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Ok - I'll admit it - we're "new" preppers. Currently I'm working on getting a 3 month supply of food together. We're working on learning about gardening and we've added fruit trees to our yard and berry and grape bushes are on the way. We're getting some guns with my husband's Christmas "bonus" (we have his company set aside 80 hours of pay every year as "paid time off" and then get a check for those 80 hours the second week in December). I'm going to be working on 72 hour kits soon and we've bought a number of books on prepping, gardening, herbal antibiotics, etc. Oh yes, we're also starting a list on items to store up for bartering.

But when it comes to long-term food storage - there are a number of options out there. I probably will try some smaller packages from the different companies before we invest in anything huge (there are three in our family with the potential of a fourth adult being added if our son has to bug out from his location).

Has anyone tried more than one of the various company's foods? How are they? Any items you'd recommend we get? Anything you'd recommend we stay away from?

I keep reading reviews on Amazon and stuff like "this looks great but we haven't tried it since it's being saved" which is fine - but I'd really like to know a bit more about the flavor of the various products.

I'm leaning towards Thrive from Shelf Reliance because it looks like I could use a lot of that stuff on an everyday basis even now....and I like the shelf system. I'm thinking about becoming a rep with the deluxe kit because it has a decent amount of the food to try plus the shelf system and it includes a cookbook too.

But I see a lot of other companies too - so I'd love some input.

I sure hope some of you out there have tried the food and can say which ones you find to taste better than others.

While price is part of what we're considering for what we'll buy....I don't want to have a year's worth of stuff that tastes like cardboard.

Thanks!
 

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I haven't bought any of the meals. We have a lot of the pails of freeze-dried black beans, rice, and that kind of stuff.
I don't have the guts to buy the meals, and they cost to darned much, even if I did!
 

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That said, we're storing the ancient standards -- beans, rice, pasta, grains. We keep some peanut butter, but no more than we can consume in a year because it goes rancid. We also have lots of canned goods that are tasty.

Our basic rule is, store what you know you will eat. That way, we don't have to buy food that lasts 25 years; we buy long-keeping food, and we rotate our stocks so that we never have to eat garbage.

-- Paravani
A long time ago I used to purchase food I thought would be necessary in a bug out situation. I ended up throwing it all away after it had expired. I do have some dehydrated stuff, canned meats and canned butter but have only tried the butter. Not too bad. We have the same philosophy as Paravani and her better half. I too have layed back rice, beans and pasta. Haven't made as far as the grains yet. We buy in bulk what we like to eat and cycle through it. We do this gradually, building up what we have. I have enough now to last us a good while but it took time to get there.
 

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TexasMama: Two points:

1) It sounds great to say I have X months of freeze-dried foods... but forget that the English translation of freeze-dried is "uses lots of water". If you store freeze-dried or dehydrated... ensure you have a large source of water so you can use them.

2) My neighbor has a room stuffed with freeze dried food. He was smart enough to realize he has to cook with it so he will know what to expect. So... Don't focus on the "it's for a SHTF situation." It doesn't do you any good to find out you forgot a flour mill when you crack open a 5 gallon bucket of wheat for the first time. So... my neighbor has accomplished step one and is using it in his kitchen for meals and is replacing what he used. His next step is going to be using it in the field on campfires with limited cooking utensils. That will be his real reality check.

On a side note for anyone reading this.... I ran into the "no flour mill" problem and solved it by using a $12 coffee grinder from Wal-mart. I also have an inverter for my car... and a small solar set up. So... as long as I have a vehicle or don't break my solar rig... I can make flour. So far... I've made acorn and pecan flour. I'll try others in the Spring and will hopefully work out the best local grasses so I can mix them in for their gluten content.
 

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Quinoa is a highly nutritious gluten free seed. It is an excellent source of protein.
Have eaten the 1950's old C-Rations, not the best tasting.
We will be working on our open hearth cooking skills this winter along with bread baking in
a Dutch oven enameled in the open hearth.
Alan
 
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I tried several samples of it before deciding what brands to buy. Now the list below is based on my personal tastes and your might vary.

