A Freeze Dried Meal For Backpacking
I can live on almost anything while backpacking in the wilderness. My issue is I do not consider candy and granola bars meals. I have eaten enough mashed potatoes and instant noodles to last at least three or four lifetimes.
I usually pack something fresh to take along, but it never lasts for long. I started trying the freeze-dried meals I keep seeing because they are individually packaged. Overall, I was not impressed.
Once I discovered Mountain House Food, everything changed. The meals are amazing. Initially, I was slightly put off by the price, but once I tried them I knew the food was worth every penny.
I also discovered I could buy the cans. I simply portion everything out before I hit the trails. Somehow, I never seem to have any extra no matter how much I pack. All I can tell you is if you enjoy delicious meals, try Mountain House.
Freeze-dried meals are fast and easy. All you have to do is put a pot of water on the fire, pour the bag in and wait approximately 10 minutes. The aroma will grab your attention, but the taste will keep you coming back for more.
The Variety of Mountain House Food
I usually go hiking with a small group of friends, and all of us have different preferences. One of the best parts of Mountain House is the variety. I prefer meat, my best friend loves macaroni and cheese and my daughter is a vegetarian.
My favorite meals are lasagna with meat sauce, teriyaki chicken and spaghetti with meat sauce. When you make your purchase, you will see Pro-Paks and pouches. The Pro-Paks will not expand at higher altitudes because they are vacuum-sealed.
The pouches have more food, so what you buy depends on your appetite. I have a bigger appetite, so I always buy the pouches. The nutritional facts and calories are right on each pouch, so you know what you are getting.
I was excited when I found out three new flavors were released this year, Italian style pepper steak, chicken fried rice and biscuits and gravy. There are also new clean label items including:
• Pad Thai and chicken
• Breakfast skillet
• Yellow curry and rice with chicken
• Beef stroganoff
• Spicy Southwest breakfast hash
• Bacon and eggs
• Ice cream sandwiches with mint chocolate chip
• Chicken and rice
You need to read the instructions because every package is slightly different. I added the wrong amount of water once and ended up with a soup. I was still good, just not what I was expecting.
I use a little measuring cup I got with my cooking set, but you can also use your water bottle. Preparing the food is fast and easy. You can use a camp stove or an open fire. Open the pack, pour in your boiling water, stir, then reseal.
Make sure you take out the oxygen absorber before you add the water. Within minutes, you have a delicious hot meal. Cleanup is a snap. Fold up your pouch, then tote it out in your trash bag.
The Sensational Flavors
Biscuits and Gravy: My new favorite is biscuits and gravy. I never enjoyed eggs in the past because packing a skillet to cook powdered eggs does not work for me. This is one of the tastiest breakfasts I have ever tried.
There are fluffy pieces of buttermilk biscuits, and gravy made with pork sausage. Not only do I enjoy this meal for breakfast, but I find it makes a flavorful and filling dinner as well.
Chicken Fried Rice: The texture and flavor of this entree are excellent. You will enjoy the chicken, long-grain rice, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, carrots, peas and scrambled eggs. My best friend declared this one her favorite.
Italian Style Pepper Steak: This pouch included pepper steak, long-grain rice, yellow, green and red peppers, tomatoes and onions. The steak was surprisingly tender for a freeze-dried meal. I like to add hot sauce for any extra burst of flavor.
Breakfast Skillet: The breakfast skillet is ideal for a burst of energy in the morning. The mixture of sausage, eggs, vegetables and eggs was perfect. The flavor is sensational.
Classic Flavors: I really like the Mountain House classics. Some of our favorites include:
• Beef stroganoff
• Pasta primavera
• Chicken and rice
• Beef stew
I am the type of person that enjoys a nice light dessert at the end of the day. Mountain House did not let me down with a good variety including:
• Apple crisp
• Neopolitan ice cream
• Ice cream sandwiches
Since I do have a larger appetite, I found a way to decrease my cost. I purchase all of my meals in bulk. There is a meal bucket that includes 12 meals. Not only do I save money, but I get to enjoy my favorite meals.
Mexican-Style Chicken and Rice: This is my go-to meal when I am really hungry. The aroma is delightful, and I can smell the chicken, olives and beans while my dinner is cooking. The sauce is tangy, and the chicken nice and tender.
Apple Crisp: When I was a kid, my mom made apple crisp for dessert every Sunday. No, this is not the same as homemade, but I was surprised because it is close. The aroma reminded me of my mom’s version when it first came out of the oven.
Although it is good by itself, I like putting ice cream on top. The apples, brown sugar and granola mix beautifully, and I can smell it for hours after I am done eating. If you enjoy dessert as much as I do, this one is a must-try.
Lasagna with Meat Sauce: I tried this one because I love lasagna. I did not really expect it to be good. Once again I was surprised. I have ordered lasagna in restaurants that were not as good as this dish.
