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Diy MREs #102000
01/28/2018 01:45 PM
01/28/2018 01:45 PM
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jhnc Offline OP
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Found this in a facebook group and thought I'd share it here.

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-MREsa-tutorial/

Edit to add:

If you don't have access to a vacuum sealer, simply zip the bag shut leaving about an inch unsealed. Submerge that bag in water until only the unzipped corner is exposed. Then finish zipping the bag. The water pressure will force the air out of the bag.


...
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #170966
07/19/2019 06:15 PM
07/19/2019 06:15 PM
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I did something similar last summer. I have Mylar bags, o2 absorbers, and a sealing machine for Mylar.

I assembled meals for 3x a day eating. Each includes condiments and sauces sides in addition to main course. Breakfast is very monotonous (oatmeal with dried fruit). One meal is a freeze dried mountain house main courses plus sides and condiments sealed in Mylar. Other one is very similar but homemade not freeze dried. Either red beans and rice, Mac/noodles/Vienna sausages, tuna noodles.

I have 4 days of these rations in both adult BoBs, and 3 in kids ones. Darn near fills main compartment of Alice medium rucks leaving little room for clothes and the like. Thinking of attaching MOLLE sustainment pouches to sides to clear up some room and make easier to access and use.


"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #170968
07/19/2019 06:42 PM
07/19/2019 06:42 PM
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I've experimented with making stews and drying them. It would work on a backpacking trip, I suppose - but you still have to bring the water to rehydrate it. I wish someone would come up with cans that are square, so they don't take up as much room in a backpack. Canned foods are heavier, but not by all that much.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Diy MREs [Re: airforce] #170969
07/19/2019 07:06 PM
07/19/2019 07:06 PM
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But spam is rectangular!😉

The foil tuna pouches are great! Get the ones that are packed in olive oil for added calories, fat (energy)... great for flavor. They pack flat which is nice.


"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #170970
07/19/2019 09:09 PM
07/19/2019 09:09 PM
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That's true - and believe me, Spam is a lot more profitable because of me. grin

I wish we can get more to follow suit. Backpacks just aren't made for round cans.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #170977
07/20/2019 04:51 PM
07/20/2019 04:51 PM
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I put together a one day ration as an experiment. It totaled 2365 calories and was pretty much ready to eat. Contents were
2 SPAM Slices (pouches)
Dried Apricots 6 Oz pouch
2 Tuna pouches
2 PopTarts
JIF To Go Peanut butter cup
Trailmix pouch
Cliff Bar
2 Chicken bouillon cubes
Chicken Noodle instant soup packet
4 drink packets
2 coffee packets
cost was around $12.60

Put it all in a larger size ziplock. Didn't have everything for a condiment pack which I would add: salt, pepper, TP, matches etc


TomPaine
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #170978
07/20/2019 05:36 PM
07/20/2019 05:36 PM
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In all honesty, I've never been a fan of the MRE's anyway. (I actually marveled that they could actually come up with something that made C-rations look good.) The best substitute I could come up with is a can of Dinty Moore beef stew, a can of generic fruit or fruit salad, and some peanut butter crackers wrapped in cellophane. Tastes good, quite filling, you don't have to add water, and they don't tie my insides into knots like MRE's do.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Diy MREs [Re: Huskerpatriot] #171120
08/07/2019 04:07 PM
08/07/2019 04:07 PM
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Rudy Offline
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Originally Posted by Huskerpatriot
But spam is rectangular!😉

The foil tuna pouches are great! Get the ones that are packed in olive oil for added calories, fat (energy)... great for flavor. They pack flat which is nice.


Tuna packed in oil doesn't freeze in winter either.

When the American site was up, I posted a long article on homemade MRE's. I'll see if I can find it again.


Rudy out
"Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Handgrenade is no longer our friend."
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #171121
08/07/2019 04:41 PM
08/07/2019 04:41 PM
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Homemade MRE’s
by Rudy


The prices of MRE’s at the local shows have risen to $10 each when you can find them. This is a high price to pay for a product that could be of questionable quality. I say questionable because we don’t know the storage history of the meal. If it was stored at a temperature over 90 degrees, it could be no longer edible, even if unexpired according to the date. There has to be an alternative available.

Dehydrated meals were not considered. While they offer long storage life, and ease of preparation, I wanted something that could be eaten with no preparation or the absolute minimal preparation. I set 5 minutes or less as my time from opening the package to my first bite.

I have found several products that are now packaged in foil pouches or sleeves just like the MRE’s.

It looks like I’ll need to build my own meals from products readily available from the local grocers. I set some requirements for any meals that I put together. Here is the list in order of priority.

