freeze-dried-mac-and-cheese

Which freeze-dried meals taste best?

Hungry after a long day of hiking, paddling, or snowshoeing with your Scouts?

Three little words can save the day: “Just add water.”

The beauty of freeze-dried meals comes in their simplicity: Boil water, add mix, and you’re done.

But — speaking from experience here — ease of use often comes by sacrificing taste. The freeze-dried meals I remember were bland, watered-down concoctions that were a chore to eat.

That was years ago, and times have changed, says Brandon Garrett of The Ready Store in Draper, Utah.

Today’s dehydrated meals retain the simplicity but boost the taste, he tells me.

I asked Brandon and his team at The Ready Store — purveyors of dehydrated food, survival kits, and emergency supplies — to share their favorites.

Note: Many are available either in pouches — for individuals, small groups, and backpackers — or #10 cans, for larger groups and car camping.

Here they are!

Breakfast

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet Wrap

Brandon says: “This comes in an easy-use pouch. You can prepare the whole thing inside of the pouch, and it doesn’t require any extra dishes – which is great for a backpacking trip. The mix includes hash browns, scrambled eggs, pork sausage, peppers, and chopped onions. Put that all in a tortilla wrap (not included), and it makes a great breakfast.”

Lunches and Dinners

Saratoga Farms Shanghai Teriyaki Stir Fry

Brandon says: “This one came up as a favorite for a bunch of people at our office. The great thing about this dish is that it’s a new meal at a cheaper price per ounce. I mean, how many times do you have teriyaki stir fry on a campout? It’s a great meal to change things up a bit at the camp. It’s also less expensive than ordering Chinese take-out!”

Mountain House Chicken Salad Wrap

Brandon says: “This is another wrap like the breakfast skillet wrap. It doesn’t come with tortillas, but is the inside of a chicken salad wrap. You can prepare the whole meal inside of the pouch, which makes for easy clean-up, and all you have to do is add water.  It’s great because if you need to get back to a merit badge class and only have a few minutes for lunch, this can be prepared very quickly.”

Saratoga Farms Mac & Cheese

Brandon says: “We did a test with our employees’ children where we gave them some typical Mac & Cheese along with Saratoga Farms Mac & Cheese [pictured above and at right]. The vote was in favor of Saratoga Farms! Another cool thing about this Mac & Cheese is that it contains less calories and cholesterol. It also contains more of your daily percent of calcium then your typical Mac & Cheese.”

Dessert

Mountain House Blueberry Cheesecake

Brandon says: “This is a pretty cool dish. It’s a little more complicated to make. You have to prepare a few separate dishes and then combine them to make the cheesecake. But what better dish to have after a day of working on merit badges than a creamy dessert?”

A Reminder About Water

Brandon Garrett of The Ready Store in Draper, Utah

Without potable water, these meals are worthless. So Brandon and his team remind customers to make sure they have a proper water-filtration system when out on the trail. His favorites are the Katadyn HikerPro, the Katadyn Combi, and the Vario Water Filter.

Thanks, Brandon and The Ready Store for sharing these reviews!

Note: Neither Scouting magazine nor Bryan on Scouting received compensation or product samples from the manufacturers or The Ready Store for publishing these reviews.

4 thoughts on “Which freeze-dried meals taste best?

  1. I dont waste $ on freeze dried. A bag of red beans & rice, with pouch chicken (all at walmart prices) feeds more for less.

  2. The best out there is your good old MRE, Meal ready to eat. the ones the army uses, The boys love them and they come in a box of 24 different meals. They arn’t freeze dried but they are a great move fast come with the heater in them and go.

  3. Mountain House Lasagna is a winner.
    And the absolute nirvana of desserts is MH Raspberry Crumble. It’s unbelievably good!

  4. For a short trip your meals from Mountain House are very handy and light for carrying purposes and most of them are tasty. But, I have found that with a little experimenting you can create much tastier meals from common items that you can get at the grocery store. I call it Freezer bag cooking. You put the ingredients in a Freezer bag, then on the trail add water and your good to go. Cost ends up being about one to two dollars per meal, which makes a big difference when your out for awhile.

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