My fridge was, save condiments and a container of almond milk, devoid of food. I'm an eggs-for-breakfast-every-day person and that morning, I was egg-less. Then I remembered I'd received a Just in Case Breakfast Assortment Bucket from Mountain House to test. Less than ten minutes later, I had re-hydrated scrambled eggs and bacon ready. I've used freeze dried meals backpacking for ages, but it never occurred to me that the packages I rely on to get me through trips could have another purpose.
Mountain House came up with their "bucket" offerings in a response to a growing trend in the emergency preparedness supplies business. Rather than buying and storing canned foods, which never taste quite right and expire relatively quickly, freeze dried meals can be an ideal choice for long term food storage. If the power goes out, if you're snowed in like we were in most of the northeast last week, or if you come home to an empty refrigerator after a long trip, it's good to be prepared.
Mountain House offers classic and essential assortments, but I was excited to test the breakfast bucket because when you're an eggs and bacon person, backpacking breakfasts can be a challenge. The complimentary breakfast assortment I received includes 29 servings of freeze dried breakfast favorites, including:
4 Pouches - Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Peppers
4 Pouches - Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
4 Pouches - Granola with Milk and Blueberries
4 Pouches - Breakfast Skillet
As I trend in the Paleo direction, I stuck to the Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Peppers as well as the Scrambled Eggs with Bacon pouches for testing*. Freeze dried eggs are usually hit or miss in my experience, but after following the directions precisely, I found both scrambled egg options pretty tasty. Essentially, you boil one cup of water, open the pouch, take the oxygen-absorbing iron powder packet out (the packets are non-toxic, so if you forget to remove it, you'll be okay, simply take it out of the re-hydrated food and discard it), dump the water in, stir everything up, reseal it and wait for the designated amount of time.
After re-hydration, the eggs had a slightly spongy texture, but with the added bacon, ham and peppers, both pouches made great meals. Great enough, in fact, that I've already eaten two of each at home; so much for saving the pouches for emergencies. And though some of the pouches are designed to have more than one serving, one full pouch is the amount I need fill up.
The clear bucket itself is an easy way to store a variety of food and other emergency items. Half of the lid flips up for easy access while the other half stays attached to the bucket itself to help you avoid losing the lid. I could easily fit a headlamp, matches and other emergency supplies in the bucket. Given I usually camp with friends, I can see the buckets being an easy way to take food along for groups. As a note, if you're keeping them on hand for emergency preparedness, it's a good idea to store the 16 cups of water required to rehydrate all 16 packets with the bucket.
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* As my dietary needs are by choice, not due to allergies, I'd likely eat anything I had available in an emergency! But for those of you following a strict Paleo prescription, technically, none of the pouches in the breakfast assortment bucket are 100% Paleo. However, both scrambled eggs pouch options are gluten free.