Food Storage Pouches vs Cans

One question we get about food storage is regarding the differences between pouches and cans. We wanted to dive into some of the differences between the two packaging options. Comment below to tell us what you think and share your opinion about the differences between pouches and cans.

Shelf Life
For years, it was believed that pouches had a much shorter shelf life than cans. However, recent research is showing that this isn’t necessarily true.

Recently, 30-year-old food from pouches was put through a taste test vs 1-year-old pouched food product. Participants were asked to rank a variety of different meals on a scale of 1 - 10, 1 being “Disliked Extremely” and 9 being “Liked Extremely.” 30-year-old food scored considerably high compared to the new food:

Food Storage Taste Test

As you can see, there was only a slight taste loss after 30 years. The 30-year-old pouch scored a 6.8 out of 9 on the taste test while the 1-year-old pouch scored an average of 8.5. However, the pouch foods were still safe to eat a whole three decades later!

Many food storage companies will throw a blanket statement on their pouches saying that they have a 25 year shelf life. However, you need to be careful that the pouch products you are considering have high-quality components that will ensure a long shelf life. For example, your pouch should:

Have an oxygen absorber. Moisture and oxygen are the two major factors of decreasing shelf life. We’ve noticed that some pouch manufacturers don’t even have oxygen absorbers in them at all, instead opting for far less reliable nitrogen flushing that has proven less reliable at removing oxygen.

“For proper long-term food storage, it’s important to maintain oxygen exposure as low as possible,” said Lee Goin, of Columbia Food Laboratories. “Oxygen causes nutritional value to be lost - especially vitamins A, C, D and E.”

Be stored correctly. In order to obtain maximum shelf life, the pouches need to be stored correctly. That means you’ll need to store them in a cool location - preferably at 70-75 degrees or lower. The location will also need to be dry.

Use thick metalized bags. You’ll notice that bag quality will vary by company. The thickness of the metal layer in the bag lining will make a huge difference on the durability and shelf-life of the food. Don't be fooled if a bag feels thick - some companies will add layers of plastic to the bag instead of metal to make them seem thicker than they really are. The metalized layers keep oxygen and moisture out. Simple plastic bags won't do this.

Camping with freeze dried foodStoring vs Eating On-the-Go
When comparing food storage cans and pouches, one of the major differences is how they store. The typical food storage can measures 5.5” by 6” by 7”. While it is larger, the metal walls of the can will provide ultimate protection from puncturing.On the other hand, pouches are smaller, and can take up considerable less space due to their ability to mold to the shape of their surroundings. Of course storing them in a durable container isn’t a bad idea as it will help protect the pouch from abuse.

Dishes vs No Dishes
Since food storage #10 cans are intended for bulk storage, you’ll be using plates and bowls to cook and eat. The pouches on the other hand, are designed to be their own dish. All you have to do is add hot water to the pouch and mix it. You won’t have to spend time cleaning your pots and pans after the meal is over.

Lightweight vs Servings
Food storage cans are larger by nature, often carrying up to 30+ servings in some cases. While they provide a great value, they lack some flexibility when compared to pouches. For example, a pouch will fit efficiently inside of a survival bag. The smaller overall servings and light food (by nature of the preservation processes) mean they are much easier to pack around when you need to move your food from one spot to another.

What do you think?
Have you tried food storage in pouches before? Do you prefer to have you food storage in cans or pouches? Comment below to tell us your opinion.

75 thoughts on “Food Storage Pouches vs Cans”

  • Cliff

    So happy that Saratoga Farms foods are now available in pouches that will last in long-term storage. I was concerned about having to load-up and move-out lots of cases of #10 cans, if the need ever arises. I love the flexiblity they will bring to moving my rations. I also like the idea of not having to open several #10 cans to prepare a simple meal. Now, all I need is a Kelly Kettle. I will start stocking up on these rations right away.

  • Suzanne

    What I would like to know is this. Are your foods GMO free MSSG free Sorbitol and aspertine free as I am highly allergic to those ingredients. Also, do any of your products contain high frutose corn syrup?
    I have a lot of canned goods but am interested in the pasta meals, the soups, butter and honey and the kettle for cooking. How many of the starters for the Kettle do you think one might need for about 3 months?

