So, you’ve reached a point where you’ve decided to become more “survival” conscious. You want to put yourself in a position where you can possibly survive the harsh elements of nature, and you’ve read that one element of survival comes in the form of an MRE. But what are they exactly, and how long do MRE meals last? You might even wonder what it tastes like?
If you want to have all these burning questions answered, just keep reading.
The Specifics Of MRE Meals
MRE meals were originally created as a way to keep soldiers fed while on the battlefield. They were introduced during the Second World War, and over the years, the “recipe” got better. MREs developed to have better-tasting meals in better packages, along with a longer shelf life.
The current packages issued by the US Military will always feature a balanced and nutritional balance of foods, snacks, and beverages. And yes, they taste a lot better than they did back in the 80s. The packaging has gone from a metal can to smartly layered pouches, and the options of what you can get have increased dramatically.
Basically, an MRE meal is already cooked, flavored, and ready to eat cold. Of course, you can heat the meal for added taste, but when you don’t have the means to do any cooking, an MRE can quickly fill you up.
How Long Do MRE Meals Last?
It’s obvious that MRE meals aren’t going to taste as good a fresh food, and this is mainly because these are meals meant mainly for survival. But it’s their lifespan that has everybody talking.
The amount of time you can store an MRE meal depends on several variables. These include the place where you store it and the temperature at which it is stored. When stored in a safe place with a consistent temperature of 80 degrees, you can expect the MRE to last at least 3 years.
But what if you store it at a different temperature, for example, in a colder place? If this is the case you can extend the use of the MRE to 5 years. In fact, there is a special chart available, created by the US Military, and it specifies how long an MRE will last when stored in certain conditions.
The big question is whether you can eat an MRE that’s been safely stored for 10 years? And what will happen to the taste and nutritional value over time?
There are people who have no problem making use of a 10-year-old MRE meal, but you should definitely expect a different taste and nutrition value. Also, some MRE meals simply won’t make it that long. These include things like cheese spread and juicy fruits.
As a tip, once you start stocking up on MRE meals, you want to pay attention to the dates they were manufactured. Every MRE should come with a clear date, which you can use to organize and stock in such a way that rotation doesn’t become a problem.
So, the better the conditions you are able to store the MRE meals in, the longer they are going to last.
The Difference Between Civilian And Military MREs
If the idea of storing up long-lasting and nutritional meals is stimulating your interest, then you need to know something about civilian and military issue MREs. Those from the military are not allowed to be sold. In other words, you need to get them without using your credit card.
Then, there are civilian MREs available. These are made open to the public, and they are not created by the military. Instead, they imitate the technology to bring you meals ready to eat right to your door.
Aren’t All MRE Meals The Same?
Unfortunately, not all civilian MREs are created equal. Some are going to taste better while others can be stored for longer periods. This means that you will have to do some testing before you stock up on a specific brand of MREs.
Keep in mind, if the situation calls for it and you have to survive on an instant meal, don’t you want it to taste better than cardboard? Take the time and personally test different MREs. From there you can make a list of your favorites and begin storing.
What About MRE Heaters?
If you prefer having heated food, heaters specifically for MRE meals can be purchased. As you can imagine, the heater is based on a simple chemical reaction, which can heat an entree in about 10 minutes. Even with the heater, the process is made to be simple and straightforward.
Do the taste testing, compare the shelf life of different civilian brands, and compare prices that are comfortable for you. And after you have all the information you need, you can start preparing for survival.
When you purchase MREs, you know that there is food inside of them. What you may not know is how are MRE meals made. There is a process that they must go through in order to ensure they will last for which can be several years. It is a process that was initially developed for the US military. Many people buy these today in order to have a backup supply of food in case there is ever a shortage. Some people will have as much as a month or two of MREs stocked up in their basement. Let’s go over what is in them, how these are made, and how to find the best ones that are currently being sold.
What Is Inside Of MREs?
