camper meals.

· Instant rice with an added bouillon cube or sugar/butter makes a tasty meal.

· Plastic eating utensils and a napkin if needed. A lot of people carry these in their bags, but if your meals are going to be eaten as a quick-lunch you may need them.

· A single pack wet wipe to clean your face and hands to save on water. This is especially good if you have young children.

· You can add a piece of heavy-duty tin foil to fashion a bowl for oatmeal or other hot meals.

· A pack of matches to heat the food if you need to and have some sort of pocket stove in your pack. If you wanted to go a step further then you can purchase trioxane bars to add to your MRE. (That is the heating source used in the original MRE’s)

· To top it off, add a piece of gum to get the food out of your teeth and freshen your breath. (Who wants fish breath, yuck!)

· Daily vitamin wrapped in a piece of tin foil with a piece of dental floss included for when your meal is done. (Some people can’t chew gum.)

These are just a few things you can use to build your own MRE’s. Use your imagination and make something you will enjoy eating!!

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

Friday, December 10, 2010

I was talking to a gent yesterday about the four basic requirements of Survival preparation: Shelter, Protection, Food and Water. We ended up spending much time talking about stocking Survival Food. I explained dehydrated and freeze dried bulk food such as what I get from Honeyville Grain; dehydrated and freeze dried bulk food and smaller packaged meals from EarthWaveLiving; Bulk food and accessory items packaged by the survivor such as in mylar bags using oxygen absorbers and/or vacuum packing machines; and, short term shelf food such as boxed and canned food goods you normally keep in your pantry.

I also explained the need to consider stores of food in all the packing/storage groups as well as problems with determining daily needs based on advertised serving sizes and caloric production.

Near the end of our conversation I was asked if this concept or “survival food strategy” was written down someplace in a hard copy book or e-book as my audience was asking for a “what-to-do” checklist. My reply was that there is a wide variety of ideas and concepts in various Survival novels, and especially on Survival forums where Preppers go back and forth expressing ideas and telling others what solutions they have developed. But in the end I agreed to post one version of a survival food strategy based on all the storage groups.

The assumption is that the Survivor is planning on Bugging In until either a Planned Bug Out is necessary or a Hasty Bug Out is forced. Planned (or orderly) Bug Out is where you have time to plan the Survival Equipment and Material load you will be taking with you, most likely in a vehicle. A Hasty Bug Out is where you are prepared to grab your Bug Out Bags and not much more as this is an instant evacuation, however prepared.

Survival Food Groups

Commercial Dehydrated/Freeze Dried, Long Term Storage Bulk Food Items. The most common of this type is the #10 cans (large coffee can sized) which are vacuum sealed and contain fruit; eggs; starches – such as rice or potatoes or beans, etc; or a meat item such as turkey or beef.

Serving per can will range from 20 to 40 serving based on one quarter cup serving sizes. I think the serving sizes are small. So I figure the “real” serving sizes as 20-25% more, so 40 servings become 30 servings. I also figure two meals a day. So for one person they would need three #10 cans – one of meat, one of a starch and one of fruit to provide one meal at day. Six total cans (or a case) to provide two meals a day for 30 days.

Commercial Dehydrated/Freeze Dried, Long Term Storage Complete Meal or Entrée Meal Items. These are come in sealed #10 cans which are easy to store and transport. Much easier to make a meal, but much more expensive, these entrees are such as Beef Stroganoff, Chicken and Rice, etc. Usually coming in total servings per can of 8 to 12, you can see it would take six cans to provide two meals a day. This is not counting having another item for the meals like a fruit which would take at least one additional #10 can. Military or commercial style MRE’s would fit within this group.

Vacuum packed Long and Semi-Long Term Storage Bulk Food Items. These are bulk food items you buy either vacuum packed and sealed or loose bulk that you prepare and pack yourself. Preparing and packing could be in the form of vacuum packing using a Food Saver type device or buy using oxygen absorbers in mylar bags. Most people will use 3 to 5 gallon buckets to store bulk food, such as rice or beans, in a mylar bags with an oxygen absorber inside before the mylar bag is heat sealed shut. The oxygen absorber draws in all the oxygen, vacuum packing the mylar bag in the process.

Short Shelf Life Pantry Food Items. These are simply additional goods you pickup at the grocery store. They can be canned foods or packaged (boxed) items. This group also includes bottled water be it in 16 ounce bottles or up to 5 gallon bottles that use a standing dispenser. Ever seen a grocery store just after a declared emerging weather threat like a hurricane? People pushing shopping carts and just throwing canned goods into it. The prudent person who buys large quantities of these short shelf life foods, has a rotating system to ensure they use the oldest food or nearest expiration or “use by” date first.

My Survival Food Strategy

I have stocks of foods across all categories.

I have case lots of the Commercial Dehydrated/Freeze Dried, Long Term Storage Bulk Food Items, mostly bought from Honeyville Grain. I have #10 cans of fruit (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, blackberries and peaches) as I figure fruit many be at a premium as it is hard to grow and grow fast to bear fruit. I also have #10 cans of freeze dried diced and ground beef, eggs, potato flakes, peas, green beans, carrots and corn.

I have a smaller amount of Commercial Dehydrated/Freeze Dried, Long Term Storage Complete Meals mostly in the form of MRE’s and commercial MRE’s.

Using a food saver, I have vacuum packed white and brown rice, black beans, pinto beans, split peas, and butter beans into one and two pound bags. I have taken to placing several beef or chicken bullion cubes in with the rice and beans so as I open the bag to use some of the rice or beans I can grab a bullion cube as well to help flavor. I have also vacuum packed sugar packets, one pound units of brown sugar, iodized salt, garlic salt, coffee, peanuts and items like that. My idea is rather than bulk items of one type in a bucket, I mix up the buckets, so if I end up with only one bucket I will have a more complete bucket with diversified items.

The buckets are good ideas as they provide a seat and can be emptied to store water in as well. I have several of these buckets labeled with the contents. If I am on a planned Bug Out and the vehicle becomes stuck or disabled, I can cache everything I can’t carry with me, but one of the things I will carry is one of these ready buckets which will provide approx 2 weeks of survival (minimal) rations for two people.

Buying additional canned and boxed items at the grocery store enables me to have a month or more of ready food in my pantry which will be the first food to consume. Canned vegetables, meats and fruits as well as complete rice based meals, dried instant potatoes and instant milk powder, oatmeal and steel cut oats make up the bulk of these items, multiple jars of Peanut Butter and honey make up the rest. I also have a separate refrigerator in my garage with cold storage items, which of course would probably be among the very first items to consume.

There you have it,…….this is my Survival Food strategy and provides at least a basis to develop your own.