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DIY MREs: Create Your Own Meals Ready to Eat!

Are you looking to ensure your food security or just want a customized meal option for your outdoor adventures? Making MREs at home is a practical approach to preparedness and personalized nutrition.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through creating cost-effective, tailor-made MREs that match your dietary preferences while offering convenience during emergencies or backcountry trips.

Dive in to discover the art of assembling your very own ready-to-eat meals—and who knows, it could be easier than you think!

Key Takeaways

  • Homemade MREs allow for complete customization of meals to suit personal tastes, dietary needs, and ensure food safety with preservative methods like vacuum sealing.
  • DIY MRE components should focus on being lightweight for easy transport and include a balance of high-calorie foods such as instant rice, dehydrated fruits, nuts, jerky, and protein bars.
  • When creating your own MREs, consider using freeze – dried foods and dehydration techniques to extend the shelf life without compromising on nutrition or taste.
  • Vacuum sealing is key in packaging DIY MREs; it protects against bacteria, maximizes space efficiency, and prolongs shelf life significantly.
  • Including a mix of heat-and-eat meals alongside ready-to-eat options provides convenience in various circumstances while ensuring access to nutritious food.

The Benefits of DIY MREs

Crafting your own MREs at home brings several advantages, particularly the ability to tailor meals to personal tastes and dietary requirements. You gain control over portion sizes, ingredients, and flavors, creating a meal that’s as enjoyable as it is nourishing.

Homemade MREs empower you with choice—there’s no need to settle for pre-packed options that might contain unwanted preservatives or allergens.

Another upside of DIY MREs is the cost-effectiveness. Making meals ready to eat from scratch often results in savings compared to purchasing fully assembled military rations or commercial alternatives.

Moreover, using home vacuum sealing equipment extends the shelf life of your food without compromising its taste or nutritional value. This approach also allows you to leverage bulk buying and use ingredients from your stockpile effectively, reducing waste while ensuring you have access to high-quality emergency food whenever needed.

Key Considerations for DIY MREs

When crafting your own MREs, it’s essential to strategically consider their overall weight and the implications for long-term consumption. These factors directly influence not only the practicality of carrying them during travel or emergencies but also the sustainability of relying on them as a food source over extended periods.

Weight of MRE Foods

Keeping MRE foods lightweight is crucial for ease of transportation, especially in situations where mobility is key. Select food items that offer high calories per ounce to maximize energy without adding unnecessary bulk.

Instant rice, dehydrated fruits, and nuts are ideal choices because they provide substantial nourishment while remaining compact and light. Consider the total calories you need to consume and choose foods accordingly.

Portable heaters or flameless ration heaters can be used to warm up the prepacked meals without carrying extra weight from conventional cooking equipment. Opting for mylar bags can help reduce the overall heft since they’re lighter than cans or jars and still provide excellent protection against spoilage.

Next, think about long-term consumption when planning your DIY MREs to ensure a balanced diet over time.

Long Term Consumption

Long term consumption of DIY MREs requires careful planning to ensure food safety and adequate nutrition. One must consider preservative methods that extend shelf life while maintaining the integrity and edibility of the meals.

Sealed packaging, for instance, can protect foods from oxygen and contaminants, which helps prevent spoilage. High-fat content in some components may pose a risk over many months or years as fats tend to go rancid; thus selecting ingredients with stable shelf lives is crucial.

Specially manufactured MREs use retort packaging and other preservation techniques to achieve long shelf stability under various conditions. Mimicking these conditions at home means perfecting dehydration processes and possibly using vacuum sealers for airtight storage.

It’s important to use food-grade materials that do not react negatively with your meals over time, ensuring they remain safe to eat even when stored without refrigeration.

What Should Go Into a DIY MRE?

When crafting a DIY MRE, selecting the right components is crucial to achieve both nutritional balance and longevity. The ideal selection will cater to daily caloric needs while ensuring that each meal remains safe and palatable over extended periods, ready to provide sustenance in any situation without immediate access to fresh provisions.

Breakfast and Snacks

Starting your day in a survival situation with a nutritious breakfast boosts your energy levels and sharpens your focus. Snacks maintain your stamina throughout the day, making them essential components of any DIY MRE.

