Before you let some salesman in your house to sell you on a whole year of freeze dried food OR before you stop by the army surplus store and drive out with a semi full of MRE’s AND before you bust out your mother-in-law’s dehydrator and start dehydrating everything you see – STOP and take a look at the pros and cons of each of these different food storage solutions.
Your food storage will be the most expensive part of your emergency preparedness so don’t waste money on anything you don’t want or need. So take a look at this simple and direct list of reasons for and against all three major long term food storage.
- Extremely low moisture
- Extremely lightweight
- The longest shelf life of the three – approx. 25-30 years
- Reconstitutes quickly
- Retains shape, texture, color and flavor after reconstitution
- The optimal way of storing meat
- Extensive variety
- The most expensive food storage solution
- WATER NEEDED – You will need to add a significant amount of water to your storage if a bulk of your emergency food is freeze dried
- Low moisture
- Second longest shelf life – approx. 7-10 years
- Not Easily Spoiled
- Extensive variety
- Best bargain for food storage
- Requires water to prepare
- Extended reconstitution period
- Some taste is lost in reconstitution
- Dehydration can strip food of some nutritional elements
- No visual appeal – Sometimes it no look so good
MREs – Meal Ready to Eat
- Ready to eat without any preparation
- No water needed
- Easily heatable
- No mixing, blending, boiling, etc.
- Don’t taste very good – my opinion
- Limited variety – No separate ingredients. Only complete entrees.
- Artificial additives in many recipes
- Expensive per ounce of food
- Not very filling
- Entrees alone with not provide sufficient nutritional value for a meal
- Packaging susceptible to puncture
- Heavy in large quantities
- Shortest shelf life – about 4 years if stored at 70℉
In summary, Freeze dried food is optimal if you have a larger budget and the excess water you need to reconstitute it. If you are on a lower budget and still want the variety of freeze dried foods minus some of the taste and nutrients – go with dehydrated. And finally, MREs are good for short term food planning (72 hour kits) but outside of that offer limited variety and even more limited nutrition and taste.
I personally do not have MRE’s as part of my emergency preparedness but I know plenty of people that use them for short term food storage. Outside of basic commodities and canned goods I have a decent balance between both freeze dried and dehydrated foods.
I believe that dealing with an emergency is just as much mental as it is physical, so make sure the food you are storing is food you enjoy eating at the present time. If your whole world is falling apart in front of you, your food might be the only thing that makes life still feed somewhat normal. Prepare to give your family that normalcy with your food storage. Choose wisely and happy prepping!