  • dan

    i like to get the most for my money so can you tell me how big of a difference is there in cost per serving from cans to pouches???

  • Jeff Nieland

    As part of my preparation plans I do not consider it an "either/or" decision but a balance of "both".
    In my "Bug Out" pack I have pouches/MRE's and in my "Bug In" storage I have cans. Even in the event that I choose to "Bug In" there may come a time where I need to make a short trip out and I will have the pouches/MRE's to take with me.

    It is the Boy Scout in me - "Be Prepared".

  • Wayne Maier

    I avoided the pouches because of their short shelf life. I will now start adding them too.

  • Dewayne Latham

    In my bug out bag pouches work best. However you still need a larger supply placed in different locations. Bugging out is the last option on my list but depending on the area you live in, that may be your first option is to get out of the city. Having a supply is better than having a demand for what you will need. So buy big & seal it yourself it cost less.

  • George Krauss

    Up to now I had been purchasing my food storage in the #10 cans...but with this new information I will be ordering my food storage. GREAT IDEA!

  • George Krauss

    I will now be ordering my food storage in pouches from now on . I have food storage in #10 cans and some MREs plus other necessary items for survival if necessary which include the 2 seed banks whixch are in my freezer but if I hear the feds will be looking for seeds ...I will bury therm. The seeds are enclosed in Plastic and water government metal detector will ever find them and

  • Norman McGlothlin
    Norman McGlothlin November 24, 2012 at 2:32 am

    in the writeup, advice is given to use a supplier that has Oxygen Absorber vs just nitrogen flushing.
    Where is this information listed? Do you recommend any of your products which have this feature?

    • The Ready Store

      @Norman All of the Saratoga Farms and Mountain House products that we carry at The Ready Store come with oxygen absorbers.

    • The Ready Store

      Good question @Norman! Many times the supplier will advertise this on the outside of their pouch. At The Ready Store, all food products include an oxygen absorber. However, with other companies, you may need to call and ask a customer service rep if they don't advertise it.

  • Lyn Rogers

    My husband is a meat, potatoes, corn man. He will try other veges but not many but I love all veges so the pouch is best for us. Also only two in home. A regular can in store of veges (even corn) we will eat most but throw out the rest so very wasteful but with pouches I can use what we eat. I have a two month menu and know exactly what we need.

  • Lyn Rogers

    please ignre my last comment I really though you were referring also to veges in a pouch, but no. I really need smaller portins and especially veges in a pouch or it is a waste.

  • nancy

    I aso like the pouches, however for meats I choose
    cans from such as yoders or Keystone meats.
    I do however store the pouches in lidded buckets or bins, something that varmints cannot cannot get into.

  • Bobbie

    The pouches are more efficient for smaller groups - 1-4 or so.

    The cans are handier for large groups.

    for a small group to open a can really limits variety.

    Since I am the only one here, with a possibilty of 3 more, the pouches are easier to plan for.

  • Nan

    Wow, burying seeds so the Feds can't get them? That is off the charts crazy but I mostly wanted to say that if you cut those large mylar bags into fourths you can put 'meals in a jar' food in them and seal away. At least you use up your #10 cans this way and you don't have all the cruddy preservatives, msg etc... to worry about. Check online for recipes you just add water to.

  • Jason Hicks

    I avoided dehydrated food all together, as #10 cans just seemed to be to big for a family of 4, and thought pounches had a short shelf life. Now, I know I can stock up on pouches an #10 cans for key bulk items, we may have to rethink our storage plans.

    Question, how do people manage the life of contents, once you open a #10 can?

  • Robert D

    I was thinking pouchs were more convenient than cans but cans could have other uses also

  • Paul

    Do you hav Type 2 diabies menues in pouches>

    • The Ready Store

      Sorry @Paul. At the moment these meals are not certified for Type 2 Diabetes. Since the meals are prepared as normal and then freeze-dried; if you are OK eating that meal normally, it should be OK coming out of a pouch too. You can also check out the "Nutrition & Ingredients" panel on any of our product pages and that will tell you what is contained inside the pouch. I hope that helps.