  • Oatmeal packets can be quickly prepared with hot water and are rich in fiber, providing sustained energy.
  • Instant coffee offers a caffeine boost to kickstart the morning and can double as a comforting warm drink during colder conditions.
  • Apple butter pairs well with hardtack or crackers for a sweet addition to your meal with the taste of home-cooked food.
  • Jerky is an excellent protein-rich snack that is light to carry and has an extended shelf life due to its low water activity.
  • Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats, proteins, and essential nutrients that help keep you full and energized.
  • Protein bars make convenient on-the-go snacks; choose ones high in calories per meal to fuel long treks or intense activities.
  • Trail mix combines dried fruits like raisins or sultanas with peanuts or almonds for quick energy bites that satisfy both hunger and tastebuds.
  • Dried apples offer natural sweetness, vitamins, and they rehydrate well if desired, making them both versatile and delicious.
  • Hard candies can give you a quick sugar rush when needed but remember to opt for sugar – free versions if managing dietary concerns.
  • Fruit leather is easy to eat on the move; it provides simple carbohydrates for rapid energy without the mess of fresh fruit.

Heat-and-Eat Meals

Heat-and-Eat meals are a staple in the world of DIY MREs for their convenience and ease of preparation. These ready-made dishes require minimal effort, making them ideal for situations where time and resources are limited.

  • Opt for fully cooked food options like stews, pasta, or rice dishes that only need reheating before consumption.
  • Include entrees that have been canned, which can extend the shelf life significantly.
  • Pack solid fuel tablets along with your meal to ensure you have a heating source in environments where fire is not feasible.
  • Choose meals with high – fat content as these provide dense energy and help preserve the food itself.
  • Add heat – resistant pouches alongside your canned foods to make it easier to warm up without extra packing equipment.
  • Utilize retort packaging methods if possible to maintain flavor and nutrition while ensuring shelf stability under extreme weather conditions.
  • Select meals that taste good both hot or cold since you may not always have the option to heat them.

Ready to Eat Meals

Moving from meals that require heating to options that are good to go, ready-to-eat meals (RTEs) offer unparalleled convenience. These meals are perfect for situations where time is of the essence or cooking facilities are not available.

  • Choose foods with a naturally long shelf life and minimal spoilage risk, like those used by military personnel in MREs.
  • Packets of oatmeal provide quick breakfast options without the need to heat water.
  • Tuna pouches serve as an excellent protein – rich lunch or snack and don’t require refrigeration.
  • Protein bars can be a great source of energy and can easily fit into any MRE kit.
  • Cup of Soup packets are lightweight, simple to prepare with hot water, and offer a variety of flavors.
  • Include ramen noodles for a satisfying main meal that’s both familiar and filling.
  • Rice and beans cater to dietary needs providing essential carbohydrates and proteins while being easy to carry.
  • Pulled barbecue pork packets add delectable diversity without the need for preservation techniques like freezing or canning.
  • Spam singles bring savory meats into your food variety without the weight of cans or jars.
  • Consider adding items like Liquid IVs to ensure hydration alongside your nutrient intake.

High Protein Lunches

Packing your homemade MREs with high-protein lunches ensures you get the necessary energy and muscle recovery, especially in emergencies or outdoor activities. Including high-protein foods with long shelf lives is both practical and beneficial for these meal kits.

  • Select lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or beef jerky to provide a robust source of protein that will keep you full and energized. Vacuum seal these items to maintain their freshness and extend their shelf life.
  • Incorporate hard cheeses or packs of nut butters which offer both protein and healthy fats; they are durable and can withstand temperature changes without spoiling.
  • Choose tuna or salmon pouches; these fish varieties are not only rich in protein but also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids and can last a long time without refrigeration.
  • Add packets of protein bars or homemade trail mix containing nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to your MRE for a quick, nutritious snack that’s easy to carry.
  • Consider preparing dried bean soups or lentil stews; once dehydrated, they become lightweight, space-saving options that rehydrate into hearty, protein-packed meals.
  • Pack quinoa salads with vegetables; when vacuum – sealed, these dishes stay fresh longer and serve as excellent vegetarian high protein lunches.
  • Use freeze – dried meats like diced chicken or ground beef; after rehydration, they’re comparable to freshly cooked meat in both texture and nutritional value.
  • Include hard-boiled eggs coated in a thin layer of oil for extra preservation; despite being perishable relative to other options, they remain shelf-stable for a surprisingly significant period when prepared correctly.
  • Add foil-packed hot dogs with minimal preservatives like sodium nitrite; while not as long-lasting as other options, they still work well within shorter-term DIY MRE plans.