1. ‘Ready to eat’ right out of the package. Conditions might be that I can’t make a fire, or I might be literally on the run. It should be able to be heated up in its package by boiling in water. I want any preparations to be as simple as possible.

2. No cans. The container must be lightweight, easy to open and take up little room when empty. I want to make it as difficult as possible for anyone tracking me. There is no sense in leaving a trail of garbage behind me.

3. Long shelf life. 3 years would be great, but I’d settle for 6 months if I have to.

4. No refrigeration.

5. 500-1000 calories per meal.

6. Each meal should contain a;
• Meat;
• Potatoes, rice or noodles;
• Vegetable or fruit;
• Desert;
• Vitamin;
• Drink.

I decided to start checking to see what was available. I have never purchased groceries at Wal-Mart, but while at a Super Wal-Mart, I noticed a package of precooked hamburger. (It is no longer available). The expiration date on the package was a year away. I started to look at other packages while I was there. I found 5 or 6 other packages of meat that had possibilities. Since then I have found several.
All of the packages stated ‘Refrigerate after opening’. I won’t have a way to keep an opened package from spoiling. It was because of this, I decided that once a package was opened, it should be consumed immediately. Now I will need to look at the serving size, along with the calories per serving. To make it easier, I now figured out the total calories per container rather than use the calories per serving. This seems to be more realistic for my purpose.

An issue that concerns me is the amounts of sodium used to preserve some of these products. I know that they use it as a cheap preservative. I found a Mountain House meal that contained 2200 mg of sodium. This much sodium has to cause a terrible thirst, a thirst in a stressful situation is extremely dangerous.

Main Entrée:

I went back to my regular grocery store and looked real close. In the canned meat section, I used to buy the roast beef and gravy for Y2K. There were now several choices in foil pouches. Some entrees were offered by up to 3 suppliers; For instance, chicken was offered by Tyson’s, Sweet Sue, and Jack Links. I found the following;

Ham, Sweet sue
Chicken, http://www.tyson.com/Recipes/Product/ViewProduct.aspx?id=101
Turkey, Sweet sue
Bacon, http://www.tyson.com/Recipes/Product/ViewProduct.aspx?id=207
Tuna, http://www.chickenofthesea.com/product_line_detail.aspx?did=4800009046
Oysters, http://www.chickenofthesea.com/product_line_detail.aspx?did=4800009106
Salmon, http://www.chickenofthesea.com/product_line_detail.aspx?did=4800009043
Clams, and http://www.chickenofthesea.com/product_line_detail.aspx?did=4800009103
Scrimp. http://www.chickenofthesea.com/product_line_detail.aspx?did=4800009107
Prime rib. http://www.linksnacks.com/Default.aspx
Sausage, http://www.linksnacks.com/Default.aspx
Spam, http://www.spamgift.com/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=1380

Ham, chicken, turkey, and Tuna were packaged either in 7-ounce or 2-ounce packages. The rest were 2 ounces only. They listed serving size at 3-3.5 per 7-ounce container, and 1-1.5 servings per 2-ounce container. Here again there is an exception. Bacon was a 2-ounce package, but was listed as 7-8 servings. I don’t call 2 strips of bacon a serving. There is no way that I’m going to call 2 ounces of Chicken breast a serving let alone a meal. The total calories per package were highest for the ham at 800 and 750 for the bacon down to 200 for the clams. It looks like a full 7-ounce package will be the main entrée. With all of these choices, it’s time to work on the sides.

Sides:

I am a meat and potatoes guy, and a very picky eater. Just ask my wife. There are 3 brands of precooked rice available. Rice-a-roni, Zatarain, Uncle Ben’s all are big names in the instant rice business. Each company offered at least 9 choices of flavored rice. Now these packages are advertized as microwaveable. The rice is actually reconstituted and precooked. The microwave merely reheats the meal. The same thing can be accomplished by dropping the bag into boiling water. I’ll need to experiment with these and see if MRE heaters will also work.

One sample that looks like it might be worth trying was the white rice with red beans.
An alternative is to cook and season your own rice, and then vacuum pack it. This is by far more economical. I am unsure how long the rice would stay safe to eat due to bacteria from any remaining air. The manufacturers use more powerful vacuums and more durable bags for packaging.

I sampled Zatarain’s long grain white rice. Unfortunately the package that I bought had expired by almost a month. It was pretty bland as is. I warmed it up in boiling water, and added 3 tablespoons of boiling water to the rice, along with a 7-ounce package of chicken breast. I managed to eat the whole thing while watching TV one night. It was 660 calories, extremely tasteful and very filling.

I also found 3 different brands of instant mashed potatoes. I have tried 2 of the brands, and found them to be flavorful and filling. It appears that I can add boiling water to the plastic bag and shake to mix. All gravy mixes that I found required boiling water and simmering.