  • Nancy

    I am pouches for my bug out. Home in cans. Pouches of starkist tuna are portable, and I do not eat red meat unless I have to. I have MRE'S, powdered eggs. Dried jerkey and fruits. I have added in a multi- vitamin as well. If I have it carry and go, I have to able to carry all my other things that are equally important. I rely on sardines as well. I have given up "fancy" for survival.

  • Shirley Smith

    What is a Kelly Kettle?

  • Tim

    I'm looking for meals in pouches that are Vegetarian & GM, Gluten, Dairy free. Can you supply?

    • The Ready Store

      Hey @Tim,
      Here is the report for the pouches:

      Sweet & Sour Stir Fry - Vegetarian, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Lasagna - Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Pasta Parmesan Alfredo - Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Chili Mac - Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Mountain Man Stew - Vegetarian, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Rice & Chicken - Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Bacon Potato Chowder - Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Granola with Milk & Blueberries - Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Orange Drink Mix - Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Peanut Free
      Fruit Punch Sports Drink Mix - Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Peanut Free

  • Chris

    Jason, You asked <>

    I have read that once a #10 can is opened, it should be used up within a year. So if the emergency will continue for a while, I would plan to eat that food again later in the week, then the following week (even if things went back to normal).

    To keep it from being contaminated by multiple people helping themselves to the can, I would be prepared with zip lock baggies and re-package the can contents into baggies when I open the can. Put enough in each baggie for what would be cooked/ re-hydrated at a time. (Be sure you label the baggies with its contents and expiration date.)

  • Roger the Dodger
    Roger the Dodger November 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I have over 100 #10's and a couple hundred pouches too from mountain house. We grow our own veggies and fruits and have a 500 gallon fresh water reserve along with a 20kw lpg/ng generator that powers the entire home and more. In the process of setting up my very own solar backup system complete with a 12 battery/6 panal array.

    Gots self protection firearms and ammo also just to be on the safe side. My friend owns a gunshop and made a point that stuck... You can have lots of food but if you cant protect it the guy with the guns will have it instead.

    Growing Moringa trees also. (Super Food)

  • RevMack

    Wow...Suzanne asked such important questions. Please share here and not to her inbox only. Bless you.

  • mike kennedy

    I also have a question about all this that is seldom answered. Many of these products either in cans or pouches, are made by the same company then relabeled by someone else. I think this is true when you buy a non mixed product like eggs or milk. Could anyone answer this or prove it not to be true?

  • Diane

    I like the idea of having both Cans and Pouches. Pouches & MREs are really convenient, light weight and EZ to bug out with (if necessary). The cans are great to have for the house. and.. As everyone knows water is the key to survival. So, I hope that everyone is storing water in one way or the other (and it doesn't hurt to have a water purification system).

  • G6 Patriot

    Compare net contents then do the math vs cost. You actually need a good supply of both cans and pouches...pouches for advantage bags (bug out/get home, etc.) and #10 cans for base camp. I have at least 2.5 yrs of both for me and wife plus a good supply of MRE's. Equally I have cases of canned goods and mermite cans to load out freezer into in case of evacuation. My plan is based on first use food, second use, etc. My personal preference is Mountain House brand, as they have more meaty meals and the flavor is better. Save your pouches and repack them from cans for short term missions (hunting/security duty) once you've reached base camp.

  • Ellen L

    I recently read on another site that once the Mountain House #10 cans are opened it should be consumed within the week.

    Could someone please explain what the proper way to use the #10 cans once they are opened?

    Thank you.


    • The Ready Store

      Hey Ellen, on the side of each Mountain House can it recommends that the contents be eaten as soon as possible after opening. They give a conservative estimate that just with the plastic lid the contents can be consumed within a week. However, personally, I've had products that have been open for a month with just the plastic lid.

      If a can from our warehouse gets dented, we'll open it up and put it in the break room. I've eaten foods there - that tasted great - that have been in the break room for a few months. The longer the food is open, the more nutrition the freeze-dried food will lose. So, it is ideal to eat them as soon as possible, but you can also eat them for a couple months after opening.

      We've also had a lot of customers who buy Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Once they open the can, they poor the contents into a bag and place an oxygen absorber inside - essentially trying to savor the freshness. That might be an option for you. t

  • Mark Jacobs

    I noticed in your reply to Tim that only the drink mixes were "soy free." Does that mean all the rest contain soy products? I am allergic to soy.

