How Long are MREs Good for?

How Long are MREs Good for?
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For most people in a pinch, MREs are life-savers. MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat and is an absolute necessity when packing up for your next adventure.

Some MREs are homemade, while others are mass-produced. Many come in sealed preservation packages that prevent any oxidation. Your homemade solutions may have some limitations concerning their expiration date. However, the MREs that you’ll find in specialized military equipment stores can last for decades with proper handling.

What is my MRE’s expiration date?

Manufacturers are obliged by law to indicate the expiration date on the container of every MRE. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story, as most MREs are made from simple ingredients that won’t go bad, no matter the external conditions.

Homemade MREs, like pemmican, do not have any such notice. Besides, it doesn’t need one, because homemade MREs are made from natural products that contain zero preservatives. This can give you a chance to have a more sophisticated relationship with MREs, especially considering how fat and other substances can tremendously increase their lifespans.

On the other hand, there is always the necessity to keep the MREs away of extreme moisture and direct sunlight. This is because you don’t want to expose them to acute temperature differences that can make them go off quickly.

No general rule exists for homemade MREs, but typically, they should be packed in thick wraps and opened only when you need to consume the right portion.

What can you do to increase the lifespan of MREs?

When making your own MREs, like pemmican and other substances, you have to make sure that you’re always keeping food safety in mind. In other words, there is a necessity to keep your food away from external pathogenic microorganisms and germs that may infect your MREs.

When your MRE does go bad, it will be obvious from the smell of it. In the case of MREs that are bought from specialized stores, you’ll need to take a few steps in helping them last longer.

When you’re in the wilderness, you can find a basin of running water and place them in there. This will act as a natural refrigerator and lower the MRE’s internal temperature. This is great for hot days, and you can substantially prolong the expiry date of these products with this method.

Additionally, pay close attention to any new marks or scratches on the metal of your MREs. Be sure to seal even the scratches before they endure any more trauma and become full-blown holes and allow oxygen to contaminate your food. Finally, you’ll never know just how far off your MRE is until you open the lid and check. Staying on top of the health of your MRE will give you the opportunity to source more food before it’s too late.

MREs are an excellent source of energy in the wild. Make sure to always take the right precautions when preparing and preserving your MREs, and never to consume any more than necessary.

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One word: survival. That's what this blog is about. Dave Turner here but you can just call me Dave. I'm a survival expert, prepper, and avid writer. Get all the tips you need to survive in the wild and get the best in-depth reviews on all sorts of survival products on my site. Thanks for reading and always be prepared!

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