Some times I feel like a peanut butter sandwich. There is no way that I’ll carry a jar into the field. I was surprised to find it in a squeezable tube; .9 ounces and 60 calories each. They also list a peanut butter and chocolate mix packed the same way. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m still looking. I’m looking for some sort of bread for the sandwiches. http://www.mtnhse.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=M&Product_Code=30584
No luck yet. When I was a teenager and backpacking, we ate pilot biscuits instead of bread. My searches have not been successful for them yet.


Rice-a-roni, http://www.ricearoni.com/rar_products/express/product.cfm?productid=60
Zatarain, http://shop.zatarains.com/zatarains®-readytoserve-yellow-rice-p-1564.html?=
Uncle Ben’s http://www.unclebens.com/rice/ready-rice-buttery-rice.aspx



Vegetables and/or fruit:

The only choice here seems to be dried. Our store carries 6-8 ounce packages of apricots, bananas, cherries, apples, and dates. Their private label didn’t have any nutritional information on them, so I’ll have to go with the name brands. There are always the raisins to fall back on. The packages did state that 1-1/2 to 2 oz. was considered a serving. This means that the fruits will have to be repacked into smaller airtight packages. If you have a vacuum packer, then it’s no problem.
I was hoping to find some beans or vegetables, but no such luck, yet.

Snacks:

These are going to have to be power bars or breakfast bars. I’ve tried the Cliff bars and another bar. They do give you a small burst of energy. My personal favorites are chocolate flavored bars. Although the chocolate seems to promote thirst, they are the better tasting ones in my opinion. I have tried the Kellogg’s Krave bars. They are 200 calories each. Not as chewy as some of the sports bars.
I also tried the cashew oats bars made by Nabisco. Excellent taste.

I also like to chew on beef jerky. It’s getting pretty expensive so I might not include it for every day.

I found the Jell-O pudding in a tube. They need refrigeration so they are for winter use only in my AO.

Since the old Hershey’s Tropical Chocolate Bars are no longer available, hard candies seem to be worth looking at. They don’t melt and might keep the thirst away for a short time. The survival tabs that are being sold are worth considering, as each one is about 20 calories. They are said to taste like a malted milk ball. They include some vitamins, and minerals. I would include them in a short term E&E kit.
Gorp or trail mix is especially high energy. Make your own according to what your own preference is. I like salted and shelled sunflower seeds, M&M’s, raisins and chocolate chips. I used to make up several 1 qt bags and munch from one each day.

Condiments:

This is where the fast food establishments will help. Every time that you stop at one, pick up an extra handful of their offerings. Hot sauce, sugar, creamer, ketchup, jelly and jam are all little treats that will bring a little bit of normalcy back into a stressful life.
Don’t forget the hand wipes. You don’t want to attract any small wild creatures to yourself.

Drinks

I have used powdered Gatorade in the past. It does replenish the minerals that you loose thru heavy perspiration. The selection of flavors is rather limited. We usually have a choice of only 2 or 3 flavors in this part of the country. There are similar products available now from different manufacturers. Squincher is one that comes to mind. Usually larger production facilities offer this to their employees during the hotter months. They might be a good source for these.
Kool-Aid is the old standby. It can cover up some pretty bad tasting water. Just remember to add any flavor to the water AFTER it has been treated properly.

Vitamins

I plan on including some very high potency vitamins to my kit. High stress will be a major factor while using my E&E kit. I like the idea that Stress Tab vitamins use. They include extra amounts of certain vitamins and minerals; vitamins and minerals that are usually lost at higher levels during stressful times. I am concerned about some reports that I’ve run across concerning the ability of a person’s body to absorb the vitamins when they are in tablet form. It seems that liquid form is the preferred form, followed by gellcaps.

Menus

After looking at all of the choices available, and making a complete list, it’s time to start preparing a menu. One from group A, one from group B, C, D, until you have enough meals for about 3-4 days. I make it a policy to have only 2 meals per day, usually something about an hour or two after hitting the trail, and then something towards late afternoon or early evening. Make one meal or two meals that require NO preparation. Keep these meals in reserve until you need them. I carry 2 meals in my BDU cargo pocket on my left leg.

