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Food for survival.

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posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 01:42 AM
I understand what (I think) Cug was saying.

I would discourage civilians from purchasing MRE's.

Primarily because of expense.

They are marketed as the pinnacle that survival foods should aspire to. Yet even their proponents talk about their weight, about the HUGE caloric intake associated with them.

If you click on any survival website, they'll sell you stuff that will impoverish you.

I like drying my own fruit. A five pound bag of dried banana slices will run you about $20, and is full of nitrate. My own cost me $2.50 in bananas, and probably $0.50 in electricity.

Same with pre-packaged wheat; the stuff goes for 5$ a BUSHEL in bulk, and maybe double that from a feedstore in an anmount you'd ever use. That's sixty cents a pound! Buy it online, and pay 25 bucks for a 5 pound bag!

MRE's are, I'm sure, just the thing for some survival situations. Short term. But if you have ever cleaned out your stockpile, you'll be shocked at how finicky you suddenly get. Stuff you would eat on a camping trip suddenly tastes like puke after you've walked 12 miles and are freezing.

you want REAL food. I see Cug saying, pack stuff you eat NOW. A candy bar in each day's meal. Some popcorn. The middle of a hurricane is no time to realize that you hate freeze-dried ice cream, and the dough you blew on your MRE's could have bought you a bus ticket out of New Orleans, and have paid UPS to ship your valuables to the kinfolk up north.

Long story short: I can get you a food dehydrator for 30 bucks, and have you making your own jerky by sundown. how many MRE's can you buy for 30 bucks???

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 09:34 AM

Originally posted by Cug
If you can answer in the affirmative these questions and others like them, you can survive. If you survival plans revolve around MRE's and cans of SPAM and pork and beans you will not survive.

I think the heart of the question doen't really revolve around a total subsistance off nature. Just as it might be foolish to not have any skill on hunting, husbandry, or cultivation, it would be equally unwise to not have any sort of immediate provision. Yes, MREs and the like will eventually lose their shelf life. Most people do not have such provisions for an indefinite period, probably not even a year, or a month.

There may be a situation ala Katrina where you are in a flood and stranded, you can't very well go off hunting or sowing crops. You might also be in some other situation where you cannot easily get to a place to forage off nature.

I have several days supply of MREs, and the same for the "mainstay food bars". Really, how can you really carry more than that anyway? I'm also prone to bouts of frugality. When my modest amount of emergency rations nears its expiration, I simply consume them rather than letting them go bad and discarding them. I wouldn't, however, enjoy eating a whole month/years worth of those rations just to avoid throwing them away.

I don't have C-rations, I guess I could get them at some surplus store?? How do they hold up in a hot, humid environment? I've heard stories of British troops having canned corned beef go bad in the jungles of Burma during WW II. I did have some C-ration spaghetti about 20-something years ago. It wasn't bad at all, IMHO.

I think the main issue might be to have enough food for a short to mid-term emergency, or for a long-term emergency to get you "started", or to supplement on days you can get any sustainence from nature.

The multvitamins are a good idea; haven't thought of that; will add to my stash!

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 11:13 AM
Food wise I lack what I need to last for a long period of time, however short term I am fine. There is a bunch of seeds laying around the house to use for planting and some of those are not for eating though. Lack of funds can hurt your ability to stock up.
I myself like MRE's when it comes to a short term solution, however I would never want to stake my life on them. As others have said they do spoil, take up space, and most of all: COST A LOT! So far I have a magazine I get every month or so where I can by bulk grain, dried milk which is bought in giant pails, just one pail makes 114 gallons of milk, and loads of other frozen foods.
Here is an important catch to what someone was saying about dehydrators, DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN? I learned how to make my own when I was in the south pacific for three years (NO military purpose thank goodness) and it was used to dehydrate these little nuclear hot red chilies.
In the event something happens I personally would not instantly start feeding off of my own supplies I would go raid a store nearby. I mean how many of us are going to hunker down in our homes and start feeding off what we stored when we know there is bulk amounts down the street we can knock off in the night? How about the local school? Gas station? When you think about storing food for distaster keep in mind how are you going to prolong that storage. I am sure most of us have to endure winter, so what are you going to do if a distater hits in the middle of the winter? You cannot grow crops, you have MAYBE one or two months of food.
Luckily where I live people grow a lot of sheep and goats so meat is no big deal... also dogs and cats make nice meals if you have some salt and pepper.
If I could stock up on anything I wanted, without worrying about a budget cap and room to put it in, I would probably get most of the following:
Bulk wheat
wheat grinder
bulk dried milk
water purification system
small solar panels to recharge batteries and repacement panels
The 4600 calorie food bars in bulk
lots of freeze dried foods
and most of all: about a years worth of seeds.