  • Steve

    I store buckets, cans and pouches. Buckets are less expensive per portion but harder to move/prepare while pouches are more expensive but easier to move/prepare. The Saratoga brand offers quality & variety of pouches. I have made pouches using both my home vacuum sealer & mylar bags for camping. I have found the 2 portion pouch size easier to pack and allows for smaller portions to be prepared in the pouch. 4 portion is great if you have a larger group.

  • Bob

    This is quiet a different story from when I bought a large box-full of variety pouches from you folks. You stated that the pouches were only good for 6 months. Well a year later I opened one of the rice with pork pouches and prepared it as instructed and the pork refused to absorb the water and it was like chewing on hard leather. Needless to say I threw the contents away and the entire box worth $100s. Now this was only 1 year from purchase and to be fair you did tell me they were only good for six months so I had nothing to complain about but now you are saying that the same pouches 30 years later are suitable to eat?

    This is very surprising to hear from you folks and sounds a bit dubious to say the least considering what you told me and what I personally experienced and I would warn anyone to be very cautious about your claims.

    I have purchased my storage food ONLY from the Ready Store but now this worries me.
    You have lost my trust.

  • JC

    Newbie to prepping. If I get a few 2 or 4 serving pouch, can I pour one serving in a pot and reseal the rest? If so, how long will it last?

    Please bear my ignorance on the subject. Lots of reading and catching up to do to keep learning.

    • The Ready Store

      @JC Good question. You can reseal the rest. It should last a few weeks if stored correctly. Just as long as you keep it dry, cold and out of sunlight.

  • notenufftime

    I will say that for longer term preparation, I would go with cans, as in a disaster, one expects a rodent problem. Rodents (rats) can eat through almost anything- we had a rat problem once. They even ate through the hard plastic rims on the stainless steel trash can, didn't manage to make it into the can, but still.

  • JC

    Well, after several days of reading, looks like the best way to approach this is a mix of food storage. So far this is my line of thought.

    MREs - 3 on each of our backpacks
    MREs - Box 24 entrees. No water needed but heavy!

    Pouches Buckets - Many servings in lightweight and easy to transport. Need water

    Cans - Best protection and longer storage time overall, water needed and not easy transport.

    Although I understand many are preparing for an emergency hoping their homes are still secure, I am inclined more towards a flood or home destroyed scenario, where I need mobility and water/food for a family of four.

    Perhaps approach/vision is incorrect,but I am certainly interested in learning. Also, I assume those with over a year worth of food has done so over a few of prepping? (Depending on the budget of course)

  • California Mama Bear
    California Mama Bear February 27, 2013 at 6:18 am

    I like options and back up plans; so I have short-term & long-term storage - some #10 cans, some pouches, loads of canned goods, pastas, beans, rice. My hubby is very picky about the "Best By" dates; so I organize and do FIFO ( 1st in, 1st out ); if the date gets close to passing the "Best By" date, then I load up the food and take it to the local food bank ( they are MOST appreciative, even if the date has slightly passed ), and then I restock ( checking the local groceries' "loss leader" sales for the best sales prices ). Yes, I know the BB date does not mean that the food is bad and no longer nutritious, but hubby is not convinced ( even after some of our Alaska friends told us that they've eaten salmon that had been canned for 20 years that was still good ).

    I recently ordered 4 mil mylar bags in various sizes & oxygen absorbers and plan to transfer most of my dry goods to the bags & then label & store them in buckets - or when I open a #10 can, I can transfer the unused portion of the can to an appropriately sized mylar bag. MylarPro has a great video on how to fill & seal mylar bags, as well as excellent FAQ's on them that should answer thoroughly just about anyone's questions about mylar. [ ReadyStore, you are really GREAT and my most preferred "go to" supplier, but if there is something I want that is not available here ( like various sizes in mylar bags vs only 20"X30" bags or KI03 Potassium Iodate tablets - I know you carry KI, but my research indicates that KI03 is much more preferable ), I source things elsewhere, but I ALWAYS check you first! ]

    In case of disaster, we will bug in ( with ample protection from looters ) as our first option, but if we have to bug out and with enough advance time, we have extra gas for our Suburban & pickup, & a 20' enclosed trailer, & our storage and emergency supplies will go with us. If there is no time, then we will grab our BOB's ( for any complete newbies that's Bug Out Bags, good for about 72 hours/3 days )or our INCH's ( bags for I'm Never Coming Home )and head out. Hope and pray for the best but always be prepared for the worst ...

