How Are MRE Meals Made?

  • 3 min read
When you purchase MREs, you know that there is food inside of them. What you may not know is how are MRE meals made. There is a process that they must go through in order to ensure they will last for which can be several years. It is a process that was initially developed for the US military. Many people buy these today in order to have a backup supply of food in case there is ever a shortage. Some people will have as much as a month or two of MREs stocked up in their basement. Let's go over what is in them, how these are made, and how to find the best ones that are currently being sold.

What Is Inside Of MREs?

These are unique meals that are prepared so that they can last for several years. They are no different from meals that you would typically eat. The primary difference is that certain preservatives are used, and they are packaged in a way that can keep them fresh for what could be two or more years. You are going to have a main course which could be chicken, steak, pork, and a variety of side dishes. There will often be a snack, crackers, bread, and there will be peanut butter or cheese that can be spread on them. Powdered beverages are also provided which may include a dairy shake, coffee, cocoa, or some type of an energy drink. To consume everything, there is typically a single plastic spoon, a beverage mixing bag, and a flameless ration heater. If there are accessories, this will include chewing gum, a matchbook, napkins, a moist towelette, and seasoning such as salt-and-pepper.

How Are These Prepared?

These are prepared by first cooking all of the food thoroughly. There is no need to cook it once it is out of the bag or pouch. The primary reasons for heating up the food include having a hot meal, what prior to distribution there is also a sterilization process. After the food has been sealed, and before it is package, the packages are going to be boiled. The boiling process usually takes about 45 minutes. That length of time is necessary to ensure that any bacteria that was in the food is effectively destroyed prior to selling it to consumers. Similar processes are used in order to seal everything up. It's very similar to how canned food, or even food in glass jars, is preserved. Once it is opened, it is going to taste exactly as it did when it was prepared initially.

Where Can You Find These On Sale?

Most of these can be found online. You won't have to worry about locating these companies as they are advertising all the time. The popularity of MREs, especially in the public sector, has been growing for over a decade. There are many radio shows and social media sites that promote the need for having at least a month of food stocked up in case of emergencies. Therefore, many companies such as XMRE or Eversafe, to meet the demand, have been developed to keep up with all of the orders.

How To Store MREs To Improve Shelf-life

As with any type of food that is canned, or sealed in a flexible container, they need to be stored at a cool temperature to improve shelf-life. That is why so many people are going to place these in a basement area, a location where the contents are going to be relatively cool. One of the warnings that is often given to military personnel stationed in the desert areas is that the MREs can go bad after a few months. At temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, 60 days is the maximum time to consume the food even though it is vacuum sealed.

What Type Of Food Is Included With MREs

The type of food that is used will include meat, vegetables, and a wide variety of different desserts. The shelf-life of the beverages is much longer because they typically come in a powdered format. They have even started making kosher MREs, those that are designed for people that follow specific religious practices. These changes have been relatively recent, designed to accommodate those that would also like to feed their family in case of emergencies that cannot eat certain types of meat or vegetables at certain times of the year. One other concept to consider is that, if there is any leftover food, it should be refrigerated right away. The food inside will be bacteria free, but once it is open, and exposed to the air, the bacteria can then begin to move into the package. Most MREs come with a resealable package, and that makes it easy to keep everything fresh, even for a few more days. That is how are MRE meals made.