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Sith Lord
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been thinking about making some MRE's but I am not sure on what to put in them, heres some stuff I thought of

-Microwavable Chow Maine
-Cereal Bar
-Beef jerky

But thats all I can think of, any suggestions for what else to put in them, is what I have thought of so far good. Anything?
 

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In MRE pouches? We discussed retort canning a while ago, here, but nothing ever came of it. I was thinking about buying one of the machines, but I wouldn't use it enough myself to make it worth it.
 

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Not microwaveable. But I reseal them in used Carpi-sun pouches. Then I put a easy-tear notch on it. Throw an 02 absorber in and you should be good to go. Here is how I did it:
I like this idea, but it is more 'add hot water and wait' than it is 'ready to eat'. Have you tested the capri sun pouches with hot water? They are designed for cold, so I would make sure they can handle holding boiling water. I keep some thermos bottles around for this reason.
 

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Maximus
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I like this idea, but it is more 'add hot water and wait' than it is 'ready to eat'. Have you tested the capri sun pouches with hot water? They are designed for cold, so I would make sure they can handle holding boiling water. I keep some thermos bottles around for this reason.
I wouldn't try cooking in it for concern of chemical leaching (though I am sure those instant noodles in a foam cup are probably much worse). Though I have tried it and it did work with para-boiled rice and/or dried soups. The pouch held up to the boiling water... just worried about the possible chems.

But it can also hold a lot of things like jerky, GORP, granola, oats and such that require no cooking.
 

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Sith Lord
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was going to vacume pack them, but Ive dicided not to put the cereal bar, they dont last long, I was going to do it like this
OR THIS
 

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I was going to vacume pack them, but Ive dicided not to put the cereal bar, they dont last long, I was going to do it like this
Neat idea, but vacuum sealing is not preserving. I'm thinking retort pouches and processing in a pressure canner will be the safest way to store ready to eat food in places where glass jars are too risky.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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I wouldn't try cooking in it for concern of chemical leaching (though I am sure those instant noodles in a foam cup are probably much worse). Though I have tried it and it did work with para-boiled rice and/or dried soups. The pouch held up to the boiling water... just worried about the possible chems.

But it can also hold a lot of things like jerky, GORP, granola, oats and such that require no cooking.
I would guess that they either hot fill those pouches or pasteurize them after sealing to keep the juice from spoiling. So they should take those temperatures fine.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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I was going to vacume pack them, but Ive dicided not to put the cereal bar, they dont last long,
MREs sometimes contain a granola bar. I don't remember the brand offhand, but it's one of the dry, hard ones, rather than the softer chewy kind. I see the brand in every store when I go, but I can't for the life of me recall what it is. You can check www.mreinfo.com though. They will probably show it or list it. They last for years in MREs. Even when MREs have been ruined by heat exposure, the granola bar is usually still edible.
 

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Most of the YouTube videos that talk about making MREs are missing a really key point, that you have covered. The main meal needs to be ready to eat. Warming it up is an option, and most of the others that talk about home brew MREs call for freeze dried, or something like dry rice or pasta that has to be cooked.

Hormel's Compleats entrees sounds like what I am wanting to use. A retort pouch is ideal, but not many commercial options are out there.

Spam singles is another option, IF you like that sort of thing, or tuna in the foil pouches.

The real trick is the shelf life.

Single serve items like instant coffee, or pop tarts are all good items found in a regular MRE, that can be included in your own. Also, lots of places provide sweeteners or the salt/pepper condiments. Ask for a couple extra each time you eat out [don't be greedy] and before long you will have all the little extras you need to pack up a pretty good copy MRE!

My ideas for a home made MRE:

Diner Entree: spaghetti with meat sauce or chili mac
Lunch Entree: Spam Single or Tuna single
Side: crackers
Dessert: cinnamon pop tart
Snack: Nature's Valley Granola bar
Snack: Packet of peanut M&Ms

Instant coffee
sugar
creamer
salt
pepper
wet nap
book of matches
small number of paper towels

These can be loaded in a zip lock freezer gallon bag, or vac-sealed.

