Monthly Archive: April 2016

Best Freeze Dried Food From Mountain House

I recently contacted the company, Mountain House, producers of the most popular freeze dried food, about reviewing their products on Old Nerd Reviews.

mountain house freeze dried food

I was shopping at Winco and spotted an entire end-cap full of the Mountain House freeze dried food products. I was intrigued and, in typical Old Nerd fashion, decided that this is something you all had to know about. I mean, how cool is full entrees that are totally freeze-dried? Pretty cool, to answer your question. 😉

This type of thing is perfect for campers, hikers, preppers, military, and emergency situations.

I took a picture of one of their offerings on my cell phone so I wouldn’t forget it and then headed home. I immediately emailed them to ask if they would be interested in my doing a food review or two for them. They got back to my quickly, pretty thrilled with the idea and told me that would be me out a sample box. Boy, did they ever!!

Within days, I opened the sent package to find:

  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Chili Mac with Beef
  • Homestyle Chicken Noodle Casserole
  • Pasta Primavera
  • Chicken & Dumplings
  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • Breakfast Skillet
  • New York Style Cheesecake Bites

mountain house food

Here’s a little bit about Mountain House, straight from the gentleman who contacted me back:

mountain house freeze dried food 2Our story actually starts as a special forces meal for soldiers in Vietnam. Originally SpecOps soldiers were carrying canned k and c rations leftover from the Korean war. Canned food causes a host of issues for soldiers on long-range patrol in hot jungles, so the military started looking for something to replace them. One of our engineers found out about this and proposed our freeze dried meals to the military. We won the contract and have been making meals for US Special Forces soldiers ever since.

As the Vietnam war began to wind down, those soldiers came back and asked sporting goods stores for those meals to power their outdoor adventures. The stores came to us and we sold them our surplus. The meals sold out super quick. It was then we realized that we had a consumer demanded product and Mountain House was born.

Our freeze dried food meals are unique in the industry in that not only do we fully cook our meals and use real meat, we also have the longest proven shelf life in the industry. Most dry outdoor/camping meals are dry-blended ingredients with a few freeze dried components in them. When you eat our Beef Stroganoff for instance, you are eating actual Beef Stroganoff that we cooked up and dried. The meat you see in our food is actually meat.

The freeze drying process is simple in concept and super technical and hard to do correctly. It goes like this…

  1. We cook up our meals in a cook pot using real ingredients.
  2. We put that food on trays and freeze it solid
  3. We put the frozen food trays in a vacuum chamber and pull a very strong vacuum roughly equivalent to ½ the way to the International Space Station.
  4. We add a minuscule amount of heat to the bottom of the tray. This combined with the low air pressure causes the solid water ice molecules to transform directly to water vapor, completely skipping the liquid phase. In other words, the ice doesn’t melt. It evaporates.
  5. We collect that water vapor on cold condensing plates along the inner wall of the vacuum chamber.
  6. After a long process (up to 24 hours) the food is dry and ready for packaging.
  7. We use proprietary packaging methods and packaging material to protect food from oxygen, light, heat and moisture.

It’s that easy. One of the common misconceptions is that we add chemicals to the food to aid in the freeze drying process. We don’t. All we are doing is playing with physics.

As for the shelf life of our freeze dried food, our pouches have a Taste Guarantee of 12+ years. Food in our large #10 cans have a Taste Guarantee of 25+ years. This means that we guarantee no flavor shift in the food for those respective time periods. The food, if stored in cool, dry conditions will last for years if not decades afterwards and still be tasty. Because we’ve removed the moisture and protect it against oxygen, we’ve put the food in a state of suspended animation. Pretty nifty stuff! This also makes us very nice to have in 72-hour and earthquake kits.

We are also the only brand of freeze dried meals to have laboratory testing of actual archival products. This is how we determine our shelf life. Unlike everyone else in the emergency food category we don’t use extrapolations from accelerated lab testing. OFD Foods, Inc. (the parent company) is considered a world expert in all things freeze-dried.

All that great information to say, stay tuned for a series of taste test and review videos, showcasing some of the groovy meals sent to me from Mountain House.

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