That is a short term list off the top of my head. Sadly, as close to rations as I have in case of emergency is some canned soup and meat.

Where could I get some K an C rations that are not WW1?

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 05:43 PM
The are several websites which sell emergency food and survival gear. I have listed a few:

For food:

For gear:

Information: (also for emergency kits/bags) (type in what you are looking for)

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has information on bioterrorism and Nuclear blast/attack.

[edit on 14-12-2006 by Siren]

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 06:33 PM
Since this is all about food, VEKAR, tell us about your home made dehydrator. How is it constructed?

Dr-Strangecraft, What dehydrator model do you use? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to your system?

Does anyone else use a food dehydrator?

Dehydrating food for storage is a useful task that many could benifit from if they only knew how. Spread the knowledge.

Later we can trade jerky recipies.

I have used traditional methods for dehydrating meat and fish. Sun jerked actualy. It isn't that dificult to do so long as you have the right weather. A little smoke just makes things better.

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 09:08 PM
I have a cheapo "Mister Coffee" dehydrator, with five circular clear plastic trays on an impeller base. I like it because the top tray has a plastic tray for making fruit leather, which is easier to "sell" to my kids than some dried fruits in natural form.

I just got done doing two pineapples about 2 weeks ago. I like doing pineapples because my whole family will eat em. Plus, they are so high in citric acid that you don't have to dip them, as you do with apples and bananas to avoid discoloration.


Limited capacity.
Two pinapples is pretty good, but not THAT much. They were HUGE pineapples, but still and all. Especially when the kids ate half of it before I could store it. Strangely, no one had wanted a sample of fresh pineapple when I was cutting them up earlier that day . . .

- long drying time.
The manual says about 8 to twelve hours. More like 12 to 16.

- washing the grills afterwards.
It takes forever, since the fruity bits are quite literally baked on. I imagine this is a problem with every dryer that has racks and is not disposable.


-It smells great. Probably true of every dryer.

-doesn't take up much counter space. I have seen larger dryers in someone's garage; but due to the heat involved, you can't really leave a dryer unattended for hours on end. It's a lot easier to keep an eye on it on the kitchen counter.

-It makes fruit leather.
You can puree a combination of fruits, and put them in the top tray, and make "leather" which is the same as the "fruit roll ups" they sell your kid for 75 cents a piece in the toaster pasty aisle of the grocery. Except mine are all fruit, as opposed to basically being made of Koolaid (TM), as the commericial ones are: Their leading ingredient? corn syrup solids . . .

and finally, (drum roll please) the benefit that outweighs all drawbacks:

. . . . I got it for five bucks on the clearance cart at walgreens, the day after christmas 1999.


posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 09:18 PM

Originally posted by Terapin

I have used traditional methods for dehydrating meat and fish. Sun jerked actualy. It isn't that dificult to do so long as you have the right weather. A little smoke just makes things better.

I used to jerk meat by sun in the central plains. The perfect weather was after a snowstorm---bright sunlight, and no blowflies.

Where I live, in the desert southwest, it doesn't snow except maybe once or twice a winter. Even in high wind, the flies get to the meat before it hardens properly. And that putrifies it. You know where their little feet have been.

I used to have have antelope jerky made, by a little old lady who was a quarter Kiowa and half Cherokee. She made it over a fire under her clothesline in the back yard. She used to tell me that the smoke was only to keep the flies off of it till it got hard. She washed it once it got hard, so the fly poop didn't stay on it. Hers was the best jerky I've ever had. She charged me half the carcass for her work, which sure seemed fair at the time.

She also made goose jerky, when I and her sons hunted Canadas and Snows. She prefered the goose jerky, since it was the only way to preserve the meat till summer.

The trick with jerky is absolutely no fat. Goose and whitetail deer are great. Beef is actually hard to work with if it was finished at a stockyard, due to the marbled fat.

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 09:46 PM
hmm I may make one looks simple.
I still believe in MRE's. And contrary to popular belief if you know ware to shop they are no more expensive then the stuff you feed your face with everyday. The major difference is they are designed for active people. Lots of calories. Active like running for your life. As soon as I find the site I use to go thru I will post it. each ontray is a different price so you have to watch what you buy. you can buy all one type in a case or mix and match. these are military speck but not military issue. give me a few days to find that site. If I forget u2u me a reminder, because ime a little busy with family issues.

