Product Review: Freeze Dried Meals

12 Sep

After going a few backpacking trips, I’ve tried a few freeze-dried meals and thought it’d be useful to review some of them. Granted, I haven’t tried a huge variety, but if you need to know of one or two edible meals, this will help you out. If you’re going to be hiking around all day, a general rule of thumb for all of these is that the “2 serving” pouches will feed one hungry hiker. Seth and I both easily ate a pouch each without coming away hungry or overly stuffed. The hot meals also usually take a couple of minutes more than stated on the bag for all the components to get to a normal texture and softness, but no big deal.

Now not only are these great for backpacking and camping, I think they’d also be great for your emergency food storage. Definitely better than opening some slimy MRE or even a can of stew. I know at least Mountain House sells gallon size cans of some of their stuff, so you could buy it in bulk to feed more people. Plus, Mountain House claims their pouches are good for at least 7 years and their larger cans at least 25! Pretty impressive. And I don’t know if this is true for the larger cans (though I assume so), you can pour water directly into the pouch, seal, wait about 10 minutes, and eat right out of the bag. This means no dishes! No getting your hands dirty! All you need is a spoon or fork and you’re ready to go. Even then, I guess you could just shake the bag to mix it up then dump it straight from the bag right into your gaping pie hole. Definitely ok when you’re sitting on a rock out in the wilderness, right?

Mountain House Beef Stroganoff

This is my favorite freeze-dried meal so far. Pretty hard to screw up stroganoff I say. No weird textures with this one… the ground beef, noodles, mushrooms, and sauce all taste great, especially after a hard day of hiking. I’d add a little pepper if you’ve got it, but this is great as-is.

Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef

This is my second favorite freeze-dried meal. The first time we went out backpacking, Seth chose to bring this. I was a little skeptical, but it ended up beating out my lasagna. It has a good amount of spiciness… not too hot or bland. The beans do take a little extra soaking time, but it’s worth it. Only bad thing about this one is with the beans you’ll have even more gassiness than is typical with these freeze-dried meals (unpleasant but true…), so be fair warned.

Mountain House Lasagna with Meat and Sauce

Of the three dinners I’ve tried, this was my least favorite. Still not bad, mind you. It actually tasted really good and would have higher markings, but the cheesy sauce was a bit odd. Mainly it forms a sticky coating on your eating utensil that has to be scraped off your teeth or vigorously washed off. You won’t be able to lick the spoon clean with this one, but it tastes good enough that you probably won’t care.

Mountain House Granola with Blueberries

What’s great about this breakfast is you can use cold water and eat it immediately. There were a ton of blueberries in this and it tasted like a regular bowl of granola cereal. I haven’t tried eating this warm yet, but I’m sure it would be just as good, if not better. My only caveat is that the milk looks sort of separated… not super appetizing, but not horrible by any means. However, if you like granola, read on… I found a new brand of granola I like even better….

Natural High Raspberry Granola with Milk

I normally get the Mountain House Granola with Blueberries, but ended up getting this instead when my local REI was out. And I’m so glad I did! I used 1/2 and 1/2 hot and cold water to make this and I liked it a lot more than the Mountain House granola. The milk was nicely sweetened and looked like regular milk. The raspberries were really delicious as well… just a great ratio and blend of ingredients. Seth ate his cold and really liked it as well. This will be my go-to backpacking breakfast from now on. Yum!

Mountain House Wraps Breakfast Skillet 

As a disclaimer, Seth was the only one to try this. This is intended to be a mixture used to fill a tortilla, but he’d just eaten it plain. “Eat” is loosely used actually. When I asked him what was in it (when trying to select the right product) he said, “The eggs were so awful I barely noticed what else was in there.” He ended up taking a couple bites and throwing the rest away it was so gross, and Seth isn’t one to be super picky about what he eats. So there you have it. Our first (and hopefully, last) complete failure.

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