Wise long term storage for entries, meats (short life at 15 years), vegetables and fruits are all in my opinion excellent and easy to make with a minimum of effort.

Mountain House some foods are good others I don't care for but all can keep you a live and won't hurt you. I highly recommend you stay away from the eggs/bacon combo unless you can tolerate powder eggs, I never could. Their beef stew is excellent and I also like their Chili Mac and beef as well as the Chipped Beef. I get these in #10 cans and last a very long time but once open they recommend you use it within 1 week or it starts to loose taste.

Go Foods also has some good tasting food but isn't quite as easy as the Wise and requires boiling water while Wise can be re constituted in cold water, just takes a little longer. I do like the Go Foods Drink mixes and their energy shooters.

Last are MRE which can be found in a lot of places. They have improved over the years but the main advantages is some of the stuff that comes in the package.

I keep about 2-5 years of grocery store stuff such as rice, beans, pasta, canned meats etc. I then have longer term stuff such as MRE that will last 10 to 15 years. After that comes the longer term stuff that stores for 25 up such as Wise, Go and Mountain brands. I keep Wise in 240 serving packs of all I listed above. As it will last 2 adults eating 2 meals a day 60 days.
 

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I have tried a few of the Mountain House items, not gourmet but okay, I have also stocked up a pretty good supply of MRE's and tried out a number of them, again palatable and can be doctored up with some Salt Substitute and ground red pepper.

400 Calorie energy are tasty and 3 a day will keep you going or so they claim but be sure to have some water.

USGI Pound Cakes, Muffins and cookies are a pleasant surprise but can be a little dry, again wash it down with a water.

USGI Patriot or Animal cookies are great if you liked them as a kids.....Same thing, Shortbread.

MRE's are okay cold, get a USGI Canteen Cup and small Esbit (Tablet Fuel) or Apex stove and white gas to heat them up.

I haven't had the nerve to try the Ice Cream Bars yet :geek:

Karsten
 

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AlanVT.... I'm looking for seeds WITH gluten... to help hold the flour together. If I just use acorn or clover flower... it will break apart too easily. Usually, you mix 50-50 with store bought flour to extend your supplies. But... for me... I need the gluten. I'm experimenting with pecan flour right now... and am hoping the oil in the pecans will help hold things together. I'll do a follow up post after I've figured it out.

Joec - my problem with Mountain House is the cost vs the calories. Individually, Mountain House is over $12 per pouch, and an MRE costs me $7.71. Plus... an MRE has around 10 times the calories. Yes... weight is an issue.... but the ounce per calorie ratio is still better with MREs. I haven't tried bulk purchases of MH or MREs yet... so I haven't worked the numbers for that.

Karsten... MREs come with heat pouches that are water activated. My MREs are always eaten hot. With my body weight, I need 1800-2000 calories a day to sustain. In a high-intensity environment (even something as simple as camping with a few day hikes to sight see) I burn more. Actually hunting or gathering or patrolling my area or gathering wood is going to take a lot more than the 1200 calories from the three energy bars you mentioned. Well... that's if you want to sustain for long periods. If its a short bug out... you can possibly go the entire time without eating.
 

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WoadWarrior - Stating that Quinoa is a source of protein, some people are gluten free, Quinoa is smaller than rice and can be used instead of rice. Cook it much like rice.
Might have to render some animal fat and collect bird eggs to help hold the flour together.
 

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A worst-case scen would be if we opened our stored food when we needed it and found it'd gone off for some reason.
Two real life examples spring to mind from the 1800's; firstly two sailing ships (HMS Erebus and Terror) were stuck in the ice for 2 years looking for a northwest passage, and every man starved to death because a lot of their food had been poisoned by the lead solder used to seal the cans.
The second example was in the same area; polar explorers took concentrated orange juice along with them to ward off scurvy, they took regular sips but it was no use because the factory processing procedure had destroyed most of the vitamin C content, and they got scurvy anyway, but luckily survived.
The moral for us therefore seems to be to eat small batches of our stored provisions at intervals to check they're still okay, then replace them with new stuff.