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 10:48 PM
I like his how to demo on the dehydrator.

A 150 watt bulb seems pretty intense, and I was surprised by how long he said it took to try.

Mine is the circular one in his pics. I like it at the trays go in the dishwasher. I suspect his would be faster if he found some perforated grills or screen or something.

I had a friend who built one in his garage. It was HUGE, with an impeller fan and several bulbs. It really heated up the garage, and hummed pretty loudly. He used it the week before his annual family 2 week vacation, which I thought was pretty intense.

I use my dehydrator when we'll be working in the kitchen anyway, and I need my space. When I made the pineapple couple of weeks ago, I was also grinding venison for burger. I like doing two operations at once like that.


posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 10:53 PM
The dehydrator I learned to make was made by some Philipino's in the South Pacific, where I lived. The construction goes like this:
Remember you can change the amount of material so as to get the size you want:
two 2x4's cut and nailed into a square box shape (two seperate boxes)
Chicken wire, two sheets, 14x18 inches square
The wire settles on the OUTSIDE BOTTOM of the box, the two sheets provide support and the ability to let air in and out, also any dripping to fall away (I hope it does not)
one glass sheet that covers the entire top of the box
6-8 dow rods
the dow rods go across the box in small groves so you can place stuff on top (this is for your meat)
2 hinges and 1 lock mechanism

That is the basic construction and no I am not a person who regularly explains how to make things. None the less you have a rough idea of what it would look like. The sun does the drying, if you want to change the rods to a finer mesh, stainless-steel wiring you can, in that case you attach a 2nd box underneat the original to hold the wire and place and to add extra stength to the net. The chicken wire is to keep debre like leaves from comming up from underneath. Also it is used as a "catch net" for anything that falls off your dow rods.

The one I had was used for drying red chili peppers that were nuclear hot, but you can switch over to meat, fruit, whatever you fany, JUST KEEP IT CLEAN AND DRY.

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 11:04 PM
I've used a sun dryer once and my oven a couple of times both with good results BUT a lot of waiting!

Using the oven is costly too...running at the lowest temp for sometimes 2-3 days...

It rains too much here in vancouver...too damp for some methods. I did have a vacuum sealer awhile back and think I may just get another...moisture and humidity can kind of take the fun out of drying things naturally. I don;t have property to build a smoke/drying house or that'd be my next choice LOL...somehow I don;t think the neighbors'd appreciate me smoking/drying fish in the lane?? Even if I shared.

If I had electric included in my rent I'd be drying in the oven all the time. It does work quite well and I never use it for anything else except the occasional batch of cookies.

The food dryer that DR Strange is talking about...I think I've seen one of can buy extra trays for it right? and they stack as high as you like? A friend swore by hers...kept it running pretty much non-stop. Great for fruits she said.

posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 11:57 PM
That's right. Seems pretty puny compared to some of the larger ones you folks are talking about .

But it fits in with my life. Faster than "days," and easier to process. If I didn't have a freezer, I'd want a much bigger dehydrator. You know, processing even fruit is pretty labor intensive, and come to think of it, filling up five trays with banana chips is at least an hour's work, since I dip them in citric acid first. Not sure I could be very effective with a larger set up.

I do best by adding to my stockpile slowly, a weekend or month or so.


posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 03:26 AM
I believe those baby 'rusk' biscuits would do the trick.

You know, the stale and dry ones?

At least they would keep. I know the biscuits in the Army ration packs are like this.

posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 03:40 AM
I like peanut butter a lot. It's a good source of protein and carbohydrates, it keeps for a long-ish time, and most people have no problems stomaching it, even day after day. Most of us have fond memories of peanut butter sandwiches from when we were kids, and as long as you don't keel over and die from an allergy, you're good to go.

I also like tuna packed in oil. It keeps as long as any MRE, tastes better, and while not quite as good for you, it is more familiar. Only downside - no mayo.
The upside? Works pretty well with mustard, which will store a helluva long time and makes a lot of other foods more palatable.

Foods like..hardtack and tinned ham. 4 cups flour, 1 cup water, 4-6 tsp salt, mashed together and cut into squares, poke some holes in, bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes per side, and there you have it. Other folks do it differently, but it's not going to taste great after 6 months no matter what you put in it, so I don't think it matters much.