I would suggest vacuum packing the dried fruits into smaller portions. Place each meal into a zip lock FREEZER bag. Freezer bags are usually twice as thick as a regular plastic bag. They can also double as an emergency water bladder. ½ gallon size bags can fit into the BDU pants cargo pockets. Include a Plastic spoon. I use one of the lexan spoons. That way I only have the one to worry about. Most others that I’ve tried usually break before I use them.
Here are some of the practices that I use to fill my E&E kit. I make a spreadsheet of the components. I then sit down and plan how many days I’ll be living out of the kit. I figure 2 meals a day that should get me near 2000 calories a day. Write out each meal and what is to be included in the meal. Purchase everything that you have planned on. Lay it all out on a table or flat surface and separate them into the meals. Do any repackaging that might need to be done. The dried fruit and trail mix are the ones that I do now. Now I place each meal into a freezer bag. I use the ½ gallon size. It is more bag than I need, it could double as a canteen.
I now make a reward bag or 2. These are quart bags or smaller that can have a treat in them. This is where I will put a small amount of jerky, or a special treat. I use this bag only when I have reached a special goal that I set for myself, such as reaching my retreat a day earlier than planned.
I currently use a CFP-90 backpack. I carry my E&E kit in the detachable daypack. My left cargo pocket on my BDU pants carries 2 ‘no prep’ meals. I double bag these to keep the integrity of the pouches.
The lower left cargo pocket on the jacket carries my trail mix. I can munch on it as I walk.

Conclusions

These homemade MRE’s could possibly be heavier than the civilian or military versions. It will all depend on how elaborate you want your meals to be. They will also be heavier than the freeze-dried meals that backpackers carry, but you will use less time in meal preparation. You will have meals that you like, and the portions will be larger. They will be foods that you are used to, so the change won’t be such a shock to your system.
Costs can be kept down below the cost of MRE’s and certainly below Freeze-dried meals. Plus you will have the added benefit that you know how these meals were stored, and how long they should last.


Sorry but the attached pictures didn't post.


TYSON CHICKEN BREAST in a foil pouch.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 oz. (56g)
Serv. Per Container 0.00 3.5
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70
Calories from Fat 15
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.5g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 210mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.










TYSON PRECOOKED BACON in a plastic pouch.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 Slices (15g)
Serv. Per Container 6.00
Amount Per Serving
Calories 90
Calories from Fat 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 2.5g 13%
Cholesterol 15mg 4%
Sodium 240mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 5g 9%
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.









ZATARAIN'S New Orleans Style YELLOW RICE

Serving Size: 1 cup

Servings Per Container: 1.5 Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories: 280
Calories from Fat: 35


Total Fat: 4g 6%


Saturated Fat: .5g 3%


Cholesterol: 0mg 0%


Sodium: 1290mg 54%


Total Carb: 55g 18%


Dietary Fiber: 1g 6%


Sugars: 1


Protein: 5g


Vitamin A: 4%


Vitamin C: 6%


Calcium: 15%


Iron: 15%


Organic: %




UNCLE BEN'S BUTTERY RICE.

Serving Size: 1 cup (159 g)
Servings Per Container: 2

Calories: 190
Calories from Fat: 5
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.5 g 7 %
Saturated Fat 0.5 g 3 %
Cholesterol 0 g 0 %
Sodium 850 mg 35 %
Total Carbs. 47 g 16 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 3 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 4 g


Rudy out
"Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Handgrenade is no longer our friend."
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #171123
08/07/2019 05:05 PM
08/07/2019 05:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
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airforce Online content
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This is a gold mine. Thanks!

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #171126
08/07/2019 06:35 PM
08/07/2019 06:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
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Yes... very good information with not only nutritional details, but also first hand reviews.

Mine are not that “ready to eat”... but all main courses require a canteen cup fire. Zaterans red beans and rice is a good one I included. I tried to include no-prep elements in each meal that could be consumed on the run, or stuffed in a pocket to be eaten on the run later. Cookies in a pouch, granola bars, dried fruit leather...

I would need to do a lot of math to calculate the nutritional data.

I packed mine in Mylar with O2 absorbers and they are being stored cool, dry and dark, so I’m curious how they will age as they are stored. I should really use some to see how they are now 1+ year later, and repack some new ones to restock.


"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #171142
08/09/2019 03:33 PM
08/09/2019 03:33 PM
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Rudy Offline
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I have a vacuum packer that I've used occasionally.


Rudy out
"Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Handgrenade is no longer our friend."
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #171143
08/09/2019 05:47 PM
08/09/2019 05:47 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
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Can you vacuum pack Mylar, with the O2 absorbers, or only the clear plastic?


"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)
Re: Diy MREs [Re: jhnc] #171163
08/12/2019 09:45 AM
08/12/2019 09:45 AM
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I don't know. I could give it a try. I've packed M16 and M1 carbine magazines for 20 years and they were just like new. I've packed BDU's with some pine needles and they were fine after 5 years. Full guns are rough. I learned the hard way not to oil them up and then pad sharp corners with Styrofoam. Oil and Styrofoam make an acidic goo that removes finishes.


Rudy out
"Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Handgrenade is no longer our friend."

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