Campground Cooking - Preparing Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals With A Twist: REVIEWING MOUNTAIN
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Sometimes I am sent items to test along my many travels. I recently received an exciting package from Mountain House, an amazing company which provides food selections for hikers, preppers, travelers and even military usage in simplistic freeze dried form. I was very eager to pop open the package and get to cooking to find out just what kind of flavor could be packed into such a small package with minimal prep or clean up.
Information & Specs:
Name: Mountain House Beef Stew
Servings: 2.5 Serving Pouch
From the time I corresponded with Mountain House and the Dyrt to the day I received the item there was less than a week’s wait. I have previously also received items from Mountain House through other companies which sell and distribute their items, again with little to no delay on receipt.
The packaging for this product was slightly different than the item I had previously ordered, a Pro-Pack version of Mountain House which is designed and packed for higher altitudes and thus is sealed much more tightly. The directions on the packaging were clear and concise and it seemed as though it would be pretty simplistic to prepare.
In previous experiences with freeze-dried meals I had been a little less than excited by their flavors, many seemed flat or chalky tasting. Being that I am a texture eater as well I don't like the off putting feel of something being soggy when I eat, so I was very eager to see how Mountain House held up to the challenge, especially when it came to stew, something which typically can go pretty soggy when preparing.
At my location I wanted to test how easy the pouch would be to prepare, how far it would stretch and also how I could potentially easily incorporate it into my camping in a variety of ways. The meal itself was very easy to prepare with very little requirements for doing so. Basically I only needed a small bit of water and something to heat it to make it work, this I found to be key when I do more minimalist camping or backpacking. I prepared the meal in this way first to get an overall feel of the meal and gauge if I would respond well to the taste and texture. It was a success! After a total of less than 20 minutes to fully prepare the meal from start to finish, I was very pleased by the flavors, the perfect texture of the meat and potatoes and how the carrots and peas seemed to just melt in my mouth.
Though I often travel alone, making 2.5 servings more than enough to send me to bed in a food coma for the evening, upon occasion I do have additional people traveling with me. This made me think, what if I needed to stretch this meal a bit further because there were two people starving after a busy day? How would I do that? I put a lot of thought into options and concluded that there would be several ways you could do so.
If continuing to be on a minimalist prep you could simply take tortillas and with the added starch find a way to make the contents stretch. But what about having my full camp set up at my disposal, how then could I stretch my meal to accommodate another person? My conclusion was to prepare a delicious meat pie by adding just two ingredients (puff pastry and mushrooms). With this idea, you could of course add any items you want and make your pies as large or as small as you would like. I would also suggest peppers or onions if you really want to expand the contents without taking away from the flavors. These are all items which compliment the flavors of the pouch well.
I prepared with a single puff pastry 4 small pies and still had enough left over in the pouch that I could have made a solo meal out of that alone. By far Mountain House is one of the most diverse and flavorful providers of freeze-dried meals. No wonder around 70% of all freeze-dried meals sold in the US are Mountain House.
If I were rating this item I would have no questions in giving it a 5 of 5. I feel like the content of this items package standing alone is enough to speak for itself as the robust flavors bring you that little sense of home while in the wilderness. It is designed for the every day camper to have something which is easy to prepare but has the ability to transform into much more than a pre-packaged meal. This item is perfect well beyond the bounds of camping however, I am most excited about adding this item to my supplies for emergencies as well in case of power outages during cold winter months of bad weather which can often leave me without power living in the country.
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