DIY Survival: Make MRE’s (Meal Ready to Eat) At Home

DIY MRE, Meal Ready to Eat, Military, Survival, Preppers, Disaster Food, Do It Yourself, preparedness


MRE. Meal Ready to Eat. The MRE is a meal developed by the Department of Defense to sustain military personnel during combat. MRE’s have become popular with preppers because they are quick, cheap, easy to store and have a shelf life of several years.  You don’t have to be a prepper to take advantage of the convenience of an MRE. They’re good for camping, hiking, kids backpacks, emergency bags, emergency snacks for the car.

To qualify as an MRE, the meal has to be self-contained and only require water and heat for preparation. Frequently military MRE’s have a “flameless ration heater” (FRH). The FRH is a single use water-activated exothermic chemical heater.

Online and at military surplus stores, MRE’s cost between $8.00 and $15.00. The good news is, you can make an MRE at home, for about $4.00 each. The advantage of making MRE’s at home is that you control what goes in them. Vacuum packing them extends the shelf life.

Typically, an MRE may contain:

Main course (entree)
Side dish
Dessert or snack (often commercial candy, fortified pastry, or Soldier Fuel Bar.)
Crackers or bread
Spread of cheese, peanut butter, or jelly
Powdered beverage mix: fruit flavored drink, cocoa, instant coffee or tea, sport drink, or dairy shake.
Utensils (usually just a plastic spoon)
Flameless ration heater (FRH)
Beverage mixing bag

Accessory pack:

Xylitol chewing gum
Water-resistant matchbook
Napkin / toilet paper
Moist towelette
Seasonings, including salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, and/or Tabasco sauce

One piece of advice when making your own MRE, be sure to look at the expiration dates on food to make sure there’s a minimum of a 3 year shelf life.

DIY MRE, Meal Ready to Eat, Military, Survival, Preppers, Disaster Food, Do It Yourself, preparedness

From Wikipedia:

In 1963, the Department of Defense began developing the “Meal, Ready to Eat” (MRE), a ration that would rely on modern food preparation and packaging technology to create a lighter replacement for the canned Meal, Combat, Individual ration. In 1966, this led to the Long Range Patrol, or LRP ration, a dehydrated meal stored in a waterproof canvas pouch. However, just as with the Jungle ration, its expense compared to canned wet rations, as well as the costs of stocking and storing a specialized field ration, led to its limited usage and repeated attempts at discontinuance by Quartermaster Command officials. In 1975, work began on a dehydrated meal stored in a plastic retort pouch. It went into special issue starting in 1981 and standard issue in 1986, using a limited menu of twelve entrées.

The MRE has been in continual development since 1993. In an array of field tests and surveys, service members requested more entrée options and larger serving sizes. By 1994, commercial-like graphics were added to make the packets more user-friendly, while biodegradable materials were introduced for inedible components, such as spoons and napkins.

Each meal provides about 1,200 Calories (1,200 kcal or 5,000 kJ). They are intended to be eaten for a maximum of 21 days (the assumption is that logistics units can provide superior rations by then), and have a shelf life of three years (depending on storage conditions).[8]

Packaging requirements are strict. MREs must be able to withstand parachute drops from 380 metres (1,250 ft), and non-parachute drops of 30 metres (98 ft). The packaging is required to maintain a minimum shelf life of three and a half years at 27 °C (81 °F), nine months at 38 °C (100 °F), and short durations from −51 °C (−60 °F) to 49 °C (120 °F) must be sustainable.

General contents may include:

 

Main course (entree)
Side dish
Dessert or snack (often commercial candy, fortified pastry, or Soldier Fuel Bar.)
Crackers or bread
Spread of cheese, peanut butter, or jelly
Powdered beverage mix: fruit flavored drink, cocoa, instant coffee or tea, sport drink, or dairy shake.
Utensils (usually just a plastic spoon)
Flameless ration heater (FRH)
Beverage mixing bag

Accessory pack:

Xylitol chewing gum
Water-resistant matchbook
Napkin / toilet paper
Moist towelette
Seasonings, including salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, and/or Tabasco sauce

Many items are fortified with nutrients. In addition, DoD policy requires units to augment MREs with fresh food and A-rations whenever feasible, especially in training environments.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meal,_Ready-to-Eat

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flameless_ration_heater