These are unique meals that are prepared so that they can last for several years. They are no different from meals that you would typically eat. The primary difference is that certain preservatives are used, and they are packaged in a way that can keep them fresh for what could be two or more years. You are going to have a main course which could be chicken, steak, pork, and a variety of side dishes. There will often be a snack, crackers, bread, and there will be peanut butter or cheese that can be spread on them. Powdered beverages are also provided which may include a dairy shake, coffee, cocoa, or some type of an energy drink. To consume everything, there is typically a single plastic spoon, a beverage mixing bag, and a flameless ration heater. If there are accessories, this will include chewing gum, a matchbook, napkins, a moist towelette, and seasoning such as salt-and-pepper.
How Are These Prepared?
These are prepared by first cooking all of the food thoroughly. There is no need to cook it once it is out of the bag or pouch. The primary reasons for heating up the food include having a hot meal, what prior to distribution there is also a sterilization process. After the food has been sealed, and before it is package, the packages are going to be boiled. The boiling process usually takes about 45 minutes. That length of time is necessary to ensure that any bacteria that was in the food is effectively destroyed prior to selling it to consumers. Similar processes are used in order to seal everything up. It’s very similar to how canned food, or even food in glass jars, is preserved. Once it is opened, it is going to taste exactly as it did when it was prepared initially.
Where Can You Find These On Sale?
Most of these can be found online. You won’t have to worry about locating these companies as they are advertising all the time. The popularity of MREs, especially in the public sector, has been growing for over a decade. There are many radio shows and social media sites that promote the need for having at least a month of food stocked up in case of emergencies. Therefore, many companies such as XMRE or Eversafe, to meet the demand, have been developed to keep up with all of the orders.
How To Store MREs To Improve Shelf-life
As with any type of food that is canned, or sealed in a flexible container, they need to be stored at a cool temperature to improve shelf-life. That is why so many people are going to place these in a basement area, a location where the contents are going to be relatively cool. One of the warnings that is often given to military personnel stationed in the desert areas is that the MREs can go bad after a few months. At temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, 60 days is the maximum time to consume the food even though it is vacuum sealed.
What Type Of Food Is Included With MREs
The type of food that is used will include meat, vegetables, and a wide variety of different desserts. The shelf-life of the beverages is much longer because they typically come in a powdered format. They have even started making kosher MREs, those that are designed for people that follow specific religious practices. These changes have been relatively recent, designed to accommodate those that would also like to feed their family in case of emergencies that cannot eat certain types of meat or vegetables at certain times of the year.
One other concept to consider is that, if there is any leftover food, it should be refrigerated right away. The food inside will be bacteria free, but once it is open, and exposed to the air, the bacteria can then begin to move into the package. Most MREs come with a resealable package, and that makes it easy to keep everything fresh, even for a few more days. That is how are MRE meals made.
Most people prefer warm meals when they are in wet or cold conditions. In fact, a hot meal can help lift a soldier’s spirit. That is where meals ready to eat or MREs come in handy. MREs were first developed for the United States Military. The MREs come with a flameless heater to maintain the warmth of the meal in the middle of the battlefield. The flameless heater operates due to a simple chemical reaction in order to offer enough heat to warm the food on the battlefield. This article provides information on how do MRE meals really work.
MREs are a military food ration popular with a majority of soldiers in the US Military. Although MREs were originally developed for the Military, they have become popular with emergency management folks and preppers today. That is due to their high-calorie count and long shelf life. The meal is not bad tasting at all. That is why MREs are extremely popular with the military as well as folks involved in outdoor activities.
Nutrition of the soldier was an issue even during the first American Revolutionary War. In fact, nutrition has been a big issue since the first war fought by the American troops. Nutrition is considered one of the most important factors in the effectiveness of the warfighter. The first ration of the soldiers on the battlefield was hard bread, salted pork, and beer. MREs appeared on the scene in 1975. In fact, the MRE was superior in flavor and nutrition to their predecessors. MREs have come a long way from the 1970s and improved a lot today.
