Almost everyone has heard of MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat because the military has been using them for decades to feed the troops. One MRE is one meal for one adult that comes in a very tough, sealed, bag that can withstand extreme heat, cold, and abuse without breaking or bursting. The bag is impervious to insects, even those that like to chew, and is also very hard for rodents to penetrate as well. Plus, since there is no smell leaking from the bag, rodents, insects, and animals won’t be tempted to break into them after the food inside. There are several types of MREs available, each with its own main course. Here are some tips to help you know what’s in them, how to use them, and how to maintain them for your next emergency.
What’s Contained In The Basic Military Grade MRE?
The largest item in the basic military MRE will be the main entrée which will consist of either a stew, spaghetti, casserole or some other kind of the main course and it will be labeled on the outside of the package for easy reading. After that, there will be one side dish that is usually vegetable based rather than meat or protein based. An example would be mashed potatoes, sweet corn, Spanish rice, or some kind of fruit in a sugary sauce.
Then, there will usually be a slice of bread or some type of crackers that go along with the jelly, peanut butter, or another type of spread that is in a separate, smaller, container. There will be some type of concentrated juice mix, coffee, tea, or dairy related shake. These are meant to be mixed with fresh water for best results but can also be eaten ‘as is’ in an emergency where water isn’t available.
There will typically be some kind of dessert like a small cake, pastry, cookies, some candy, and maybe some hot sauce, especially with the Mexican food entrees. Additionally, there are matches, sugar, salt, gum, toilet paper, and some plastic silverware. Everything is designed to help either a serviceman during wartime, an evacuee, or survivors in a disaster. Not only does the US military feed these to their troops, but they also deliver them in large quantities after catastrophes to feed people that are without food.
The regular military MREs are carefully planned to include 1,250 calories of which 450 are from fat, 162 from protein, and 638 are from carbohydrates. It’s important to remember that the calories and nutrition contained are not meant for people on a diet but instead for people that might be walking long distances through rough terrain in a war or seeking shelter during a disaster.
Even though these rations are all able to be eaten cold, they also contain a small chemical heater that makes them taste far better warmed up. It is activated by water and leaves no toxic chemicals, that could hurt the environment, behind. It works quickly, and without any matches or fire so there is no problem using them in a restricted fire danger area either.
The heaters are easy to use, and one only needs to slice open the pouch and place the food pouches inside, then add water to the line and wait about 12 minutes for the food to heat. Since there are no toxic residues, the leftover heating pouches can be discarded anywhere that a normal plastic bag could be thrown.
The Average MRE Is Designed To Last 5 Years
The people that buy MREs for home use are usually wanting them either for emergencies, camping, hunting, hiking, or just curiosity. When you have a case of them, you should buy a few more each year and take some of the older ones out and use them on a hike, or camping.
By paying careful attention to the obvious expiration dates, you can be assured of always having up to date emergency food when you really need it. Many people will say that you can use them past that date, but unless there is a real emergency, why bother risking it? They also make excellent giveaways to the homeless, so, if you have a bunch that are getting up in years but not yet expired, you can easily give them away to the guy with the sign on the off-ramp, they’ll never turn them down.
If you’re saving for a catastrophe and want to have more than just MREs in your stockpile, you can go online and get a list of other foods that will last a really long time. Rice, when stored properly, cool, dry, and airtight, can keep indefinitely. You still should rotate newer stock in and eat some of the old to make sure it’s fresh.
Oats, honey, sugar, salt, vinegar, dried pasta, powdered milk, and dried beans of all kinds will also last nearly forever. You should place them in glass canning jars that are completely airtight since that is the key to having them last. When you add these foods to your stored up MREs, you can then create some likable meals the next time a hurricane blows through the area.
You never know when the next big disaster is going to strike or what problems will arise. But, by having a plan, stored foods, water, and some survival gear you can make sure that you and your family make it through to safety. Being prepared is always your best bet.