What's the current recommendation on shelf stable food? MREs? Canned soup? Wise?

Started by Beowolf, December 01, 2023, 04:44:05 PM

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Beowolf

Curious on people's current state of affairs or recommendations for emergency rations, thinking in terms of something that would be available in a short to medium term emergency, a couple of days to a few weeks.

I've usually opted for dry goods (pasta, rice) and a small shelf of canned soup, but I would like to have something 1) that could last many months before needing rotation and 2) could span the timeframe above of a few weeks if absolutely necessary.

I'm curious of the current status of or recommendation on things like Wise emergency foods, DIY things like soups and canned goods, or whatever other recommendations you may have.

Think lower cost, feasible, and rotatable (as in, I could eat them as part of my regular, non-emergency days without hating the experience).

Moab

Freeze dried. Mountain House, Wise. LDS is a great source for cheap freeze dried. If you have a local outlet. Worth driving to. 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

12_Gauge_Chimp

Mountain House packs seem to be the gold standard for things like that. Some dishes can be a bit sodium heavy (I'm looking at you, Mountain House Breakfast Skillet.), though.

My meager emergency rations mainly consist of some reduced sodium MREs I got from my brother Dave a couple years back (I've tried them and didn't care much for them, but they were free so I can't really complain too much.).

I've also got a Mountain House Chicken and Dumplings meal pack that NT2C gave me when he was down here on his epic roadtrip this  summer, but I haven't tried it yet.

Moab

There are many better choices than Mountain House. Just from a taste perspective. But are generally more expensive. Backpackers Pantry is well reviewed. And not much more. There are several freeze dried hiking food companies. I would search google for reviews.

But wise and LDS are going to be the cheapest for bulk long term storage.

LDS (Mormons) sell #10 cans of individual ingredients. For very cheap. Shelf life 25yrs iirc. But you have to buy from one of their lications in person. Wise is more like prepared meals. 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

12_Gauge_Chimp

I think Mountain House is more geared towards hikers and backpackers and less towards preppers.

At least the meal packets are, I mean.

I doubt many hikers or backpackers are lugging around #10 cans of Mountain House stuff in their packs.

majorhavoc

If its short term and I'm sheltering in, whatever is in my fridge and pantry.  Obviously the refrigerated food first, then frozen.  If an emergency arises in the winter, I'm confident those will remain safe to eat for close to a week, given the amount of frozen thermal mass I have in my freezer.  To say nothing of putting stuff in a cooler and leaving it outside overnight.  Then I'll hit my cupboards, with amply supplies of canned and dry goods that I could live off of for close to a month. 

I also have another month's worth of canned and dry goods in the basement (things like 15lbs of rice, probably a metric ton of pasta, more canned goods, several jars of PB, dry milk powder, etc).

I also have five or six of the three day/1-person or one day/3-person DIY emergency ration packs that I posted about a few of years back, either here on UFOZS, or on the old ZS forums.  Or maybe both.

Last, I have several buckets of dehydrated foods, a mix of Mountain House and Augason Farms.  Probably another 2 weeks's worth.  Things that I've picked up when I find them on sale.  Those are the foods I'll grab first if I'm doing a vehicular bug out. 

And finally, I could raid the three or four versions of bug out bags, grab and go kits and my car and motorcycle get home bags I've put together over time (why more than maybe two?  Curiosity.  And a desire to do the occasional review or DIY tutorial here on UFOZS).  And as a complete last resort, the random packages of SOS/Datrex lifeboat style rations I have laying around.  I probably still have a few Sopako low-sodium MREs laying around too.  Together, those final bug out/get home bag/MRE/lifeboat rations amount to maybe another two weeks of sustancence. 

