Mountain House Essential Assortment


My first experience with freeze dried food was in middle school when I took a trip to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. with my class. My friends and I bought freeze dried ice cream supposedly eaten by astronauts. We oohed and awed over the taste, and it was good, but much different than regular ice cream because it kind of dissolved in your mouth. So, needless to say I didn’t really know what to expect when it came to eating a freeze dried meal.

For a little background, Mountain House is a company based out of Albany, Oregon that has specialized in freeze dried foods for decades. The company got it’s start in the 1960s freeze drying fruit for General Mills cereal, then later working for the Department of Defense making military rations that tasted better, weighed less and were easier to prepare than canned food.

On its packaging the company refers to the meals as ideal for emergency preparedness, camping or backpacking. And, I would have to agree whole-heartedly; however, these meals are tasty enough to keep in your cupboard for those days when you just don’t feel like cooking. My family worked through the Essential Assortment of meals over the course of a week. That includes the Rice and Chicken, Chili Mac with Beef and Spaghetti and Meat Sauce meals. The assortment comes with four packages of each totaling 32 servings.

Taste: Taste for me is the most important factor in anything I eat. I give these meals two enthusiastic thumbs up for taste. Any doubts I had about it not tasting like regular food were quickly dashed. The Chili Mac with Beef is better than any chili I’ve eaten out of a can. A perfect blend of spicy and meaty. Mild enough for kids, but plenty of flavor for adults. My toddler couldn’t get enough of this. The Rice and Chicken is the most filling. One meal was enough to feed our entire family. That’s saying a lot based on my husband’s voracious appetite. My girls are 5-years old and 18 months, and they are relatively light eaters and can be very picky. But, they both finished they’re bowls and asked for more. Sometimes with the preprepared meals or even microwave dinners the chicken can taste kind of rubbery. That is not the case with this Mountain House meal. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is the one I was the most skeptical about. It is really hard to beat homemade spaghetti sauce, especially my mom’s. I think most canned spaghetti has an odd aftertaste… I best describe it as kind of metallic. I was pleasantly surprised by the Mountain House spaghetti. It is delicious and didn’t have an ounce of funky aftertaste. If I had one additional recommendation it would be to add just a bit more meat, but I love meaty spaghetti sauce, so that’s really just preferential.

Portion Size: Portion size is obviously relative to the person, but here is what worked for our family. My husband is a hearty eater, but even he had a difficult time finishing the meals on his own. He and I will likely split the meals when we’re in the field. And, if the girls are with us, depending on our hunger we might be able to split a meal with them. If not, we likely would only need two meals between the four of us.

Convenience: The convenience of the size, preparation and portability can not be beat. Each package weighs just under 5 ounces. To put that into perspective an average chicken breast is about 5-6 ounces.Definitely light enough for even the youngest hunter to carry in a pack. Preparation for each meal is the same. Just add boiling water and let it sit for about 9 minutes.

For any outdoor enthusiast these meals are a perfect addition to your pack. I look forward to trying the numerous other options Mountain House offers in the upcoming hunting season.

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