Meals Ready-to-Eat, or mre, are a popular option for many who need to stock up on emergency food supplies, whether for a prolonged wilderness expedition or for use in disaster preparedness. The military has long relied on MREs for their soldiers in the field, but they’ve become increasingly available to the civilian market in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about MREs, including what they are, how long they last, and how to properly store and use them.
What are MREs?
MREs are self-contained, pre-packaged meals designed to be eaten on the go. They are constructed to be tough, portable and shelf-stable for up to several years in some cases. An MRE typically consists of an entrée (main dish), a side dish, some sort of dessert, a snack, and a beverage. MREs often come with varying contents depending on the product and some even have heaters to warm up the food. These meals come in a sturdy plastic packaging, which makes them waterproof, tamper-proof and easy to transport.
How Long Do MREs Last?
An MRE shelf life typically varies between 3-5 years depending on the temperature, humidity and storage conditions which makes them a great option for disaster preparedness kits. While MREs can technically last longer, this shelf life is a general recommendation as they may lose nutritional value over time. Individual components of the MRE can also change flavour, texture and/or smell over time.
How Should MREs Be Stored?
The manufacturer typically recommends keeping MREs within a temperature range of 60°F -100°F to ensure maximum shelf life. This temperature range is important because temperatures that are too cold will significantly impair the food’s quality and taste, while temperatures that are too hot will degrade the food’s nutritional value and also shorten its shelf life. You can store MREs in a backpack, basement, pantry, or just about any location that is dry and in the right temperature range. In the US humidity zaps shelf life faster than most anywhere so keep them in as dry a place as possible to ensure they last longer.
How to Eat an MRE
Eating MREs is relatively simple, as all of the utensils, plates, and napkins are included in the packaging. Just open up the MRE and unpack the contents. You can either eat it straight out of the package (cold) or use an MRE heater to warm up your food on the go. MRE heaters are perfect for cold weather because they don’t require an open flame. For the open flame, you can use any type as long as you ensure you don’t melt the plastic packaging. The water-activated heaters included in the MRE can also be used for other outdoor activities like camping, hiking or hunting.
MREs are an essential emergency food supply that can help you survive in difficult situations like natural disasters or if you are stranded far away from home. Understanding what MREs are, how they should be stored, and how long they last can help you plan, prepare, and stay safe should the need ever arise. Be smart, stay prepared, and consider adding MREs to your emergency preparedness kit today.