Mountain House Granola with Milk & Blueberries

$5.99
4.2

Taste

4.3/5

Nutrition

4.0/5

Packaging

4.5/5

Value

4.0/5

Pros

  • Excellent taste
  • Calorie-packed for survival
  • Long shelf life
  • Easy preparation & disposal
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Calorie-packed against weight loss
  • High sugar content
  • Needs access to water
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Freeze-Dried Food

I am an avid wilderness backpacker, hiker, camper, and survival enthusiast. Emergency food or lightweight meals are thus a great part of my life, particularly when they can be stored for 30 or more years. Mountain House makes some of my FAVORITE, freeze-dried food.

In A Nutshell

Like many Mountain House food, this Granola meal tastes excellent, is easy to prepare, and is packed with calories needed for survival or backpacking. As is true with freeze-dried food, they store for decades and make excellent emergency meals. The biggest downsides are the need for access to water (hot or cold) and the expense: they are not cheap. Nonetheless, I love Mountain House food for on-the-go eating.

What is Freeze-Dried Food?

Granola /Mountain House

Whenever I introduce them to my friends, they immediately think of MRE’s — Meals Ready To Eat — common with the military. I had my first taste of MRE’s over 10 years ago and did not like them. The premise was great though: open the MRE and start eating. No cooking necessary. But they usually did not taste good. Perhaps things have changed, but I had never tried them again since.

To preserve food without needing refrigeration, there are multiple options: Dehydrating (think beef jerky), baking, smoking, preserving, canning, etc. PROBLEM with those methods? They all change the way the food will taste. Too salty, too dry, too yucky, etc. Then there are some where the food could get warmed by a chemical reaction that you activate with the package, but those are heavy and difficult to dispose of while out in the wilderness.

Freeze drying, on the other hand, is a long process whereby the food has its water removed, maintaining its natural composition and keeping its flavor, vitamins, and nutrients. I will cover what that process is like shortly, but the important part to remember is: the taste remains essentially unchanged AND the meal is much lighter to carry around.

Taste remains essentially unchanged AND the meal is much lighter to carry around.

Have you heard of “Astronaut food”? NASA popularized freeze-dried food with the introduction of ice cream that did not need refrigeration. Note: industrial freeze drying could date back as early as the 1800’s, but the idea has been attributed as far back as the Incas of the 13th century.

Freeze-Drying Process

How does food get freeze-dried? The cooked meal is first frozen, then placed in a chamber where the atmospheric pressure is less than 1 ATM (lower than the natural pressure we experience at sea). Over the next 18-20 hours, the food is heated at a very low temperature, and because the pressure is less than normal, ice skips becoming a liquid and jumps straight to gas. That gas is then sucked out. It requires a lot of energy — more than the other forms of preservation. The end result: we are left with food that has no water left, and as such, makes it much lighter to carry and more difficult for any micro organism to spoil. For that reason, freeze dried food can be kept for a minimum of 30 years when stored properly in an air-tight, dry, dark place (and a desiccant to absorb any moisture that might be trickling in). To eat (or drink), simply add back water.

Freeze drying is a long, costly process.

Now let’s look at this Granola meal.

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

  • Excellent taste and texture as if the meal was (somewhat) freshly made (including the taste of blueberries)
  • Easy to prepare: just add water (cold or hot), wait up to 10 minutes, then eat straight from the pouch
  • Long shelf life of over 30 years
  • Light to carry
  • Eaten meal leaves only the pouch behind that you can easily carry back to civilization for proper disposal/recycling
  • Excellent item to have for survival/emergency use
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Packs a LOT of calories, enough for 2 people
Nutritional Facts /Mountain House

Nutritional Facts /Mountain House

Cons

  • Packs a LOT of calories and can be too much for a single person
  • Contains a LOT of sugar (60% naturally of daily value plus an additional 30% = 90% at 47g)
    • When backpacking in the wilderness or when surviving, this is not an issue unless you are diabetic
  • Needs access to water (or snack with no liquid at all)
  • Relatively expensive

Final Thoughts

Freeze-dried food is an EXCELLENT way to bring delicious meals on the go for camping, hiking, survival, or office snack. Packed full of calories, they are excellent for those types of activities (maybe not as an office snack if you are watching your weight or blood sugar level). They are long-lasting, easy to store, easy to prepare, and easy to dispose of. Environmentally, they may not be the best option as they take a lot of energy to make, and thus are also relatively costly. This Granola meal tastes great, and if you have access to wild berries on the trail, they can enhance the taste further. Just be sure to know how to POSITIVELY identity wild fruit as some poisonous ones can look deceptively edible.

Where To Buy

Our Mountain House Recommendations

My friends and I have been backpacking for a long time and have tried many packable meals and brands. When it comes to freeze-dried food, Mountain House is unanimously our favorite.

Tip: Add olive oil to further enhance the flavor!

Credit: Mountain House

Credit: Mountain House

Tasty

  • Noodles and Chicken
  • Pasta with Meat Sauce
  • Chicken with Ribs and Mashed Potatoes (by far our most favorite)
    • Tip: Save the mashed potatoes for breakfast or incorporate into another meal. Then add water to the chicken for a delicious pouch of chicken soup.
  • Chicken a la King
  • Mac and Cheese (Kraft is cheaper)
  • Chili Mac with Beef
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Pasta Primavera

Thank you for supporting us by buying Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases, and you will NOT be paying more by doing so.

  • Beef Teriyaki with Rice
  • Chicken Teriyaki with Rice
  • Chicken Stew
    • Contains cubes of potatoes, making this meal quite filling
  • Lasagna with Meat Sauce
  • Wheat and Wild Rice
  • Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
  • Granola with Milk & Blueberries
  • Neapolitan Icecream

Acceptable

  • Lasagna with Meat Sauce
  • Mexican Style Rice and Beans and Chicken
  • Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (portion is skimpy)

Thank you for supporting us by buying Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases, and you will NOT be paying more by doing so.