Review of freeze dried food - life in a bunker will be fun!
Freeze dried beef stew
Mountain house freeze dried beef stew
2012 is coming. Life in a bunker is fun, right?
I've been experimenting with various survivalist books recently and a lot of them seem to scream the same thing: Buy property in Spain!!!! STOCK 30 years worth of freeze dried food and similar stuff.
On my latest trip to walmart, I decided to try out the freeze dried survival food advertised by some 2012 fanatics. Walmart has so many interesting things, and is probably the first place to "visit" if 2012 comes around :)
And so without any more talk, I present to you my Mountain House freeze dried beef stew review!
Freeze dried food closeup
Freeze dried food
Very much like other dehydrated food, freeze dried food boasts that it protects a lot of nutrients and has a dramatic shelf life, of up to 30 years. Mountain house is one of the most reputable dehydrated food vendors. Many 1 year food supplies are sold online include their products, for more than 1000$ per year per person! I spend 400$ per month on food, if I can feed myself for 1000$ per year, or about 30$ per day, that would be great! Is it worth it?
When I opened the package, I was met with a pea-sized bits of potatoes, dried meat, carrots and peas. The color of the food was bright, and appealing, not something you expect from a dried food bag. Be sure to remove the oxygen absorber from your bag before adding water!
The instructions were relatively simple. All you need to do is add 16 ounces of boiling water, zip the bag and let is stand for 8-9 minutes in a closed bag. This is not an MRE.
I promptly added water and set an 8 minute timer. After the time was over, I unlocked the bag. The smell is nothing to think of, I would say neutral. I must've added just a bit more water, because the resulting dish was a bit too watery for my taste.
In terms of taste, the dish was reasonable, I can eat this for a few days, not sure about an entire year, but there are different flavors available. The potatoes were a bit mushy and watery, but I guess that is ok.
This bag of freeze dried beef stew cost me about 5$ at Walmart, which sells stuff pretty cheap. If purchased in #10 cans, I would expect this to cost a lot less.
After reading the nutritional label, I was a bit concerned. The serving size has a good balance of fat(9g) to carbs(30g) to protein (17g), but too much sodium (1080mg) -45% of daily recommended value! The serving offers only 250calories, which, my guess is won't satisfy an average american, used to 600+ calorie hamburgers or 300-400 calorie subway 6" sandwiches for lunch.
I ate the whole bag at once for a 500 calorie meal. This means that an average survivalist would have to eat 4 bags or 8 servings per day, if this is the primary food source. This is 4x the daily amoung of sodium, and the box didn't say anything about potassium (to keep the sodium-potassium in balance). I'm sure that surviving doomsday would require a lot of moving and hard work, possibly increasing the need for calorie intake. I hear that some soldiers burn through 4000 calorie from meals ready to eat in a day!
Just for a comparison, I pulled up a cup of ramen soup from a closet and compared the nutrition labels. Ramen soup also requires hot water. It had 290 calories and 12 g fat, 38g carbs, 7 gram protein per cup. Very similar, but I'm sure having a lot less nutrients. (Ramen soup costs less than 30c per cup at Walmart)
Overall, I feel that many survivalists are in for a surprise, unless they thoroughly read the label on their food purchases. Having a 250 calorie serving would be disappointing, if you discover that your "1 year food supply" is not really 1 year. I would strongly recommend looking at the "daily calorie value", and plan accordingly :)
In terms of taste and nutrition, I'm sure this can sustain you for quite some time. Freeze dried beef stew does not have the flavor or texture of a slow cooked stew, but it is still decent. If you supplement your 1 year food supply with some other long lasting food, like Ramen noodles
See you in 2012!