My husband and I are strong believers in having an adequate food storage. It has gotten us through a couple of rough patches and has saved us countless last minute trips to the store or to a restaurant for meals. Recently we branched out into long term food storage prepackaged meals.
My goal in this was to have a variety of foods to choose from should we have to live off our stores for more than 3 months. I know we will be miserable enough without adding the redundancy and mundane flavor of nothing but canned foods. Eventually, I would like to augment our canned goods and long term staples with these prepackaged dry meals. I would also be adding MRE’s so there can be additional choices.
So I went to my go to store… Yup, Amazon. I purchased a few top named foods. Legacy, Wise Foods, Augason Farms and Mountain House brands. Being avid backpackers, Michael and I are quite familiar with Mountain House and like the flavor compared to all other backpacking foods. However, shelf life is not as long and it is quite expensive sometimes, so I wanted to branch out and see if we couldn’t come up with a better alternative for backpacking as well.
Let me first go over some of the differences of the foods we chose.
Calories per dollar
- Wise Foods = 211.12
- Legacy = 152.63
- Mountain House = 93.43
- Augason Farms = 267.93
So if calories per dollar is your only objective then Augason Farms is the way to go.
Cook Time and Methods (abbreviated)
- Wise Foods = Add to boiled water, remove from heat and sit 12-15 min.
- Legacy = simmer for 12-15 minutes.
- Mountain House = Add boiling water to pouch, seal and await 10-15 minutes.
- Augason Farms = Simmer for 12-20 minutes.
So, If fuel savings is your objective, then Wise or Mountain House are equal in efficiency.
Shelf Life (pouches only)
- Wise Food = 25 yrs
- Legacy = 25 yrs
- Mountain House = 12+ yrs
- Augason Farms = 20 yrs
Based on this, you might choose Wise or Legacy if longevity is your main concern. Which might be if you don’t plan to rotate your food stores.
Packaging and portability
Mountain House has an advantage over Wise because you can prepare it in it’s own bag. So if you are concerned with portability and cleanliness on the move, the Mountain House is the only contender, specially for backpacking at least.
Now… On to our first taste test.
We went to see our property for the second time and we decided to try one of the new food storage meals we just purchased. We chose the Legacy meals because they were shipped to us as individual pouches so they didn’t store all that well. Not stack-able.
On the first night, I cooked their Stroganoff on the Coleman camp stove in our cast iron pot according to the directions on the package. The first thing we noticed was how runny it was. So we decided to let it simmer a bit longer than was called for to let some of the water evaporate out.
Once dished, it had a pleasant enough appearance. Going downhill from there, it was salty, and that was about all the flavor it had. My husband was so completely unhappy with it, it made him grumpy and he definitely didn’t want seconds. I didn’t think it was too terrible, but wasn’t thrilled with it either. I did have seconds and so did my daughter (because we were hungry).
The second night we tried the Pasta Primavera. It was also runny and required extra cook time. My husband had a small bowl to try it, and then ate a sandwich for the rest of his dinner. He was NOT having anymore. In fact everyone pretty much preferred the sandwiches. The Pasta Primavera and the Stroganoff had almost identical paste-y flavors and neither contain any actual meat.
So unless we truly were starving, I don’t think we would happily choose this food over any canned or other foods. They would just be another type of boring, tasteless meal substitute.
As for backpacking, these meals require to much cook-time to make viable backpacking options. Fuel is exceedingly limited by what you can carry, so it needs to be used sparingly. The same can be said in case of emergency.
So for us, in overall taste, usefulness and willingness to rotate into our stores, the Legacy brand is currently not a contender.
Stay tuned for the next taste test – Wise Foods Stroganoff.
Once we get through the pasta and cream dishes on the other brands, we plan to circle back to the bean entrees such as Chili, or whatever is comparable between them.