Methods of Preparing MREs

Assembling your own MREs involves various preparation techniques that can significantly extend the shelf life and convenience of your meals. From leveraging bulk purchases to integrating advanced food preservation methods like freeze-drying and vacuum packing, these strategies are critical in creating ready-to-eat meals that can withstand the rigors of time and environment while keeping you nourished on the go.

Using Your Stockpile

Dive into your stockpile to create custom MREs that cater to your taste and nutritional needs. Select food items like jerky and dehydrated fruits, which not only provide energy but also last a long time without refrigeration.

Combine these with vacuum-sealed packets of proteins such as tuna or chunks of chicken for an easy, high-protein meal component. Don’t forget to toss in some nuts and seeds for healthy fats and add granola bars for a quick snack.

Keep your meals diverse by including instant soup mixes or rice porridge that just need hot water to turn into a comforting main dish. For hydration, powdered drink mixes are essential; they take up minimal space and can instantly flavor your water.

Be sure the foods you choose require minimal prep time — ideally heating within 1-2 minutes — making them perfect for quick refueling during bugout situations or outdoor adventures.

Use your vacuum sealer on hand to package these food combinations tightly, ensuring freshness and extending their shelf life significantly.

Purchasing from Supermarket

Moving from the resources you already have at home, supermarkets offer a wide array of items suitable for your DIY MRE creation. Many essential ingredients boast impressive shelf lives that are perfect for long-term storage and use in meal prep.

For instance, instant white rice can last 4 to 5 years while egg powder boasts an up to 25-year lifespan. These items form a sturdy foundation for meals that need just a bit of water or heat to spring back to life.

Shopping with DIY MREs in mind means selecting foods designed for longevity and convenience, such as freeze-dried meats with a shelf life extending up to 15 years and dehydrated meat flakes good for about one year.

Be sure also to pick up powdered cheese which remains flavorful for 3 to 5 years, or pouches of tuna offering protein-rich options lasting around three years without spoilage—ensuring that each component contributes not only nutrition but stability too.

Dehydrating Foods

Dehydrating fruits and vegetables turns them into convenient, shelf-stable components for your MREs. This method reduces the water content in foods, making them lighter and perfect for on-the-go nutrition where heating might not be an option.

You can dehydrate almost anything—slice apples, tomatoes, or berries thinly and let a food dehydrator do its magic. These dried goodies retain much of their original vitamins and minerals, providing you with essential nutrients without the extra weight.

To ensure taste is not compromised, experiment with various seasoning techniques before dehydrating your produce. Your homemade MREs can then boast both flavor and convenience. Just pack these dried morsels alongside other meal components; they’re ready to eat as is or reconstituted with a bit of water.

Next up: Canning Meals will take your DIY MRE game to another level by adding variety and longevity to your meals on the move.

Canning Meals

Canning meals offers a great way to ensure your homemade MREs remain safe and shelf stable for an extended period. This process involves sealing cooked food in jars or cans and then heating them to destroy microorganisms that can spoil the food.

Properly canned foods maintain their quality for years, making them ideal for MREs that need to last through any situation.

Choose a variety of hearty soups, stews, or other entrées that can be quickly reheated over a camp stove or even eaten cold if necessary. Be sure your chosen recipes are suitable for canning; some ingredients may not hold up well through the preservation process.

Once sealed and stored in cool conditions, these canned meals will be ready whenever you are – no refrigeration required! Now let’s look into another reliable method: freeze-drying food.

Freeze-drying Food

Freeze-drying food transforms your surplus produce, meats, and full meals into long-lasting components of your DIY MREs. This method not only preserves the flavor and nutritional value but also significantly reduces the weight, making it a practical choice for meals that cannot be heated.

By using a freeze dryer, moisture is removed from foods at low temperatures in a vacuum chamber; this locks in taste while assuring an extended shelf life. With freeze-dried foods included in your MREs, you add variety without the bulkiness of traditional canned goods.

Incorporating these lightweight options into your homemade MRE kits means you’ll have access to fruits, vegetables, and complete dishes that retain nearly all their original freshness upon rehydration.

