REI is selling Mountain House freeze dried food at 20% off in conjunction with their Fourth of July sale. I haven't had any freeze dried food in many years and wanted to try it out as potential food for my emergency stash. I live about 5 minutes from the Conshohocken, PA REI, so today I went over and bought three of their single-serving Pro-Pak meals. The Pro-Paks are vacuum-packed so that they don't take up too much room in a pack. Between the freeze drying and vacuum packing, they should last years.
I bought one each of the beef stroganoff, spaghetti with meat sauce, and scrambled eggs with ham and green and red peppers. I tried the beef stroganoff for lunch. To prepare it, you add 1.5 cups of boiling water to the Pro-Pak pouch, stir well, seal it, let sit for for about 8 - 9 minutes. You can then open it up, stir again, and eat it right from the pouch.
It was quite good. Surprisingly good for food that just got reconstituted. I am impressed. The 16 oz. size was perfect for me, enough to be filling but I'm not overstuffed. This particular meal has a total of 520 calories, 190 of which are from fat. It also has 1920mg of sodium, so people on special diets need to take note.
I see a few advantages of freeze dried meals:
1. LONG shelf life. I've seen some advertised with a 30 year shelf life. The beef stroganoff's pouch is stamped "best used by December 2013." AFAIK it'll be safe beyond that but the taste may deteriorate.
2. Lighter in weight than food which hasn't been dehydrated, e.g., cans or MREs.
3. Easy to prepare. Just add boiling water to the pouch, and wait about 10 minutes.
4. The pouch that it's packed in can be used to reconstitute and serve the food, then discarded. No need to wash dishes.
There are some cons:
1. High sodium content.
2. You have to provide water to reconstitute them.
3. Said water needs to be hot, preferably boiling, for the food to reconstitute in a reasonable amount of time. This means you need something to boil the water in, and something to heat it.
I am planning to pick up some more while it's still on sale.