MREs vs Freeze Dried Foods: Which is Right for Your Food Storage?

  • 3 min read
Having food storage is a great way to help ensure that your family is safe in the event of a financial emergency, an economic crisis, or a natural disaster. As you build up your food storage, however, it can be tough to decide which types of items you'll need to purchase and keep on hand. While it's good to keep a large supply of fresh and canned food items on hand for short-term food storage, you'll also need to build up a stockpile of medium and long-term food storage. As you start to accomplish this goal, MREs and freeze-dried foods are excellent options to consider. Both have a relatively long shelf life and can help supplement what you keep on hand, however, each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Meals Ready to Eat (MRE)

MREs are manufactured for the U.S. military, but can sometimes be purchased at gun shows and military surplus stores. You can get some top quality brands such as XMRE, Eversafe or outdoor meals - Omeals based on the same technology in our store. These food items are only good for a specific amount of time, so if you choose to buy them as a food storage option, be sure that you check the date. Most are only good for three to five years if they are stored at temperatures under eighty degrees. This means that storing them at higher temperatures, such as those in the desert, can somewhat shorten their shelf life. Because these items are only good for a few years, they're best to incorporate into your food storage plan as a medium length food storage option, not as one to plan on lasting you for ten to twenty years. MREs each contain a full meal, consisting of an entree, a side, a bread, a drink, and a dessert. Each MRE comes in a pouch along with a water activated heater that doesn't produce a flame. These heaters allow you to warm the food in the pouch itself so that you have a warm, ready to eat meal in just a few minutes. The meals are typically sold in variety packs of assorted styles of meals, so it's best to mentally prepare for a variety of foods when you purchase a bulk package of MREs. A significant advantage of MREs is listed in their name - they're full meals, and they're ready to eat. You don't need to have access to pots and pans, clean drinking water, or a heat source in order to have a full meal if you've added MREs to your food storage. This makes these meals especially appropriate for situations such as civil unrest, natural disaster, long-term power outages, and other times where the grid may be disrupted for short or long periods of time.

Freeze Dried Foods

This type of food has been prepared and then freeze-dried. It has to be re-hydrated, then warmed if appropriate, before consuming. These types of foods usually have a shelf life of up to twenty years if they are stored appropriately, making them an excellent option for long-term food storage. Freeze dried foods usually come packaged in one of two ways, either as a single food or as a single dish. For example, one may purchase freeze dried cheddar cheese, or one may buy freeze-dried beef and noodles. The foods are usually sold in pouches or in large cans, depending on the quantity that you wish to purchase. You'll need a supply of clean drinking water as well as cooking and serving dishes in order to prepare and consume the food safely - this is one drawback that freeze-dried foods do have when compared to MREs. As you design a food storage plan for your family, it's vital that you choose a variety of foods that can be stored for varying lengths of time. This way, you won't have to worry about a situation where all of your storage disappears too quickly, you can't prepare any food at all, or someone has a reaction to an ingredient in food that you've stored and therefore cannot eat anything. Instead, variety allows you to ensure that everyone is safe and their health is protected for the long term, no matter the situation that you find yourself in. In order to make sure everyone's safe and content, evaluate your food storage options carefully and rotate them frequently.