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MRE vs Freeze Dried Food

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I am putting together an emergency supply kit for my home and also thinking about storing a hidden supply cache somewhere and I don't know if MRE's or Freeze Dried food would be a better option.

From what I can see online it looks like MRE's are a bit more expensive but the trade-off is that you can eat them right out of the packet. Freeze dried food requires cooking with water which may not always be an option in a disaster situation, but they are lighter to carry if you had to. I'm not sure which takes up less space or if there is much of a difference.

The emergency kits would be kept around the house, but I may bury the cache somewhere safe. I also wanted to make a kit for my grandmother and her caretaker just in case and I figured MRE's would be quick and easy for them.

Anyone have a preference or advice? Thanks!
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I store both personally. I have a few cases of Mres for emergencies as well as I use them for overnight camping trips and such.

Mres are heavier than freeze dried food, but they are truly "ready to eat". They both have their pros and cons. If you are going to put them into a BOB or something like that, then keep both. If you want something that is going to last a long time, then go with the freeze dried foods. Freeze dried tends to take up less space as well, however you must factor in water to "cook" the meal.

I would also suggest you should try several different ones, BEFORE you buy. Especially have the family try them before you spend money on something that nobody will eat.

Trust me!! I know from experience and being deployed to disaster areas; after a disaster a child WILL NOT eat something they are not familar with no matter how much you think they will before hand. The stress level for everyone is going to be great, so stick with foods that EVERYONE knows and eats.
 

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I'd agree with the above poster. Just do some testing to see which you like better. Apparently freeze dried food stores better than MREs. But you can open a MRE and eat it no matter the situation.

I struggled with the idea of freeze dried food because of the need for water and a heat source. A poster told me that you can just put cold water into the freeze dried food and let it sit for a while. It's not warm, but edible. I have not tried that yet.

I'm still in my accumulation phase. I bought one of each flavor of Mountain House that interests me, and am slowly trying them to see which I want to store for preps.

Here's my opinion of a few things to consider:

Cost (low to high): can, mre, freeze dried
Taste (best to worst): freeze dried, mre
Ease of use/least preparation (easy to hard): mre, freeze dried/can food

So I compromised: I decided to make about 25% of my food MREs, 25% freeze dried, and the rest in cans.
 

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I think a combination is a good idea. Each have their pros and cons, but it's good to have your bases covered.

One thing I'd suggest is to have a look at the ingredients, incase anyone is on any kind of dietary restrictions, such as salt intake. Some of these meals, both MREs and freeze-dried varieties can be very high in sodium.

Some of the freeze-dried/dehydrated meal folks also sell separate components (ie peas, dried chicken, cooked/dried macaroni, etc.) so you can throw some of your favs together and make meals you'd like.

Another thing I would look closely at is the storage life.

If you can swing it, I'd say to try some of these meals before you stock them.
 

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My .02. I have eaten C rations, K rations, Mre's and freeze dried foods. Weight wise its freeze dried. Space/bulk wise Mre's take up less. Taste wise its freeze dried. Prep wise its Mre's. Use of water its Mre's. As for children or picky eaters its a toss up. My children and grandchildren have been taught to eat what ever they have been given. In a situation where TSHTF or TEOTWAWKI, I have no time for a child or adult, that wont eat what ever they have been given. If they want to starve they will until they die or eat. I'm sorry I cant find an open McDonalds or steak house to fill their dainty or picky needs.

All of my Bobs have Mre's, food tabs and vitamins. My Bol and caches have Mre's, Freeze dried MH, 3 day food bars, food tabs, vitamins. My Ghb has food tabs and 3 day food bars. This is what works for me.
 

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Okay, pros and cons...

M.R.E.
Pros
Can be eaten immediately out of the package without preparation.
Relatively good flavor.
Enriched for optimal nutrition and energy value.

Cons
Heavy and bulky.
Lower shelf life compared to freeze-dried.
Expensive.
Not intended for long-term consumption.

Freeze-Dried
Pros
Lightweight and compact.
Similar nutrition and flavor to normal food.
Designed for long-term consumption.
Extremely long shelf life.

Cons
Requires preparation prior to eating.
You are required to ensure variety.
Foods are not enriched, so nutritional value is up to you.

In my opinion, freeze dried food is better than MREs for storage because that's what it's intended for. MREs are designed to be carried in the field short-term and eaten on the fly, and they excel at this, but they are not designed to be long-term storage food. Freeze-dried food on the other hand is specifically designed for long-term storage.
 

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I prefer dehydrated foods to either. But they require even more preparation. The one drawback of freeze dried foods as compared to MREs is that they contain no fats. Which means you have to suppliment the fats somehow. It's pretty gross dumping oil into a FD entree. The down side is that MREs don't last nearly as long. They're simply not designed to.

Both are too expensive and bulky for anything other than a short term food solution. If it goes long term, it's time to switch to more suitable storage foods.
 

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For immediate use after a disaster, I would prefer MRE's, and have a few on hand. The first two days after Katrina, it was hot, there were trees in two of my bedrooms, I was a little shocky, it was hot, and cooking was the last thing I felt like doing. Did I mention it was hot? MRE's would've been welcome. Fortunately, I had hard-boiled eggs and a few other pre-cooked items in my coolers.
 

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The one drawback of freeze dried foods as compared to MREs is that they contain no fats. Which means you have to suppliment the fats somehow. It's pretty gross dumping oil into a FD entree.
What are you talking about? Plenty of freeze-dried foods contain fat. Mountain House freeze-dried beef stew contains 80 grams per serving, for example. Freeze-drying doesn't eliminate fat from the foods. Maybe you're thinking of an older process?
 