Chemical heating is the main theme behind MREs. In fact, chemical heating is nothing new. It is a quite widespread normal phenomenon. All of you have seen rust. Iron atoms combine with oxygen to create a reddish color compound known as iron oxide. Although this process is very slow, wet iron rusts faster. When iron is exposed to salt water, it even rusts faster. When iron is turned into rust, the oxidation process will generate heat. The rust forms very slowly under normal conditions and heat is usually unnoticed. The idea behind the flameless heater process is to use oxidation of a metal in order to generate heat to warm the meals. Magnesium rusts much faster than iron. Hence, magnesium metal is used during the flameless heater process. The flameless heater is made of magnesium and iron dust mixed with a little sea salt. These components are mixed in a thin flexible pad – which is similar to a playing card. You only have to add a little water to this mixture to activate it. The flameless heater will reach its boiling point within seconds when you add a little water. The steam and bubbles will start within seconds of adding the water. You should insert the heater and the meal pouch back into the box that the pouch came in to heat the meal. Dinner is served just ten minutes later.
US Military MRE menus have changed a lot during the past 25-30 years. There are many companies that manufacture MREs for the military as well as the civilian population. That is why you need to be extremely cautious when shopping for the best MRE products on the market. With a host of brands out there, you should be doing the research first when shopping for the best MRE products on the market. There are also vegetarian MREs for people who don’t want to buy meat products. There is a wide variety of MRE menus for you to choose from. The internet is a great place to do your research when choosing the best civilian MRE on the market.
You shouldn’t pay more than $45-60 per case of quality MREs. There are many places to shop for high-quality MRE products. If you know someone active in the military, you can easily get a quality MRE from them. In fact, full-time and part-time military personnel get MREs during their field exercises and training. The Army Surplus Stores is a great place to shop for quality MRE products. If you have been to local gun shows, you can easily find MREs for sale there. On the other hand, there are many retail stores and online e-commerce stores that sell MREs, such as us. eBay is one of the most reliable places to shop online for MREs. You will find a host of MRE brands listed on eBay. Make sure you do the research before buying the right product on the market.
In conclusion, meals ready to eat or MREs are popular in the military as well as among the civilian population. They are quite nutritious and come with a long shelf life. The above article provides information on how do MRE meals really work.
Preparing for a disaster often means ensuring you will have a stable supply of food. This is going to mean that you are going to look at some of the MRE meals that you can buy on the open market. The problem is they can be expensive at times and this often leaves you wondering why does something that carries all the nutrition you need and a drink cost so much money. After all, it is just food that you are going to be getting here and it is not like you are going to a Michelin rated restaurant. We thought the same thing and decided it was time to explore why this is holding true, even in the modern world where everything you buy seems to be so cheap.
Quality Of The Ingredients
Yes, the food you are getting is going to come from quality ingredients. While you may not think about this, you need to realize the quality of the ingredients is quite high. So you do not have to be concerned about what you are eating not providing you with a well-rounded meal. Instead, you will find the ingredients are typically the freshest you can find on the market and they are not going to skimp on them either.
The reason the ingredients have to be fresh and good quality is so they can last. Yes, some of the older meals used to use seconds from the fruits, but this is not the case all the time anymore. In fact, the meals that were using seconds tended not to provide the same type of nutritional content over time and this meant that people were not getting everything they needed to have from the meals and could be seen as being nutrient deficient.
Different Meal Selections
While you may think that all you are going to get is some dried up beef with instant potatoes this is not the case anymore. In fact, a lot of these meals are going to have a variety of options for you to select from. So you do not have to be concerned about getting the same meal each time. However, what else is really nice about this product is the fact the meals are going to have a good taste as well. So you are no longer going to have to have a meal that tastes like cardboard or even worse taste like what you left behind in the toilet that morning.
Taste Profile Is Amazing
If you have been in the military before you may think these are the best meal going because that is all you had out on the front. However, that is because you only had these to eat and it really was not going to be what you wanted to have. However, what you need to realize is the fact these meals have started to develop an amazing taste profile. This profile is going to be something that will make your taste buds want to have more of the meal each time, but also going to guarantee your taste buds are going to enjoy the food. Instead, of the older meals that you were getting that you could barely chew and would want to get back to the dirt right away because it had a tendency to taste better.
Ease Of Making These Meals
Yes, the ease of making these meals is one of the factors that has led to them going up in price. While it may seem like it would be going to take the price down, it actually takes the price up quite a bit. So you will have to be concerned about the meals price being impacted by the ease of making the meals. You have to realize it takes a lot of work to get the meals to the point they are easily prepared and this is what makes the meals more expensive than what you would imagine.