I'm not particularly organized about my food preps.  And I probably need to factor in some amount of spoilage because I don't rotate stocks nearly as often as I should.  I just know I got a LOT of mostly shelf-stable food for one person and it'll last me for a while.  On the other hand, I doubt I have more than maybe a three or four weeks worth of stored potable water, and then only if I use it exclusively for hydration.  I'll have to resort to filtered stream water/rain collection beyond that, and for basic hygiene and other cleaning purposes.
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Moab

Majorhavoc reminds me, I think Raptor or someone did a tutorial on sealing dried goods (beans, rice etc) in 5 gallon buckets. Using mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. That is usually a base layer. Augmented by freeze dried, canned goods etc. 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

Raptor

Majorhavoc' s plan is similar to my plan.

I have written threads on this subject on the old site. But like everything it needs updating a lot has changed.
I have a current and a longer term stockpile plan.
I initially started off with freeze-dried package foods as well as MRE. Then just assumed the food in my freezer and pantry would be enough for short term events.

That plan proved flawed MREs tast terrible, are expensive and have too short of a life span to make the extra cost worthwhile to me.

The current system I use is a mix of canned foods like chicken, ham, pork and tuna. These along with canned vegetables, soup and beans are kept in the pantry to replace prior MRE stores.

I also store in bulk 5 gallon pails, rice, pasta, spaghetti and beans. These are long term stores that are on a 10 year cycle. This is far cheaper $ for calorie than any freeze dried canned products.

I do maintain freeze dried #10 cans of egg powder, scrambled eggs, potato flakes, butter, milk as well as ground hamburger, tofu and sausage.

With current food prices and anticipated cost increases it makes more sense to buy more canned goods (assuming you buy what you eat)
than stockpiles of Mountain House type products.

Rice, pasta and beans are easy to buy in bulk and assuming you have space store at home. It takes little preparation. They are both good caloric items and cost efficient.

The problem you run into is the other protein source. That is why I focus that on chicken, tuna and ham in cans for protein

The latest thing I have done is add chickens to the farm. In the shirt term the cost of feeding them is offset by egg production. In a long iterm  shtf situation they can supply a self sustained source of protein. That said the solution clearly is not for everyone.

Majorhavoc summed up my plan but to that I would that I maintain a single case of MREs as well as shelf stable single serve entre in my office. In case I am stuck there. IMO a situation like that is perfect for an MRE.

This youtube channel has some good information on canned food preps.

https://youtu.be/SUerK13K27o?si=JvclnqEVsqfnY6ue
Folks you are on your own...Plan and act accordingly!

I will never claim to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers. As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

Beowolf

I now have a bucket of Mountain House meals. I got the assorted classic mix.

It's something, which is more than the nothing I had before. At some point, I may try to get some singles of these and the ones suggested above in order to do some taste testing.

Anianna

I have a lot of what y'all already mentioned, but I'd like to add a few. 

I keep several bags of Kachava replacement meal shake.  Just add water or other potable liquid and shake in a shaker cup for best results.  Great if you're short on heat to cook or if it's already just too freaking hot out (like it was after the hurricane we went through, damn it was just too hot to want to cook anything).  These are designed to be nutritionally complete, so I think would be great to help ward off vitamin deficiencies when you don't have access to a wide range of foodstuffs.

I also have quick oats, which is just oats ground up into smaller pieces, that can be soaked in a potable liquid for a short period of time to soften without heat.  One of my kids eats whole oats dry, so I guess that's an option, as well. 

Additionally, I have a lot of sproutable seeds like chia and wheat grass.  Sprouts are easy to grow with minimal water, are nutritionally dense, come up quickly so no waiting months for something to grow, and the seeds have a damn good shelf life.  Some of these seeds can be eaten without sprouting, as well.  Chia can also be used as a thickener when ground as it creates a gelatin-like substance.

I don't think anybody mentioned nuts.  Those are also nutritionally dense and have a good shelf life, raw or roasted, shelled or not. Also, peanut butter.

It's also good to keep some shelf stable fun food like Pop Tarts or chips or whatever lasts too long on a shelf but makes you happy to eat.  Whenever we had power outages when the kids were little, the treats came out and made it a special fun event instead of just concern and misery.   

For much longer periods of emergency, I have shelf-stable ingredients like powdered milk and eggs that I can cook actual meals with.  I don't have as much of that as I would like, though.  I also have spices that I like to use like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon in bulk. 

