Can You Make Your Own MREs?

MREs are an emergency preppers best friend. If you have to get out of there quickly, having MREs in your bug out bag means that you can go anywhere knowing that you can survive in, at least, the short term.

For those unfamiliar with MREs, the term stands for Meals Ready to Eat. It’s a military term for field rations that soldiers kept on their person so that they could continue to travel and/or fight without having to worry about food acquisition or preparation.

First, you’ll want to start with ingredients with a long shelf life. Gaye Levy recommends considering these ingredients as good choices because of their shelf-life up to ten years:

  • Buckwheat
  • Dry corn
  • Kamut
  • Hard red wheat
  • Soft white wheat
  • Millet
  • Durum wheat
  • Spelt
  • Barley
  • Oat groats
  • Quino
  • Rye
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Mung beans
  • Black turtle beans
  • Blackeye beans
  • All purpose flour
  • White flour
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Pasta
  • White rice
  • Coconut oil

You’ll notice lots of beans in that list, which makes sense not only for their longevity but also because beans can be an excellent source of protein when meat is not easily obtainable (or if you are a vegetarian).

Once you have your meal made on these foundational foods, consider also adding eating utensils (such as silverware or plasticware) and bottled water to your MRE.

From that point, you need to find an effective way to store your MRE. Many people think of MREs as being in mylar bags, which is common for prepacked MREs, but you can also choose to can it or use food grade buckets. Whatever you use, you’ll want to make sure that you have an oxygen absorber to prevent oxygen from getting into your MRE because oxygen will cause the decomposition process to begin (or continue, if already started). Mylar bags, fortunately, have an oxygen absorber already built into them.

Whichever way you choose to store your MRE, now may be a good time to get started on putting them together. The first few that you make are going to take you longer due to the learning curve in the process, but, if you start now, then you’ll have a head start on making sure that you’re ready to survive a disaster situation when it happens.


  • Ralph Bascom

    This article was supposed to be educational?? If you want to write something educational, please know your subject matter and actually teach something. BTW, Mylar bags DO NOT have a built in oxygen absorber in them.

  • Charles Valenzuela

    What part of the stuff on your list falls into the “READY TO EAT” catagory? None, you moron. A jar of peanut butter is “READY TO EAT”. Waiting for wheat to sprout or beans to soak and booil isn’t ready to eat.