These home made MREs need to have at least a 1 year shelf life, and I'd prefer to see much longer, but the packaging does not always permit that.

I went to Kroger and got a couple of each entree. I wanted to get 2 of everything that would go into a MRE meal kit. Hormel's Spaghetti was actually pretty decent for what they are, and the package can be boiled. That is great news, making heating them up in the field easier. [Now, to test one in a canteen cup, thats going to be interesting]. At Kroger, there were only about 5 meals to choose from, but like I said, I tried to double everything up, mainly to have one set of components to test/sample and the other to package up.

The package is not terribly large, and should pack down ok. Not as good as a real MRE retort packet but ok.

While I was there, I got some Zip Lock Vacuum bags. This is a poor man's vacuum sealing kit. Everything that can be vacuumed down will help save space, and help protect the contents. Not sure how good it is, but will review that as well.

I also got some Nature's Valley granola bars, single serve Spam, Chicken of the Sea Tuna, and some Tyson Chicken. There seems to be a lot of chicken in the pouch, so I'm going to do something different with that. Expires sometime in mid 2014!

I'm thinking ramen noodles or instant rice vacuum sealed down as a quick meal, but thats not an MRE.

I also got some Keebler 'Grabs' snack assortment, some M&Ms with peanuts, and I realized, I'm needing some condiments. I had some Tobasco sauce in the little ketchup packets. So that got added.

I had kept some stuff left over from the MRE's handed out after Hurricane Ike, and included an MRE heater, and hot drink pouch. I also included the salt and pepper from that kit. Not sure where to track the MRE heaters from other than online. But they are easy and cheap to find on Amazon.

I need to find a decent bread/cracker item to go with the Spam and Tuna. I think if I can track that down, I will have a pretty decent copy of a MRE type meal kit. Some coffee singles, sugar pouches, some single serve gum, and some TP and this should be good to go.

I'll update everyone on my little experiment.
 

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Christian
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MY issue with homemade MRE's that come from Hormel etc are LOADED with salt.

some of them half a days worth of it.

In a pinch they are fine but prolonged eating of these things will probably result in high blood pressure and other ailments.
 

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MY issue with homemade MRE's that come from Hormel etc are LOADED with salt.

some of them half a days worth of it.

In a pinch they are fine but prolonged eating of these things will probably result in high blood pressure and other ailments.
That's why I want to make my own. Maybe some low(er) sodium chicken and rice or beef soup. I wonder if there would be in interest in a co-op setup if I bought one of those sealers.
 

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Christian
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That's why I want to make my own. Maybe some low(er) sodium chicken and rice or beef soup. I wonder if there would be in interest in a co-op setup if I bought one of those sealers.
I have a food saver and its great but it is NOT a food preservation system.

I wouldn’t mind having a retort canning system but its a bit out of my price range at this time.

 

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I have a food saver and its great but it is NOT a food preservation system.

I wouldn’t mind having a retort canning system but its a bit out of my price range at this time.

‪Retort Canning Flexable Canning Pouches & Vacuum Sealers #3‬‏ - YouTube
That is exactly what I'm looking at, but like my pressure canners, it would sit on a shelf and not get used enough. It seems silly to spend $2,500 on something I'll only use occasionally.

I've been thinking about trying to get a barter/co-op going. I could get the sealer and bags, and I have at least two pressure canners. Maybe someone without the hardware would barter food or labor to make homemade MREs. I also don't have a good place to do all this. I'd need access to a large kitchen, and I can't find anything in Ann Arbor to rent for a day.

Anyone have an interest or ideas?
 

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Made a homemade vacume chamber bagger (http://www.fishyfish.com/bobbruce/vacuum_bagger.html ) but as you said the $500 cost wouldn't be worth the effort just for retort pouches. On another title here I posted some info about my attempts to seal retort pouches. I'll be trying a third time soon and think I can sucessufully do it. The bagger also uses the 10-cent chamber bags for regular bagging to go in a freezer so does a great job there. The retort pouches are like 32-cents each. Bob
 
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