Are MRE Meals Dehydrated?

MREs are commonly used by the United States military to feed their soldiers who are on active duty. But what are MREs, and how are they stored?

MREs, otherwise known as Meals Ready-to-Eat, are not dehydrated. Instead, they are vacuum-sealed. Vacuum-sealed meals last longer than just being dehydrated. All of the food elements of a dish are contained in a pouch, and a separate pouch used for heating up the MRE is included.

But what actually is an MRE? Are they normal meals or alien food? Do they taste as bad as many soldiers say they do? What is there to know about MREs?

Shelf Life Of MREs

MREs have a very long shelf life and are good for three to five years. They can last up to ten years if they are kept in colder temperatures. However, you should not freeze an MRE. If you freeze it, then the lamination on the pouch is very likely to break, which makes the food inside the pouch become exposed to the elements. If the MRE is frozen and the lamination is broken, then the food inside is likely to become freezer burnt, which will make the MRE taste worse than it already does, depending on what MRE you are choosing to eat at that time.

How To Heat Up MREs

MREs come with a pouch that is separate from the pouch that contains the food. To heat the MRE, you need to either boil it in hot water, or fill up the separate pouch with water to the fill line, seal it, and then wait the recommended amount of time before opening the pouch again. It should only take around 10 minutes for the MRE to become warm enough to eat, but it does depend on the food and the type of MRE you are heating up.

MREs can be eaten cold, even though they are meant to be eaten warm. Before the MRE is packaged, it is fully cooked. The cooking process destroys and bacteria that can harm the soldier that eats the MRE. The vacuum sealing process also makes it harder for harmful bacteria to get into the food, so the MRE does not need to be cooked again to kill bacteria. The MREs are meant to be eaten very quickly, and in situations where you may not be able to boil or heat it before you need to move on to the next area.

Are There Dessert MREs?

Yes, there are dessert MREs. The MREs tend to have full-course meals included in a set, and that includes a dessert for after your main meal. You may not be able to find ice cream MREs, since ice cream needs to be frozen, but you can find desserts like filled french toast, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon buns, and carrot pound cake. However, they may not taste exactly like the desserts that you eat from home, especially if they have been packaged for a long time. Even though MREs are good for three to five years, food is food, and the taste may change after being packaged for a long period of time.

How Many Calories Do MREs Contain?

The amount of calories varies depending on what meal you are eating, but the MREs tend to stay in the 500 to 3000+ calories range, per meal source. The MREs are meant to be very calorie-dense because soldiers need the calories to perform their duties to the best of their ability, and they don’t always have time to eat three meals a day, so they need to be kept full for a very long period of time.

Who Uses MREs?

Many people outside of the military use MREs, even though they were originally designed to be used by soldiers. “Private agencies, law enforcement, hospitals, fire departments, FEMA, Red Cross and government agencies storage depend on MREs as a part of their emergency plan for food supplies.” source

MREs are great food sources to use in an emergency, especially because of their long shelf life. It is very easy to acquire MREs from the manufacturers that provide MREs to the United States military, but they may be slightly different from the meals that soldiers get while deployed.

Do Soldiers Eat MREs While On Base?

If a soldier is on base, then they have the option to go to the cafeteria, so they may not be issued MREs as a meal option. However, if the soldiers are training while on base, they will most likely be given MREs instead of another food option because they are meant to be eaten quickly, and the military is on a strict time crunch that does not allow for a lot of time to make and consume food. Also, if a soldier is deployed without ever having an MRE, they may find it hard to eat, so it is best if a soldier is allowed to have the MREs a few times to get used to the taste.

Do MREs Taste Good?

MREs are made to last, and not necessarily made to taste the best. While there are some very tasty options, especially in the dessert department, they tend not to taste very good. Even the snack options provided, like the crackers, do not taste very good. So, while MREs are very good meal options for soldiers who are deployed, a regular civilian may not prefer to choose an MRE as their favorite camping food option.

Here Is An Example Of People Trying MREs:

How Can I Get An MRE?

It is very easy to buy an MRE if you are a civilian, although you may not receive the exact same type of MRE that the soldiers receive when they are deployed, even if you buy it from the same manufacturer that the military uses. If you do buy an MRE from the company that the military receives their MREs from, then the company may change the packaging and labels on the pouches.

MREs are also very expensive if you buy a pack from an online retailer. The price for a box of MREs ranges from $23 to $119, depending on how many MREs you will receive in the box that you ordered. They are very expensive because of how portable they are made to be because each MRE pouch has multiple layers that protect the food, which makes it so the food is good for people to eat for a long time.

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