Being able to survive a disaster can be a good thing. However, what you need to realize is one of the key things that will fall by the wayside is the cost of the food once a disaster has struck. This is when you should know why the MRE meals cost so much money. By knowing about why these cost so much money you will not mind getting them, but also know the price is what you are paying for in return for a good quality product. Then you can have a meal that you are going to have a chance to enjoy and know it is going to provide you with the nutrition that a completely balanced meal will provide you. However, you will also know this is not going to take a lot of time to complete the prep work for.
Ever wondered why the military personnel carries the MRE meals to combat? The simple answer is that, it is relatively more comfortable to move, and this is possible based on the lightweight packaging to it. They are mainly carried during combat for the simple reason of unavailability of organized food facilities. MREs, which are also known as Meal, Ready-to-Eat are often kept cool, this is because they don’t particularly need to be refrigerated. This then begs the question of what the meals are made of.
Starting with the primary requirements of each MRE meal, we see that each meal ought to have the capability of providing about 1200 calories. The maximum amount of time the MRE meals can go, is approximately 21 days, with an assumption in play being that the available logistics units can avail fresh food rations by then. The meal stands at a minimum shelf life of about three to five years, and this mainly depends on the storage conditions.
The packaging requirements for the MRE meals are stringent, and the meals have to ensure they withstand both the parachute and non-parachute drops. The packaging should hold the minimum shelf life of three and a half years, and this should be at 27 degrees Celsius, nine months should be wholly at 38 degrees, with the shorter period holding from around -51 degrees to 49 degrees, there should be an assured state that this is sustainable.
Other new forms of packaging might also be put into considerations for the primary purposes of the meal. The MRE is a complete set of self-contained meals, and this is why the packaging is made in such a way that it can be able to withstand rough conditions and also the exposure to individual elements. The MRE bag primarily contains the entrée accompanied with different varieties of both food and drink items.
The MRE bags come fully packaged in cases that each contain 12 meals. Available in about 24 menus which are of a variety of meals. The lists that hold the numbers 1-12 are packaged in a designated case A, with the menus 12-24 being wrapped in the next case B. The components of each meal is found in the MRE listings of their different lists.
However, these menus are changed by the military on a yearly basis, so the chances of getting to experience the same cuisine in the next year are often rare. The general MRE meal contains the following:
- This is the main course, and it includes foods such as beef stew and spaghetti
- The side dish meals include mashed potatoes, corn and also rice
Cracker or Bread
- This is inclusive of jelly, cheese spread, and even peanut butter
- The cookies and cakes included
- M&Ms, Tootsie rolls and also skittles
- Coffee, cocoa, dairy shakes, tea and also Gatorade-like drink mixes
Hot sauce or seasoning
Flameless Ration Heater
Accessories such as the spoons, sugar, creamer, toilet paper, matches and salt
Each MRE meal can provide to over an average of 1250 calories, which when broken down consists of 13% calories, 51% carbohydrates and 36% fat, included is the 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance of the provided vitamins.
The MRE meals as predicted are ready to eat meals, what this means is that every food can be consumed without heating or cooking it, the beverages are however much better with water added to them. The entrees and the side dishes can be eaten cold, although the fact that they taste better when they are heated up.
The MRE meals weigh about 510-740g, and this mainly depends on the menu. The MRE contain water, and because of this factor, they weigh more than the freeze-dried meals which include the same amounts of calories.
Despite the meals being used mostly in the military, it is also made up of a wrong side, which interferes with the lifespan of the food. This is mainly seen with the hotter it gets, the faster the subsequent shelf life of the MRE meal deteriorates, what this does, is that it makes the meal an inferior choice for the vehicular storage. This is where the temperature extremes are a provided fact of life.
High temperature plays havoc to the structure and makeup of the meals, and this makes the MRE meals not entirely suitable for the issue of vehicle emergency kits, this being one of the main reasons people get to purchase the MRE meals. The freezing process can also damage the makeup of the MRE meal. However, this is not particularly true for the freeze dried food, where cold is no issue. Freezing can make the packaging of the MRE meal to delaminate, and what this does is wholly affecting the edibility of the foods contained in the meal packages.