I like mine with ham or jam, depending upon the position of the sun in the sky, and how hungry I am.

Don't get me wrong, I love jerky and dried fruit, but they don't hang around long, I eat them too rapidly. If I could keep a store of jerky, I would. But it's just too tasty for its own good.

I also like rice and beans. Rice is poor in terms of nutrients, compared to other foods, but it's not terrible, and it keeps pretty well. It's also easy to prepare, doesn't require a ton of water, and it fills your stomach up (even if it's not really a full meal's worth of nutrients, it gives you energy and staves off hunger).

Hard candies and water additives (hot chocolate, tang, etc.) also shouldn't be overlooked.

I'm still undecided on vitamin supplements. They don't keep well, and that's no good. Of course you need them, but a balanced diet should provide you everything you need, and the body is pretty good at weathering deficiencies.

I'm interested in learning more about the shelf life of dried seaweed. Theoretically it keeps for a couple of years, comparable to canned veggies, and it's very good for you. I've never actually eaten 2 year old seaweed though, so I have no idea if its palatable.

Canned water chestnuts are quite good, also pickled peppers, applesauce, jars of pineapple (not cans), and mushrooms. If you have the space, I think these are better investments than a bunch of multivitamins. I could be way off-base, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 02:27 PM
I have some seaweed that is about 2 years old..... just have not had a reason to use it, if I ever do I will tell you if I was at the toilet two hours later throwing up or doing just fine. as far as I can tell, the seaweed I have has held up just fine, held its shape, so on. Just keep it in a cold, dry place, out of the sun.
There are a mint of small odds and ends one can take in order to survive longer, most things people would overlook turns out to be highly effective if combined with other objects or in this case foods. However, my favorite of all cuisine when you are running low on food, is the dogs and cats outside, take the meat and burn the rest, or breed your own dogs since they scavange on their own and you have a heard of dogs to keep you fed, they do multiply rather rapidly...

posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 09:49 AM
Ok the website I was talking about is Great MRE's low prices. just stay away from the freeze dried cannned food. Really pricy

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 12:36 PM
Too bad Elvish way-bread is not an option...

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 01:51 PM
I have only had experience with the Canadian IMP "Imediate Meal Packs" which I hear are much better then MRE's. I find IMP's to be bulky and wasteful. they carry alot of stuff that we end up getting rid although I am sure in a true survival situation it would be different. but still they are much too bulky to carry a large amount, on foot, for any sustained time. we take time out of our prep day to strip them down. I personally take the entree, dessert, jam,the candy, the bread and the matches. but different blokes have different strokes.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 01:58 PM
I live by the GORP theory
a hand full will give u all the fatty acids aswell as other nutrirents u need for a day. I also carry dried fruit and jerky in my pack. I can get a pound of jerky for 25 bucks!
all this stuff has worked for me better then any of the comercial stuff i looked at.

posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 04:05 PM

Originally posted by Cug
MRE's are fine if you enjoy pissing your money down the drain. Really I think MRE's are a "macho" thing, oh look at me I have Army gear. The only decent use of MRE's is when you are bugging out and even then they are still a stupid idea. You just won't need that much food, you would be better off if you replace the weight of the MRE's with water and some packaged ramen and maybe a jar of peanut butter, total cost maybe 5 bucks.

As a wife to an Army Ranger I have to say that we would be "pissing" our money down the drain if we didn't have MRE's. You see, when you are an officer in the US Army you must buy your own MREs if you plan on eating in the field. Once my husband resigned his commision he held onto his MREs. Not everyone who has them has a life time subscription to "Soldier of Fortune" and dresses out of "Ranger Joe's". You may find that many people who have MREs are just hanging on to the supplies they bought while in service. It's not a "macho" thing it's a wasteful thing.

That said I cook from scratch almost every night, bake bread on Sundays and have no qualms about eating either of our 12 pound pet rabbits-just as long as they are presented to me looking like a Perdue oven stuffer roasters!

Packaged Ramen (although I do have some in stores as a comfort food) has no nutritional value and is chock full of salt which is a diuretic and will make you go through your water faster than you need to. It also needs to be cooked, so I suggest you bring your camp stove along. Mres, as it is stated in their name are ready to eat and although they taste better hot, they are edible cold, even the hot chocolate mix can be eaten! You are free to feel any way you want about MREs but you did not offer a viable alternative.

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