MRE vs Freeze Dried: Which is Right For You?

If you're new to the preparedness world, you may feel overwhelmed with all the options you have available to you. The Ready Store has a huge variety of freeze-dried food in pouches, cans, and buckets. We also have a vast variety of MREs. So, which ones are best for your needs? Here's a breakdown of what you need to know to make the best decision for your family's preparedness goals.

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)
The MREs we have are the same ones that the US military feeds its soldiers. These are top quality, delicious meals that are ready to eat. Read HERE to see the nutritional benefits of MREs. You can eat them as-is, or you can use the heater included in the packaging to heat them up to eat. Because of this, they are great for short-term food storage.

When Would You Use MREs?
Camping/Hiking- MREs have a higher calorie count (and usually protein content) so they will keep you full longer. They are also tightly packaged, minimizing space. Again, they are also self heating, giving you the choice of a hot meal or a ready-to-eat meal.

Bug-Out Bag- MREs are perfect for bug-out bags. For the same reasons they are good for hiking and camping, they are good for 72 hour preparedness packs. A full meal is about 15 oz and takesup minimal space, while its 1055 calories can be spread out through the day. Two full meals can feed you for a day.

Cons of MREs
-MREs are not as shelf-stable as freeze-dried foods. They have a shelf life of only 1-5 years, making them unsuitable for long-term storage.  (Note- the cooler and drier the environment, the longer the shelf life.)
-MREs are packaged to feed one person instead of multiple servings in freeze-dried packaging.

In other words, MREs are great emergency preparedness options, if you rotate your storage regularly. If you depend on MREs, consider using them for daily activities like hiking, camping, and other meals, but replenish them regularly.

Freeze-Dried Foods
Freeze-dried foods are healthy and full of flavor. Fruits and vegetables are freeze-dried as they are picked. Meats and entrees are freeze-dried as soon as they are cooked. When freeze-dried, the foods retain almost all of their nutrition and flavor.

Where Does Freeze-Dried Food Belong in Emergency Preparedness?
Freeze-dried foods are made for long-term storage. With a shelf life of up to 30 years (in optimal cool, dry conditions), they are perfect for building an emergency reserve. However, freeze-dried foods don't have to be used solely for long term food storage.

Daily use- A #10 can (about the size of a large coffee can) or a pouch of freeze-dried food, once opened, will actually stay good for 6-12 months, if stored covered and in a cool, dry place. That means you can use your storage food for every-day recipes.

Convenience Meals- Freeze-dried foods are just-add-water convenient. For instance, breakfast can be as easy as adding hot water to freeze-dried bacon and eggs. You can make a quick dinner on a crazy night the same way. Entrees, fruits, and vegetables are easy to reconstitute, making mealtime easy and fast.

Camping- It can be hard to keep meats and produce fresh during long camping trips. Freeze-dried foods are ideal for your favorite camping recipes. They stay stay safe and good (if covered) and are ready to add to your favorite recipes. Rehydrate with hot water and then add them to your dutch oven or aluminum foil meals. Meat is pre-cooked, so it just needs to be incorporated into your favorite recipes.

Cons for Freeze-Dried Foods

Really- the main con is the fact that freeze-dried foods requires hot water to hydrate. While you can eat the food without the water, it is dry. Also, some foods don't constitute back to their original form (although they constitute to original nutrition).

MREs and freeze-dried foods both have important places in your emergency preparedness. What you decide to do with them is up to you.

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