I also follow foragers in my region on social media and have a recommended foraging book.  I'm no expert on foraging, but I know how to identify several edible plants and mushrooms in my region and how to identify several to avoid enough that I think I can get by just avoiding ones I'm not sure about.  I let strawberries grow wild in my yard, can identify several edible plants that grow in my yard, have a several year-old edible dogwood, and I recently added some native spicebush and some native blueberries.  I haven't put them up yet, but I have bluebird houses I can put up to help protect those plants should I decide to no longer share with local birds.  Bluebirds are territorial and carnivorous, so they'll run off other birds and prefer bugs rather than eat my plants.

Finally, I pressure can my own soup.  Right now I have some chicken soup, Brunswick stew, and a lentil soup.  I have plans to add a tomato carrot soup.  Since they are pressure canned, they are shelf stable and, while they will lose flavor if kept for years and years, as long as the seal isn't broken, they should be safe to eat for a long damn time.  Whenever I have room left in my canner, I also pressure can some water so that I have easily rationed sterile water in addition to my other water storage.

ETA:  I only keep Mountain House in the two-serving pouches.  The cans (corrected from buckets) seem like a waste to me if you don't have a lot of people to feed at once and no way to store leftovers.   They are the cheaper per serving option, though.
Feed science, not zombies!

Failure is the path of least persistence.

∩(=^_^=)

majorhavoc

Quote from: Anianna on January 28, 2024, 09:45:29 PMI have a lot of what y'all already mentioned, but I'd like to add a few. 

I keep several bags of Kachava replacement meal shake.  Just add water or other potable liquid and shake in a shaker cup for best results.  Great if you're short on heat to cook or if it's already just too freaking hot out (like it was after the hurricane we went through, damn it was just too hot to want to cook anything).  These are designed to be nutritionally complete, so I think would be great to help ward off vitamin deficiencies when you don't have access to a wide range of foodstuffs.

I also have quick oats, which is just oats ground up into smaller pieces, that can be soaked in a potable liquid for a short period of time to soften without heat.  One of my kids eats whole oats dry, so I guess that's an option, as well. 

Additionally, I have a lot of sproutable seeds like chia and wheat grass.  Sprouts are easy to grow with minimal water, are nutritionally dense, come up quickly so no waiting months for something to grow, and the seeds have a damn good shelf life.  Some of these seeds can be eaten without sprouting, as well.  Chia can also be used as a thickener when ground as it creates a gelatin-like substance.

I don't think anybody mentioned nuts.  Those are also nutritionally dense and have a good shelf life, raw or roasted, shelled or not. Also, peanut butter.

It's also good to keep some shelf stable fun food like Pop Tarts or chips or whatever lasts too long on a shelf but makes you happy to eat.  Whenever we had power outages when the kids were little, the treats came out and made it a special fun event instead of just concern and misery. 

For much longer periods of emergency, I have shelf-stable ingredients like powdered milk and eggs that I can cook actual meals with.  I don't have as much of that as I would like, though.  I also have spices that I like to use like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon in bulk. 

I also follow foragers in my region on social media and have a recommended foraging book.  I'm no expert on foraging, but I know how to identify several edible plants and mushrooms in my region and how to identify several to avoid enough that I think I can get by just avoiding ones I'm not sure about.  I let strawberries grow wild in my yard, can identify several edible plants that grow in my yard, have a several year-old edible dogwood, and I recently added some native spicebush and some native blueberries.  I haven't put them up yet, but I have bluebird houses I can put up to help protect those plants should I decide to no longer share with local birds.  Bluebirds are territorial and carnivorous, so they'll run off other birds and prefer bugs rather than eat my plants.

Finally, I pressure can my own soup.  Right now I have some chicken soup, Brunswick stew, and a lentil soup.  I have plans to add a tomato carrot soup.  Since they are pressure canned, they are shelf stable and, while they will lose flavor if kept for years and years, as long as the seal isn't broken, they should be safe to eat for a long damn time.  Whenever I have room left in my canner, I also pressure can some water so that I have easily rationed sterile water in addition to my other water storage.