    • The Ready Store

      @California Mama Bear

      Thanks for checking with us! We really appreciate your loyalty! I'm going to pass those product ideas on to our new product department to let them know what you think. We love the idea. If you ever have any other ideas for new products, we'd love to hear about them. Visit this link:

  • busymomma

    I was told that when mylar was first used by the military that it was intended for holding water only. Now that people have been using it to store dried foods in them they have found that the food scratches the metal on the bags. This causes the metal to flake off and get into the food. Don't know of it is true but I am not willing to risk finding out the hard way in my time.of need.

  • Mike Wilson

    I was in the Marine Corps in the mid 70's and used to consume C rations that were dated during the Korean War. We never had spoiled food, although the recipes used were not the best.
    I personally prefer MREs. The flavor is great and they are well vitamin forified. when eating alot of these kinds of food, it is also important to consume roughage, as they can bind you up.

  • Tori Howe

    When I open a no. 10 can I put the rest in jars and seal with my food savor. This way it stays perfect until I get it used.

  • Gail

    I don't see where anyone has yet answered the question about GMO, MSG or high fructose corn syrup in the foods. MSG makes my hands and feet puffy and I don't like ingesting the other two. I have started storing with a combo of mre & pouch for bug out bags and cans for home. I have hoped those ingredients aren't in there. I've used some Mt House pouches for camping over the years without problems and have had some for well past their dates that were good. I have very picky eaters so selections have been narrow so far.

  • Jay

    The military has done all the work for us. They did away with the old canned C-rations in lieu of the more portable and tastier MRE. Of course, cans will feed more people so if you're feeding a crowd for an extended period, cans would also be a good addition to your food stock. Pouches are the way to go for your bugout bag and for a couple of persons.

  • Namemary

    Why has no one answered Gails question. I would also like to order but I wont buy GMO foods. In a emergency I want to stay healthy. She is asking a very important question.

    • The Ready Store

      Hey mary & Gail, sorry you didn't see the answer. It was in response to Tim's question above. We provided a report of the categories that were not found in the foods. Here's a copy of the answer for our 30-day Ultimate EASYprep bucket contents:

      Hey @Tim,
      Here is the report for the pouches:
      Sweet & Sour Stir Fry – Vegetarian, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Lasagna – Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Pasta Parmesan Alfredo – Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Chili Mac – Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Mountain Man Stew – Vegetarian, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Rice & Chicken – Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Bacon Potato Chowder – Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Granola with Milk & Blueberries – Vegetarian, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Peanut Free
      Orange Drink Mix – Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Peanut Free
      Fruit Punch Sports Drink Mix – Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Pork Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Peanut Free

  • Judy

    Sorry, Ready Store. I still do not think the questions regarding MSG or GMO have been answered. Since MSG is a flavoring additive, manufacturers that DO NOT use it normally point it out on their label. For buying non-GMO, I have heard that corn is the main veggie to be suspicious of but I'm not certain of other veggies either. Then there's the problem of animals being corn-fed instead of grass-fed, which contaminates the meat. I buy food storage but also rely on my garden, which I keep GMO free. Thank you for checking out this important subject for us.

  • Ildi

    I would love to see vanilla yoghurt in a pouch. They would make a wonderful snack too.

  • Michelle

    Okay GMO - As the wife of a farmer, I can tell you that most crops are GMO anymore. For those who start with a non - GMO food crop, once it is pollinated, forget it. If your neighbor has planted GMO those genetics have crossed into yours. Organic? We checked into it. You have to make sure no one within a two miles or more (depending on the crop) is planting suspect genetics and you have to have a pretty good border zone (think WIDE green belt) to prevent spray drift. Let's just say I view the organic label with some suspicion...