Unlike dehydrated foods which can sometimes lose texture or taste, freeze-dried ingredients help maintain meal quality over time – essential when quick preparation is needed under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Having a deep pantry full of diverse freeze-dried selections ensures that each MRE can offer balanced nutrition alongside desirable flavors irrespective of where you find yourself enjoying them.

Packaging and Heating Your DIY MREs

Proper packaging ensures your DIY MREs remain fresh and are easy to transport. Heating options should be considered to allow for a warm meal when you’re on the move.

  • Select materials like polyethylene bags for their durability and ability to seal out moisture, which is crucial for prolonging the shelf life of your MRE contents.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to remove air from your packages, minimizing the space they take up and protecting against bacteria and freezer burn if stored cold.
  • Incorporate oxygen absorbers or desiccants into your packages; these help maintain food quality by removing any residual moisture or oxygen.
  • Plan meals so that foods requiring less water and lower heating times are included, optimizing fuel usage when it’s time to eat.
  • Explore lightweight stoves that are portable and efficient, ensuring you can heat water or cook even in remote locations without access to conventional kitchens.
  • Pack chemical heating pads for situations where an open flame isn’t possible, allowing you to have hot food in environments where fires are prohibited or pose risks.
  • Consider items like precooked rice pouches or pasta that rehydrate quickly with just hot water, cutting down on preparation time while still providing sustenance.
  • Choose snacks and side dishes that can be eaten as is or warmed up easily with body heat in pockets if necessary, offering flexibility during various conditions.
  • If using freeze – dried foods, ensure you have access to clean water sources as they will require rehydration before consumption; include plans for water filtration if needed.
  • Take care not to over pack each meal—keeping portions reasonable avoids unnecessary weight and preserves space for essential tools like utensils or compact stoves.

Final Touches for Your DIY MREs

After securing your meals in durable packaging, it’s time to add the final touches that bring convenience and comfort to your DIY MREs. Consider tossing in a small packet of condiments or spices – these can greatly enhance the flavor of your meal with minimal effort.

Ensure each pack includes utensils; a lightweight spoon or fork can make all the difference when you’re ready to eat.

Keep an eye on expiration dates for each component added. Replace items like crackers, nuts, or chocolate as needed to maintain freshness. Finally, label each MRE with its contents and the packing date so you always know what you’re grabbing and how long it’s been stored.

These simple steps ensure enjoyable and hassle-free dining experiences during any adventure.

Conclusion and FAQ’s

Crafting your very own MREs can be a rewarding venture, offering both cost savings and personalized meal planning. You’ll gain control over nutritional content, ensuring each pack meets your specific dietary needs.

Imagine the convenience of grab-and-go meals tailored for any situation, whether you’re camping or preparing for emergencies. With a vacuum sealer and carefully chosen ingredients, you create meals that sustain freshness and taste over time.

Encourage yourself to experiment with different foods and preparation methods; this journey is as much about discovery as it is about readiness. Let the practice of making DIY MREs empower you to be proactive in managing your sustenance on your terms.

1. What are MREs and can I make them at home?

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are easy-to-prepare meals that many nations’ militaries use. Yes, you can make homemade MREs with a few supplies from your local grocery store.

2. What do I need to create my own DIY MREs?

To make your own MREs, gather freeze-dried foods, include a small stove if possible, and have materials like polyester bags ready for packaging.

3. How long will my homemade MREs last?

Homemade MREs have varying shelf-lives but including freeze-dried ingredients can extend their usability just like non-military versions of the meal.

4. Can freeze driers be used when making DIY MRE’s at home?

Absolutely! Using a freeze drier is an excellent way to prepare and sterilize food for DIY MRE’s ensuring they stay preserved longer.

5. Do I need special equipment to make my own MRE’s?

While specialized equipment like a freeze drier helps in creating longer-lasting meals, it’s also possible to make simple homemade versions of an MRe with basic kitchen tools.

6. Where can I find recipes or ideas on what to include in my personalizedmre’s?

Recipes and suggestions for your personally-tailored mres could often be found online; consider checking out relevant guides or as an Amazon Associate you may earn from qualifying purchases of recipe books available through their platform.

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Matt New

Living off-grid since 2012 with my wife Amy and dog MJ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Co-creater of the award winning Fusion Home.

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