ETA:  I only keep Mountain House in the two-serving pouches.  The buckets seem like a waste to me if you don't have a lot of people to feed at once and no way to store leftovers.  They are the cheaper per serving option, though.
For what it's worth, all the Mountain House Meal Buckets that I'm familiar with are just a bunch of 2-serving packets stashed in the airtight bucket. For instance, their classic meal bucket, which has 24 servings, consists of twelve 2-serving packages.



Their cans, on the other hand, are 10 servings of product, all in that single container.  Augason Farms buckets contain pouches each with 4,6 or 8 servings.  I assume Wise Foods are the same - I'm just not as familiar with their product line. 

FWIW: here's my thinking and others are free to disagree:  Opening a multi-serving pouch or #10 can when you only need one or two servings at a time isn't going to be problem if you're in the kind of serious emergency situation where you're hitting your freeze dried food supplies. Why?  Because the 25 year shelf life is only important for storage.  Once you get to the point where you're eating them, the unprepared portions of the open containers should be absolutely fine for the period of days it takes to fully consume it over the course of several meals.  Especially if you seal the unused portions in ziploc baggies or equivalent air tight container. 
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!
<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

Anianna

Quote from: majorhavoc on January 28, 2024, 10:16:24 PM
Quote from: Anianna on January 28, 2024, 09:45:29 PMI have a lot of what y'all already mentioned, but I'd like to add a few. 

I keep several bags of Kachava replacement meal shake.  Just add water or other potable liquid and shake in a shaker cup for best results.  Great if you're short on heat to cook or if it's already just too freaking hot out (like it was after the hurricane we went through, damn it was just too hot to want to cook anything).  These are designed to be nutritionally complete, so I think would be great to help ward off vitamin deficiencies when you don't have access to a wide range of foodstuffs.

I also have quick oats, which is just oats ground up into smaller pieces, that can be soaked in a potable liquid for a short period of time to soften without heat.  One of my kids eats whole oats dry, so I guess that's an option, as well. 

Additionally, I have a lot of sproutable seeds like chia and wheat grass.  Sprouts are easy to grow with minimal water, are nutritionally dense, come up quickly so no waiting months for something to grow, and the seeds have a damn good shelf life.  Some of these seeds can be eaten without sprouting, as well.  Chia can also be used as a thickener when ground as it creates a gelatin-like substance.

I don't think anybody mentioned nuts.  Those are also nutritionally dense and have a good shelf life, raw or roasted, shelled or not. Also, peanut butter.

It's also good to keep some shelf stable fun food like Pop Tarts or chips or whatever lasts too long on a shelf but makes you happy to eat.  Whenever we had power outages when the kids were little, the treats came out and made it a special fun event instead of just concern and misery. 

For much longer periods of emergency, I have shelf-stable ingredients like powdered milk and eggs that I can cook actual meals with.  I don't have as much of that as I would like, though.  I also have spices that I like to use like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon in bulk. 

I also follow foragers in my region on social media and have a recommended foraging book.  I'm no expert on foraging, but I know how to identify several edible plants and mushrooms in my region and how to identify several to avoid enough that I think I can get by just avoiding ones I'm not sure about.  I let strawberries grow wild in my yard, can identify several edible plants that grow in my yard, have a several year-old edible dogwood, and I recently added some native spicebush and some native blueberries.  I haven't put them up yet, but I have bluebird houses I can put up to help protect those plants should I decide to no longer share with local birds.  Bluebirds are territorial and carnivorous, so they'll run off other birds and prefer bugs rather than eat my plants.

Finally, I pressure can my own soup.  Right now I have some chicken soup, Brunswick stew, and a lentil soup.  I have plans to add a tomato carrot soup.  Since they are pressure canned, they are shelf stable and, while they will lose flavor if kept for years and years, as long as the seal isn't broken, they should be safe to eat for a long damn time.  Whenever I have room left in my canner, I also pressure can some water so that I have easily rationed sterile water in addition to my other water storage.