    As for your garden.... As my husband (who has Ag Degrees) explained it. All crops currently grown have been Genetically Modified. All of them! When certain traits are selected and bred. You are Genetically Modifying that species. It can be as simple as breeding for spots in an animal or as dangerous as genetic splicing in a food crop. Tomatoes are selected for determinate or indeterminate. For colors, sizes, vine strength, length of growing, etc. Even if you resort to heirloom seeds, if anyone growing a similar species with in a variable distance (and some pollen can move up to two miles) is growing one that has been "modified", you can't be sure what you are going to get when you save the seed from your own plants. Say, you aren't growing corn are you? Hmm, wind drift and insects are prime pollinators so unless you are killing them off, chances are your garden corn is picking up foreign genetics since corn pollen is actually quite good at travelling.

    I think a greater concern should be the fact that items available to us in our food outlets are not required to mark exactly where they are from. Not to mention the fact that our soils are less healthy than they were even 30 years ago. Our food chain puts such pressure on our farmers to move animals to market as quickly as possible... hence hormone implants in our beef cattle. Holsteins have been so over bred for milk production that many animals are actually giving skim milk (less than 1% fat) and their genetics can be traced to less than the same dozen herd sires. By the way, that price you pay for milk in the store? We get paid by the 100 lb weight. A gallon of milk weighs just over 8 lb and the farmer is getting paid $10 to $12 per 100lb of milk. The basic economics of it means that there just aren't any small family farms anymore, not the way people think of small farms. Most of you are getting your milk from massive dairies with 100's of cows and the animals have a life expectancy of 3 to 5 years. But we have a tradition of inexpensive food in this country, and when prices go up we whine, farmers take the ultimate hit and the processors are the ones that actually make the money.

    Sorry, wrong soap box.. Anyway, if it is an emergency, I'm thinking that if the choice is to consume a "suspect" product or watch my loved ones go hungry..... well, I'm a mom, so sorry, someone is getting fed. I'll worry about the rest of it when we are safe and keep my epi-pen handy just in case.

  • Jeanine

    Thank you for your thorough answer. I am a bit dismayed, but better informed. I have been so careful to not (I thought) ingest GMO tainted food, but it seems now that I probably have been. I was raised on a farm and I know how hard it is to make a living from the land anymore, so I do not blame the farmer. I just hate to see our food supply come under the control of Monsanto, but what choices do we have? I will still be pushing for identification of GMO products.

  • Mary A

    Some companies are testing their products to make sure they are not GMO and put it on their labels. Their is hope. Europe and Asia are not accepting some of our products. Please see link below.
    Originally published June 12 2013 The concern and search for GMO free foods is legitimate.

  • Sue

    We have yet to purchase any #10 cans. I'd like to have smaller amounts of single item products! There are only two of us so I don't want the large cans open for a long time.
    Since the bags store well, I guess I'll need to get some mylar bags and a) prepare smaller packages of each food item, and b)mix my own meals for our specific tastes.

  • Diana

    Suzanne, the honey powder here, as at most places, is largely cane sugar with some honey for flavor. Buy real honey in jars or cans.

    Also,the butter powder here is probably their worst offering, really an imitation butter powder with everything you don't want to eat. The canned Red Feather from Australia is, however, an excellent product for non-organic.

  • Dan Barrett

    Please put more of your offerings into pouches, especially Rice and Beef. What are your plans or should I continue to look elsewhere?

  • kaytee

    @ Jeanine and @ Michelle:

    I think Michelle is confusing the term "hybrid" with "GMO". GMO refers to organisms which have had DNA from non-related organisms inserted into their chromosomes. Most crops are *NOT* GMO, in terms of number of varieties (field corn, sweet corn, soy, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, yellow squash); many, if not most, of available garden seeds are HYBRIDS-- crosses of two related varieties, either or both of which may also be hybrids. You can't really "save seeds" of hybrids, and expect to get the same characteristics of the parent plants; also, if you plant two or more varieties of related plants, the seeds produced are likely to be hybrids. Some plants, like tomatoes, only self-pollinate, unless you "fuss" with them a lot to hybridize them, and so breed true despite having several varieties close together.

    Problems do arise when you plant, say, organic, heirloom corn within a couple miles of the commercial GMO varieties-- pollen from the GMO corn can fertilize the organic corn, resulting in a hybrid containing the GMO DNA. This also has happened with Hawaiian papayas, and zucchini/yellow squash (which will cross with any other squash, gourds, and cucumbers). Plants also can be contaminated with GMO pollens that will kill beneficial/other desirable insects-- the BT corn pollen, for example.

