DIY, long-term food

DIY – How to Make Your Own MREs At Home

REPOST – Thanks to “Jarhead Survivor” for this great idea!  I’m going to try my hand at this next week and will post my results!

This topic is hardly new among survivalists and campers, but when I sat down the other day to make some MRE’s for summer camping I thought I’d take a few pictures and share with you how I make mine.   I’m going to put a few of these in my bug-out-bag too, because at the moment I’ve just got some loose food items floating around in there and this method will help keep my pack organized.

For those of you who may not know MREs are handed out in the military and stands for Meal Ready to Eat.  Military MREs come with many different entrees and you can make yours the same way.  You’re limited only by your imagination.

The ones I put together here are pretty basic, but should give you a good idea of how to go about making your own.  To keep things neat and help them stay fresh for a long time I vacuum seal mine.  Some people will calculate the amount of calories for each meal and figure out exactly what they’re getting for protein, carbs, etc.  I don’t get that precise with my meals although it’s not a bad idea if you’re trying to figure out how much you should take on an extended trip.

For this set I used protein bars, crackers, Ramen Noodles, trail mix bars, fruit cups, coffee singles (2 per MRE), and I also put in a spoon, matches and a few paper towels to use as toilet paper or whatever.

Step 1 is to assemble the items you’d like to put in your MRE.  (Below)
Below you can see the device I use to vacuum pack my MREs.  This is a Seal a Meal that I bought at Target in the $60 range, if I remember correctly.
The bags I use are the continuous feed kind, so you have to seal one end first.  (Below)  You can buy individual bags too, but I vacuum seal meat and other things to freeze and like to have this kind of bag so that I don’t waste any more than I have to.
Put the end of the bag in the sealer (above), close the lid and hold it down until the “Sealing” light comes on and then turns off.  (Below.)  This becomes the bottom of the bag.
Next , put the items you want on top of the bag to measure how much you need to cut.  (Below.)
Put everything in the bag neatly.  Now put the end of the bag in the sealer and close the lid.  The vacuum sealer starts up and starts sucking the air out of the bag.
Below you can see the air starting to get sucked out.
Now you can see all the air finally removed from the meal.
Once  you have everything assembled it literally just takes minutes to prepare a bunch of meals for later use.
The last thing I do is put a date on the package so I’ll know what date they were prepared on.  I usually give them a two year expiration although I’m pretty sure they’d be good for a long time after that.

Other ideas I’ve had for these were to put in tuna packs and a single serving of mayo, plus nuts, prepackaged rice meals, a single serving of Gatorade or something along those lines.  I’ve also taken nuts and/or GORP and divided them out into baggies and put those in the meal.  I figured with the air removed they’d stay fresh for a long time even after they’ve been removed from the original packaging.

In my post about the Coffee Can Survival Kit I got some terrific feedback from you readers, so I thought I’d push my luck and see what you would put in your MREs.  Be creative, but keep in mind you’ll have to carry these meals when you’re hiking or bugging out, so you’ll want to keep them somewhat light.  In the pictures above you’ll see some canned stuff, which I don’t often do because they add a little extra weight.

So here’s my question:  What would you put in your MREs?
-Jarhead Survivor

long-term food, Product testing

Canned Butter?? Canned Cheese? Hmmm…..

A few months ago, I was browsing one of my favorite websites and came across some unique canned food items. Canning is nothing new, but this was the first time I had seen canned cheese and butter.

We tried the Bega Canned Cheddar Cheese, an Australian brand and H.J. Wisjman & Zonen Canned Dutch Salted Butter, hailing from the Netherlands.  Neither of these products needed refrigeration and both were reported to have a long shelf life.

I am a cheese LOVER and giving up cheese in the event of TEOTWAWKI was almost more than I could think about, so this discovery was very exciting!  Creamy real butter from a can sounded too good to be true but I was hopeful that this would be a great addition to my food supply.

My Brother & Sister-in-law came to visit at work today, so along with my parents, we sat down for lunch.  They were all thrilled to know that I intended to include them in the sampling of the cheese and butter.  My Brother, being an avid hiker & mountain climber, gave the first observation:  They are too heavy to carry in a backpack.  But, since my intention was for long-term storage on a shelf, I wasn’t too concerned about the weight.  The butter is about the size of a large tuna can & weighs in at 200 grams.  The cheese can is smaller and weighs a total of 113 grams.

The butter was the first to be opened and everyone agreed, it looked like butter.  My Dad immediately stuck his finger in the can for the taste test and announced that it did indeed taste like butter.  Other than being room temperature, we could tell no difference in taste or texture in comparison to the whipped butter you would find in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store.  I would give this product an A+ and plan on stocking at least a few cans for spreading.  Sprinkling powdered butter on bread vs spreading creamy butter on bread; I’ll take the creamy butter every time. 🙂

Although the cheese was labeled as being from Australia, the writing on it was Middle Eastern.  The ingredients are listed in English as well, so you know exactly what you are getting in the can.  Upon opening up the cheese, a combination of curiosity & a little apprehension was the overall first impression of our little test group.  The cheese was white & almost had a glossy sheen.  It had the look of a spreadable cheese but we were surprised to find that it had a very firm consistency.  When I tried to remove it from the can to “spread” some on a cracker, it only flaked off in small pieces.  The taste was very close to that of “Cheese Whiz” in the can but was firmer in texture.  Overall, I would give this product a B- for ease of use & texture and B+ for taste.  My Brother’s review was less forgiving; he said “it’s not gourmet cheese but would do if that’s all you had to eat” :-).  As for me, if I can’t find better canned cheese for the price, I’ll probably stick with the Bega. 

Both products can be purchased from  These items sell out often, so keep checking back with them if they are out of stock.

P.S. TEOTWAWKI = The End Of The World As We Know It