PS- as regards stored water and fuel, check it's not evaporating away; that happened to Scott of the Antarctic who found out the fuel cans at his pre-laid depots weren't full because the soft sealing rings had deteriorated.
 

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Lucky Jim... I'm just curious... do you spent most of the UK's drizzly overcast days in front of the fireplace researching obscure bits of trivia for us? :)
 

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Another thing: I'm a hopeless cook but I think I heard somewhere once that boiling or overheating vegetables will destroy the vitamins in them and make them worthless at providing nutrition, is that true?
 

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Well... I use the water I boil them in instead of pouring it down the sink.... under the belief that if any nutritional value is lost... it was either destroyed by heat... or is in the left over water. So... why not make it a soup base? I think for most products... too much heat can destroy the nutritional value... the exception is some roots which require heat (and in some magical process changes them) to make them more digestible.
 

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Joec - my problem with Mountain House is the cost vs the calories. Individually, Mountain House is over $12 per pouch, and an MRE costs me $7.71. Plus... an MRE has around 10 times the calories. Yes... weight is an issue.... but the ounce per calorie ratio is still better with MREs. I haven't tried bulk purchases of MH or MREs yet... so I haven't worked the numbers for that.
I agree that the MRE's have more calories than Mountain House I'm just not a fan of the taste and texture but do have about a years supply for 2 people. So far I only have 4 foods from Mountain House that I would eat all are entries. As for taste it is Wise or Go Food but Wise wins as you don't have to heat the water though it is faster if you do not necessary. I also like the texture of the Wise a bit over the Go as I find them a bit wetter. All of them can stand some spicing up but when it comes to surviving it beats old can's of dog/cat food for sure. :mrgreen:

Most of this stuff as well as store bought foods will last longer than its expiration date however my advise it to test the texture and smell before using it in a pinch.
 

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AlanVT.... I'm looking for seeds WITH gluten... to help hold the flour together. If I just use acorn or clover flower... it will break apart too easily. Usually, you mix 50-50 with store bought flour to extend your supplies. But... for me... I need the gluten. I'm experimenting with pecan flour right now... and am hoping the oil in the pecans will help hold things together. I'll do a follow up post after I've figured it out.

Joec - my problem with Mountain House is the cost vs the calories. Individually, Mountain House is over $12 per pouch, and an MRE costs me $7.71. Plus... an MRE has around 10 times the calories. Yes... weight is an issue.... but the ounce per calorie ratio is still better with MREs. I haven't tried bulk purchases of MH or MREs yet... so I haven't worked the numbers for that.

Karsten... MREs come with heat pouches that are water activated. My MREs are always eaten hot. With my body weight, I need 1800-2000 calories a day to sustain. In a high-intensity environment (even something as simple as camping with a few day hikes to sight see) I burn more. Actually hunting or gathering or patrolling my area or gathering wood is going to take a lot more than the 1200 calories from the three energy bars you mentioned. Well... that's if you want to sustain for long periods. If its a short bug out... you can possibly go the entire time without eating.
WW,

Yes I know that 1200 Calories would be a Minim for most folks but it is better than nothing.....Honestly I don't think I could eat 3 a day. As for the MRE's most are shipping with out the heaters these days and I don't see Heaters available either. Possibly due to what can be shipped that is Flammable under the present USPS Rules, UPS wont ship anything even slightly scary by there standards.

Karsten
 

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Karsten... I understand... civilian version vs military version. I buy mine on base... so they come with heaters. I didn't know they were pulling them from the civilian version.
 

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I've lived off of MREs before, and I guess I can again if necessary. Before I bought the Wise dehydrated food I have stocked away, I tired a sample of their entrees. Not bad stuff overall. I've also sampled a few of Mountain House's meals. Again, not too shaby.
 

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I have had alot of the freeze dried food and dehydrated food and you know some of them are not exactly what I would call edible. But I just got turned on to this dehydrated food site (www.readysetprep.mygofoods.com) from my uncle and he is in love with these things. Check it out I know everything is better than MREs (to all my fellow Grunts and other Military Personell).

PS you just need to boil water and add to the meals.
 
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