I’d always wondered what a MRE tasted like. These are the Meals Ready to Eat that our servicemen and women eat when in the field, and a lot of preppers/survivalists stock for quick food. They’re good for camping and hiking as well.
The concept behind the pouch is that it is a full meal which may be your main hot meal of a day. We tested out the Pasta with Marinara sauce and vegetable crumbles variety.
We popped open the pouch and found 1 pouch of trail mix, 1 pouch of dried fruit, 1 pouch of cookies, 1 entree in a pouch, a grape-flavored drink mix, a package of coffee, utensils/napkin and condiments plus a wet wipe to clean up. Also included is the miracle heating pouch.
The only thing you needed was a cup and some water.
The heating pouch has instructions on it which you need to read fully before starting on heating your meal (because you don’t want to flip back and forth once you’ve filled it with water.
The flameless heater has 2 compartments which you fill independently with water and a chemical reaction occurs between the water and the magnesium dust that is at the bottom of the pouch. It’s a fast-acting oxidation of the metal (really..it’s rusting really quickly and gets really hot!) When you’ve inserted the meal pouch between the layers of the MRE heater, it heats up the food quickly, and you have a hot meal ready in about 10 min.
However, for some reason, even following directions, we couldn’t get our meal pouch into the heater pouch because it had gotten so swollen, there was no room. (next time, we’ll put the meal pouch in before we add the water – even though our instructions said to add it after the fact, it just didn’t work). We ended up heating our meal by alternatively placing the heater on top of our meal pouch, then flipping them. The meal was hot and ready in about 10 minutes.
My crew loved the dried fruit like none other they’d ever had. The trail mix was good and the little guy snacked heartily on it. The cookies were like sugar cookies and were good. The grape-flavored drink was basically Kool-aid. The pasta was passable, though I felt it had a weird metallic aftertaste that I didn’t care for, but could easily get over if I had to eat these. My husband, who can be pretty picky, didn’t react the same way and thought it was fine.
MRE’s store for 5-10 years, depending on your storage conditions, but as with most food storage, cool, dry, dark places seem to be best.
This isn’t something I want to eat purposefully in replacement of meals now, but even at $6 per meal, it would be a great layer of food protection to have, especially for go bags and emergency kits.
YOUR THOUGHTS? Have you tried them? What did you think?
Added Note: Because of a question from Jeff (in the comments), I went in search of more info and found out that you can actually buy flameless heaters independently of the MRE pack. They’d be a great way to heat food without flame if you have water available. Even just setting something on top of the pack will heat it up because these puppies get HOT.
Emily as an MFA in creative writing and a strong passion for cooking! She started trying out her mother’s recipes from a very young age, turning the time she spent in the kitchen into a career. She will soon publish her very first cookbook, and in her free time, Emily contributes to our blog with resources for all our readers, whether beginners or advanced chefs.