Make Your Own Ready-to-Eat Rations (aka MREs) On The Cheap

Make Your Own Ready-to-Eat Rations (aka MREs) On The Cheap

If you’re looking to horde food for when the zombie apocalypse hits or you just want easy meals at the ready when you need them, Instructables user Big_Saw explains how he makes his own military-style MREs on the cheap. To do it, you’re going to need some food and a vacuum sealer (which is another simple DIY project if you don’t want to buy one).Photo by cwconstable

Obviously the first step is that you need to buy the food you want to include in your MREs (a military abbreviation for “Meals Ready to Eat”). You only want foods that can be eaten raw or prepared using water (e.g. Noodles). You’ll want to avoid anything that requires refrigeration or expires easily (e.g. dairy). Packaged biscuits, cereal bars, dried fruit, tea bags, single salt and pepper packets, and instant oatmeal are all good options. You may also want to include vitamins if you’re preparing for an occasion where you might need to eat these for a while.

Once you’ve got your food together, arrange them into the meals you want. Next, take a thumb tack or pin and pierce the packaging of anything with air in it or they’ll get really bloated when you vacuum seal them in their bag. Since you’re creating a new seal, you don’t need to worry about expiration. Once you seal everything in, your DIY MREs should have a nice shelf life of about 3-5 years. In the event the world doesn’t end, you’ll have plenty of lunches for your kids or plenty of meals for your next, long-term camping trip. See the full how-to on Instructables for more details.

DIY MREs: a tutorial [Instructables]


  • That’s fine if you’re waiting for the apocalypse, or a conspiracy theorist!! But if you just want to buy veggies in bulk, and store them ready to eat for months, try steaming, sandwich bags and a spare freezer! I hate it when you buy a weeks worth of veg and by the time you get to it it’s spoiled. So I went and bought a cheap medium sized freezer and filled it with frozen veg, enough to last for months!! The trick is to steam the veg until it’s not quite done. Dump it into freezing cold water, (ice bricks) and spin it in a salad spinner until it’s dry. Then divide it into meal size potions and put it into sealable sandwich bags, squeezing the air out as you close it. Viola, fresh steamed veg when you need it, just let it defrost, place into a bowl and nuke till heated!! My wife and I save tons doing this #]

    • A bonus is that the can itself makes a great receptacle for heating – just strip off the label and apply any heat source (except microwaves). At various points I’ve put them in boiling water, heated them bare on the stove, dumped them in an open fire, and balanced more than a few on a space heater.

      Caveat: If you overdo the heating, they do have a tendency to explode…but in a zombie apocalypse this would surely be a benefit.

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