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What are you talking about? Plenty of freeze-dried foods contain fat. Mountain House freeze-dried beef stew contains 80 grams per serving, for example. Freeze-drying doesn't eliminate fat from the foods. Maybe you're thinking of an older process?
Just to add data:



I don't know which food that is, looks like a lasagna/pasta dish.
 

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I am putting together an emergency supply kit for my home and also thinking about storing a hidden supply cache somewhere and I don't know if MRE's or Freeze Dried food would be a better option.

From what I can see online it looks like MRE's are a bit more expensive but the trade-off is that you can eat them right out of the packet. Freeze dried food requires cooking with water which may not always be an option in a disaster situation, but they are lighter to carry if you had to. I'm not sure which takes up less space or if there is much of a difference.

The emergency kits would be kept around the house, but I may bury the cache somewhere safe. I also wanted to make a kit for my grandmother and her caretaker just in case and I figured MRE's would be quick and easy for them.

Anyone have a preference or advice? Thanks!

for your home supplies just get cann goods you will beable to stock up x10 as much as you would if your stored freeze dried or MRE's.they are way to high priced. MRE's and freeze dried is mainly for backpacking for the light weight.which makes them great for bug-out bags. cann goods will last just as long as freeze dried or MRE's.at your home just stock up on what you normally eat now. just modify it to more of canned goods and dehydrated stuff like instead of getting spaghetti sauce in a jar start buying the canned sauce . rule #2 in prepering : stock up on what you eat ,and eat what your stocking up on.:thumb:

now your cache you may want to store some light weight foods like MRE's, i would also stock up some canned chili and maybe some beef stew..ect just as a comfort food because if you got to break into your cache things are going very bad and its going to be highly stressful. i would also put a large bag or 2 of rice in it as well .stewed rabbit and rice is a great belly stuffer :thumb:


side note: if you stock up on freezdried your going to have to make sure you got x10 as much water stored as normal,because if you have no water you have no meals :eek: (cann goods come with water so you dont have to add water) dont forget to stock up on some seasonings also
 

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Like most of the other responses, I would recommend a mix of canned, MRE and freeze dried.

For me..and others, MRE is for drastic emergency....use of 72hours up to two weeks. They are high calorie content foods, easy to prepare and store. Good for act of God disasters like hurricanes.

Can foods are cheap and good to store and use daily. Shelf life of around 2 or 3 years. Make sure you buy what you normally eat and use. Rotate regularly.

Long term...freeze dried is the way to go. shelf life up to 30 years. Again, make sure you buy what you would normally eat. Nothing worse than being in a SHTF moment with food you don't like.
 

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Like most of the other responses, I would recommend a mix of canned, MRE and freeze dried.

For me..and others, MRE is for drastic emergency....use of 72hours up to two weeks. They are high calorie content foods, easy to prepare and store. Good for act of God disasters like hurricanes.

Can foods are cheap and good to store and use daily. Shelf life of around 2 or 3 years. Make sure you buy what you normally eat and use. Rotate regularly.

Long term...freeze dried is the way to go. shelf life up to 30 years. Again, make sure you buy what you would normally eat. Nothing worse than being in a SHTF moment with food you don't like.
actually canned goods will last just as long the dates they stamp on the canns is a psy-op on everyone to make you think you have to throw it away and buy new. when i was in basic trainning in 1982 we had 1 case of C-rations dated 1945 and they was fine. like everything inorder to store it 30 years it must be kept in a very cool and dry area
 

· Always Vigil & Prudent
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actually canned goods will last just as long the dates they stamp on the canns is a psy-op on everyone to make you think you have to throw it away and buy new. when i was in basic trainning in 1982 we had 1 case of C-rations dated 1945 and they was fine. like everything inoreder to store it 30 years it must be kept in a very cool and dry area
Good point Cryptkeeper, your comment reminded me of when I was in high school, my dad had a can of rations from around the same period '45 to '50 range. We opened it up and as old rations go, it was fine, at least in a pinch.;)
I know the can dates are just gov reg. as long as the cans look normal and the ends aren't bubbled it should be ok. thx
 

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It easily breaks down for me based on what they are good for:

BOL - Dehydrated/mountian house/etc / dry beans / seeds / ammo/traps/gear to get more
BOB / 72 hour Bag - MRE
home food stores - can goods / dry beans
 

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I can't have canned goods. Well, most of them. Too much salt. Well, unless I do my own. MRE, Freeze dried meals are all out as well. They all have too much salt.

However, fresh freeze veggies, fruit, eggs, milk, potatoes, and others are in their natural form and have no added salt. I can have that. I buy it. I eat it everyday, because can food is out for me. Its part of my regular groceries. It tastes great.

72 hour kits have MRE / Freeze Dried Meals except mine. I have trail mixes, LARA bars, and other low salt items I've found.
 

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I can't have canned goods. Well, most of them. Too much salt. Well, unless I do my own. MRE, Freeze dried meals are all out as well. They all have too much salt.

However, fresh freeze veggies, fruit, eggs, milk, potatoes, and others are in their natural form and have no added salt. I can have that. I buy it. I eat it everyday, because can food is out for me. Its part of my regular groceries. It tastes great.

72 hour kits have MRE / Freeze Dried Meals except mine. I have trail mixes, LARA bars, and other low salt items I've found.
Good point about home-canned. I've canned a fair amount of meat over the past year, though I"ve stored some canned meat. I don't add any salt at all.
 
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