    So, don't worry about your garden vegies, if you buy organic heirloom seeds, and don't have near-by related GMO crops growing. There are hand-pollination techniques to ensure getting non-hybridized seeds (involving plastic baggies and paint brushes...), which is fussy and time consuming, but do-able for home gardeners. Or, just buy new seed every year.

  • k simms

    It is also totally possible that the 30 year old pouches just always tasted better than the ones being produced today. In order for the test to be controlled, you'd have to know that the formula for preparing the food 30 years ago is the same as the formula for preparing the food now both in terms of preparation and the actual ingredients used. What is does show, though, is that the product

  • Diana

    Suzanne, it seems no one wants to address most of your questions about what is in storage food, so I will try. Almost all ready-to-eat storage food meals contain partially hydrogenated fat (trans fat), vegetable oil of unspecified origin (which means either partially hydrgogenated or interesterified--which is probably worse than transfat), or mono- or di-glycerides (trans fats under another name), hydrolyzed vegetable protein or hydrolyzed yeast/yeast extract of some kind (MSG under other names), and/or high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, or maltodextrin. Almost all corn and soybeans grown in this country now are GMO varieties, so if a product contains any corn or soy or derivative thereof, it contains GMO ingredients unless the label specifically states non-GMO or organic. Whether in pouch or can, almost no prepared entrees, soups, sauces, etc. put out by the standard brand names or packaged under the storage food company names will meet your food quality criteria (or mine). Read the ingredient lists on labels on any and all offerings, and you will find a few ready-to-eat items you might consider, but nothing that will make up a complete menu. Your best bet is to buy only very basic ingredients and put together your own fast meals from those. If you like Indian food, you can find some ready meals in retort pouches or conventional cans put out by the convenience food industry there that are without additives and junk--proving it can be done, it just isn't usually done in this country. By the same token, you can find a few backpacking entrees with brown rice, etc. and no obvious bad stuff put out by one or two of the smaller players in the industry, but again not much. Look through the Backpacker's Pantry choices in pouches that are both organic and whole food. Mary Jane's Farm also has some organic, but unfortunately not whole-grain, choices.

    If you want freeze-dried organic produce or organic grains or beans, you will not find much at the standard storage companies. You can find whole grains for eating or making your own flours, and you can find both brown rice, including instant brown rice, and whole-wheat flour (although only bread, not pastry flour) if you look, and Walton/Rainy Day Foods does have a few "natural" choices for grains and legumes. Whole-grain pasta in #10 cans there is restricted to just spaghetti and macaroni, though, and you won't find anyone else with anything else in cans. Healthy Harvest used to offer organic milk and some Bob's Red Mill Products in cans, but alas, the owner died, and that company has closed.

    Those of us who prefer to eat whole-grain, natural, and/or organic are simply not served by the standard storage-food companies. (I would guess we are also unlikely to ever be unless/until the LDS church leadership suddenly decides to recommend eatng and storing whole-grain and organic to their membership, and they have still just gotten past recommending nothing but 300 pounds of grain plus some dried beans, milk, and honey/sugar as all you need to store.)

    You can find some organic freeze-dried/dehydrated fruit and vegetables to can/mylar bag yourself at Just Tomatoes, and a somewhat larger selection of organic fruits and veggies mylar-bagged or in bulk at North Bay Trading.

    I am not aware of anyone providing organic produce in #10 cans for storage.

    There are also some non-GMO organic grains and beans available in #10 cans with O2 absorbers as one of the package options from Wheat Grass Kits and its subisdiary Handy Pantry. Check all the subsidiaries on the Wheat Grass Kits home page, as there are a few differences in the variety of items in #10 cans at each. (I had written to the company asking them to consider adding a desiccant pack to the O2 absorber in their cans to provide a long viable sprouting shelf-life as well as eating shelf life. They expressed some interest, but I don't know if they will take heed of the seed bank information I sent on very low-humidity storage and viability, so for now count on only a couple of years for sprouting, but the usual decade or two for eating quality for items in their #10 cans).