ETA:  I only keep Mountain House in the two-serving pouches.  The buckets seem like a waste to me if you don't have a lot of people to feed at once and no way to store leftovers.  They are the cheaper per serving option, though.
For what it's worth, all the Mountain House Meal Buckets that I'm familiar with are just a bunch of 2-serving packets stashed in the airtight bucket. For instance, their classic meal bucket, which has 24 servings, consists of twelve 2-serving packages.



Their cans, on the other hand, are 10 servings of product, all in that single container.  Augason Farms buckets contain pouches each with 4,6 or 8 servings.  I assume Wise Foods are the same - I'm just not as familiar with their product line. 

FWIW: here's my thinking and others are free to disagree:  Opening a multi-serving pouch or #10 can when you only need one or two servings at a time isn't going to be problem if you're in the kind of serious emergency situation where you're hitting your freeze dried food supplies. Why?  Because the 25 year shelf life is only important for storage.  Once you get to the point where you're eating them, the unprepared portions of the open containers should be absolutely fine for the period of days it takes to fully consume it over the course of several meals.  Especially if you seal the unused portions in ziploc baggies or equivalent air tight container.
Yea, I meant the cans. 

I figure they wouldn't be mixed well enough to pull out individual servings effectively while dry since the smaller bits will settle to the bottom.  I guess you can shake it up before divvying it dry into individual servings, just not sure how well that would work.  Maybe I'll get a can and try it out.  My husband wishes he could just eat them all the time, so I hide them to make sure we have emergency stores.  He'd love it if I got a can for us to eat from for a few days.
Feed science, not zombies!

Failure is the path of least persistence.

∩(=^_^=)

flybynight

Quote from: Moab on January 28, 2024, 11:39:36 PMThis woman and others. I think eastern europe. Can with bacon grease or other fats on top of seasoned meat. I forget how long they last. But it's a long time. Linger than normal canning iirc. I keant to share this along time ago.


https://youtu.be/KP10Z262Qc4?si=K9otCUGsV8R2vSxt
We had this discussion a few months ago. The methods and  equipment that woman is using is so wrong it's frightening.  

Pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. The bacterium Clostridium botulinum is destroyed in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and pressure in pressure canners. Using boiling water canners for these foods poses a real risk of botulism poisoning. If Clostridium botulinum bacteria survive and grow inside a sealed jar of food, they can produce a poisonous toxin. Even a taste of food containing this toxin can be fatal.
"Hey idiot, you should feel your pulse, not see it."  Echo 83

Moab

Quote from: flybynight on January 29, 2024, 03:45:27 AM
Quote from: Moab on January 28, 2024, 11:39:36 PMThis woman and others. I think eastern europe. Can with bacon grease or other fats on top of seasoned meat. I forget how long they last. But it's a long time. Linger than normal canning iirc. I keant to share this along time ago.


https://youtu.be/KP10Z262Qc4?si=K9otCUGsV8R2vSxt
We had this discussion a few months ago. The methods and  equipment that woman is using is so wrong it's frightening. 

Pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. The bacterium Clostridium botulinum is destroyed in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and pressure in pressure canners. Using boiling water canners for these foods poses a real risk of botulism poisoning. If Clostridium botulinum bacteria survive and grow inside a sealed jar of food, they can produce a poisonous toxin. Even a taste of food containing this toxin can be fatal.
What if you canned it a proper way? But kept the fat? 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

majorhavoc

Note from moderator: I've attempted to split off the food canning discussion to a new thread because it deserves its own topic.  I didn't do the best job because one of FlybyNight's and one of Moab's posts on this new subject didn't get moved over.  If you have more to contribute on the topic of food canning, please post it in the new thread here
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!
<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

Moab

Quote from: majorhavoc on January 29, 2024, 07:19:48 PMNote from moderator: I've attempted to split off the food canning discussion to a new thread because it deserves its own topic.  I didn't do the best job because one of FlybyNight's and one of Moab's posts on this new subject didn't get moved over.  If you have more to contribute on the topic of food canning, please post it in the new thread here.
Thank you, Major. Will do. 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

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