I have no idea how this meal came so close to the taste and texture of homemade, but it did. The chunks of pasta are tasty and very tender. Be careful how much water you use because this was the dish I turned into soup.
The flavors of beef, tomato and cheese are perfectly balanced for a taste everyone but the vegetarian loves.
Fire Roasted Vegetables: Even though I love meat, I really enjoy this dish every once in a while. I like adding tomato soup to the vegetables to appease my appetite. My vegetarian friend declared this one a winner.
He said he is usually disappointed in the taste of freeze-dried vegetables, but that this one actually had flavor. He enjoys this entree at least three or four times every time we god hiking.
Chicken a la King and Noodles: This dish made my top five. The flavor is incredible, with just the right balance of heartiness and taste. This is not one of the best looking meals, but the taste more than makes up for the appearance.
You would think by now I would be used to tender meat, yet I am surprised almost every time. Each bag has three servings, so you do not want to make it for just yourself. Even I am unable to eat that much.
Once I went hiking with just my best friend. We figured after all the exercise we could finish this dish easily. The bad news is we were wrong. The good news is tasted just as good for breakfast the next morning.
The History of Mountain House
Mountain House originated as Oregon Freeze Dry during the 1960s. The company provided dehydrated fruit for kid’s cereals. It was not until they started working with the Department of Defense that freeze-dried meals were developed.
The company wanted to provide soldiers with something tasting better than the standard dehydrated foods. The meals were ideal because the preparation was so easy. There were entrees for breakfast lunch and dinner available.
The company now offers desserts and sides, vegetarian dishes, low sodium meals and gluten-free entree. There are a wide range of sizes and flavors for every diet and appetite. The meals are filling and easy to make.
I like packing freeze-dried foods because they do not weigh down my pack. The nutritional value, color, aroma and flavors are on point. The size of the packs enables me to save valuable space.
I enjoy the zip lock because there have been times I was too tired to eat much, Saving the leftovers is easy, and because of the seal I do not end up with any unexpected and unwanted wildlife in my camp.
Do not forget to take out the oxygen absorber before rehydrating your meal. I have forgotten a few times, but as long as you do not eat it you are still okay. The cans have a shelf life of 25 years, and the pouches are good for 10 years.
The shelf life of the ice cream is only two years, but they never last for more than a few months. I have a terrible sweet tooth. You need to store your packs in a dry, cool area. You also have a choice of sizes.
The Pro-Pak is a vacuum-sealed pouch with a smaller meal of two cups. The standard size provides you with two and one-half cups, and you get five cups with the family size. The latter includes two pouches you can split for separate meals.
Preparing Your Meals
Every package has easy to follow instructions on the back. You add your boiling water to the package, let sit for approximately 10 minutes, then enjoy. The amount of water required is different for each meal.
The vegetables need one cup of water, the standard size two, and the Pro-Pak one and one-half. If you have to use cold water, you can. You will need to wait twice as long for your meal to rehydrate, but the taste is still good.
Remember your food is heating with boiled water in the package. For this reason, I recommend holding the package from the very top or the bottom.
Pros and Cons:
• Wide diversity of meals, desserts, snacks and options
• All orders a minimum of $99 receive free shipping
• Packaging is resealable
• Easily prepared by adding boiling water
• Grams per serving and nutritional information are on the package
• Good selection of specialty signature entrees
• Shelf life guaranteed according to each meal
• The pricing is reasonable
• Most meals do not contain nuts
• Easy to pack and lightweight
• Excellent flavor and texture
• Shelf life taste guarantee for 30 years
• Only ships to the United States
• Care must be taken when preparing due to the boiled water in the package
• Strict return policy
The Bottom Line For Mountain House Foods
Mountain House offers lightweight, freeze-dried meals that are both delicious and convenient at a reasonable price. The meals are ideal for backpacking, hiking or just spending time in the wilderness.
The nutritional value, color, flavor and aroma are excellent. The packaging does not take up a lot of room in your pack, and you can easily store any leftovers using the zip lock. You can choose different packages and options depending on your appetite.
The shelf life of the products is fantastic. As long as you store the products in a dry, cool area, they can be enjoyed for many years to come. If you live in an area where natural disasters are fairly common, these meals are superb options.
The variety of dishes is wonderful. If you have specific dietary requirements such as low sodium, or prefer to eat vegetarian, you will not be disappointed. The meats are tender, the vegetables taste fresh, and the desserts are delicious.
I like the fact the company is always coming out with new dishes and flavors because having something new to enjoy is always a bonus. You will not have any difficulties preparing your meals. The directions are simple and one every package.
I recommend Mountain House for anyone spending time in the outdoors. You will never run out of tasty options for your meals.