    Freeze-dried meats are all conventional, very low-fat, and don't rehydrate to anything all that tasty, so I suggest conventionally canned meat and fish if you don't eat vegetarian. Freeze-dried tofu is, of course, easy to come by and Roland sells firm Chinese-style tofu in cans. The Amish canned meats are generally the best one can do for meat if you don't want to do it yourself with mason jars and a pressure canner, although one occasionally finds something like the company on eBay offering grass-fed organic beef in #2-1/2 cans. There are a number of sources of canned fish, including ready-to-eat fish in various sauces in single-serving tins from German/Scandinavian companies (you will probably need to find a specialty grocery for them, though)>

    Beyond that, I suggest you get yourself a stock of mylar bags and buckets or canning jars, plus some O2 absorbers and desiccant packs and a cheap manual vacuum pump, and make up your own food storage from any good, whole-grain, organic products you ordinarily would buy. You may not get quite the shelf life doing it yourself that the folks set up to nitrogen flush and can get, but you can easily put stuff on your shelf with a 5-year shelf life or better, and since it will be what you ordinarily eat, rotating it within that time frame should not be a big problem. If you buy or make dehydrated precooked beans and instant brown rice, pre-cooked bulgur, quick-cooking whole-wheat couscous, etc. you will find you can duplicate most of the pouch meals/entrees out there using better food and ingredients. These supplies will also allow you to save money buying in large cans or even buckets,simply splitting the contents of those up into smaller containers/bags after opening and vacuum sealing so you have at least a year to use them up.

  • Diana

    A note to all those worried about wasting food in #10 cans because they are either single or have a very small family--there is absolutely no need for that to be a problem. I do food storage for one, and I buy in large cans/buckets to save money. If you open the can with a side-cutting opener to remove the lid with no sharp edges, fit that inside your plastic snap cover, and reseal tightly, most things will last several months to a year after opening. You can also get yourself an inexpensive manual vacuum pump (Google for Pump and Seal vacuum sealer), save glass jars or pick up canning jars on sale, and/or buy mylar bags and airtight bag clamps from Sorbent Systems, which also sells the O2 absorber and desiccant packs you need for repackaging a large container's contents into smaller ones that will easily keep another year or two on the shelf. (I'd post exact links to everything y'all would need, but apparently the Ready Store blog blocks posts with any kind of URL in them.)

  • Ed

    Yes, those little pouches are well liked by mice and other rodents who easily chew through the thin walls ... something they cannot do with a sealed #10 can. For long term storage nothing is more disheartening than to reach in and pull out an empty packet with a small hole chewed in one end. So give me ONLY products in sealed #2.5 to #10 metal cans.

  • Michael Robertson
    Michael Robertson April 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I was just interested if you can use a vacuum sealer to reseal pouches or is the plastic to heavy?

  • deborah eriksen
    deborah eriksen April 6, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Most food sealers do better with the mylar if you insert a small strip of regular bag material inside the mylar as you are sealing. A Flatiron for hair works great on the thicker bags once you get the hang of it also. I use the canned Neals for my base and add single ingredient veggies, gravy and sauce items etc to improve calorie count and adjust to our flavor prefrences. I then seal in mylar with oxygen absorbers and place in reclaimed pouches for heating later. We use on almost all our travels, a little electric hot pot in a hotel room save a lot of money and makes sure we have control of meals no matter what the local neighborhood may be like.

  • Darren Kahler

    Which brand of foods was used for the taste test? Was it Mountain House?

  • Cassandra

    Hi everyone, I just kind of stumbled onto this site. I've been searching (with no luck yet) for people who do their own freeze drying and whether or not it lasts as long on the shelf as as the commercial co's. I use the Harvest Right dryer and the food seems to be the same when all's said and done (I also use mylar and oxygen absorbers). Any help would be fantastic.

  • Ellie

    How many pouches in a case? I like to try to order full cases of certain items. Thanks

  • Gregory Faith

    I buy both cans and pouches to supplement my long term food storage plan. The pouch foods can be transported or used for barter much easier than can the large cans. I like the pouches since they last just as long, under proper storage conditions, as the cans in my long term storage food plan. The availability of them is limited at this time and I am going to buy them from the providers as they grow in number. Thank you Ready Store!

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