Meal Planning a Decade in Advance
The easiest way to stock a planned menu of Mountain House food for storing an indeterminate number of years is to buy meal kits containing enough food for one person for a set number of days. The three-day package, for example, includes nine meals: three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners, all different. The packs even include dessert. On the downside, there will be quite a bit of repetition if you start cycling through the Mountain House three-day or seven-day kits, which contain the same meals.
Reviewing the list of available foods and planning your own menus will enable you to build an inventory suited to your personal taste.
Storage, Equipment and Food Safety
Mountain House survival foods need to be stored in a dry, sanitary location where the temperature does not exceed 80 degrees for a prolonged period of time. Cans and pouches should be stored securely where they will not be dented or punctured, which will ruin the contents.
Along with the food, you'll need at least 1 gallon of potable (safe to drink) water per person per day.
Pack two to three sturdy, reliable can openers. Mechanical two-handled openers are convenient and easy to use, but a manual, single-blade opener, like the kind on a Swiss Army knife, are more reliable.
Stainless steel saucepans are necessary for holding and rehydrating your survival food as well as scouring pads for cleaning them.
Stirring spoons, utensils and plates should round out the list of equipment.
If you have a camping stove, you'll need extra fuel and a schedule for checking the fuel to ensure you have a fresh supply. A survival situation is not the time to discover that your fuel evaporated last year. As an alternative, you can stock a supply of water-heating pouches available from Mountain House and most camping supply stores. These foil pouches contain chemicals that, when mixed, produce heat than can increase water temperature by approximately 100 degrees F. That's well below the 212-degree-F boiling point of water but hot enough to rehydrate survival food. Each pouch is good for about five uses.
Preparing Survival Food
Mountain House foods are freeze-dried and fully cooked. The meals are prepared either by tearing open a pouch or opening a can and pouring the contents into a saucepan, then adding the amount of boiling water listed on the preparation instructions with each food package. Even if boiling water is unavailable, the foods will still be safe to eat, if perhaps not as palatable, using room-temperature water. Most Mountain House foods need to sit in boiling water for 10 minutes before stirring and eating.
You can improve the taste by preparing vacuum-packed spice pouches to complement different meals. Salt and pepper are staples, but foods such as beef stroganoff and chili mac will have more flavor if you have a few seasoning packs of oregano, basil, chili powder and cayenne pepper, for example.