These are all perfectly legitimate questions,and luckily I have been sent a sample pack of Legacy Premium freeze dried meals to check out for you...courtesy of Total Prepare Inc.
The sample pack consisted of four entrees of four servings each for a total of 16 servings with the following menu options:
Classic Chili Mix
Enchilada Beans and Rice
So let's take a look at a few of the main concerns most people have when it comes to freeze dried meals...
Don't be fooled by the size of the package. Once cooked, these meals are enough to go around. Calorie wise, each of these meals offered up between 320 and 420 calories, depending on the menu choice. Some entrees have even more per serving, just check around the website for complete nutritional information.
Nutritional information is printed on every package and is available on the website as well. Of course it varies by menu choice, but I found some pretty impressive percentages for daily intake in relation to calcium, vitamins, and iron. The salt content may seem a bit high, but under stress, you will be sweating more and needing to replace that sodium.
It really couldn't be much easier. All meals are prepared with water. For the entrees I tried, I used a butane camp stove, as this is one of my go to stoves for power outages and camping. The directions are easy, usually consisting of boiling water, adding contents of pouch, and simmer. Hey, it was so simple even I didn't mess it up! Don't forget though, there is an oxygen absorber in the pack that needs to be taken out first.
First of all, I want to mention that all Legacy products are GMO free...That means no frankenfood!
If you have specific dietary needs, each package lists possible alergens such as soy, milk, and wheat. For those of you who want a gluten free diet, there are options and packages specifically for you, as well as many vegetarian options.
Shelf life is 25 years, of course, depending on conditions. If you are concerned about leaving food in your bug out location through the typical Canadian winter,well this is likely a great option for you as the product is not affected by freezing. Once opened, the life of the food is about the same as anything you get at the grocery store so use it up in good time. This shouldn't be a problem as the pouches are usually 4 servings instead of bigger #10 cans. Leftovers should be refrigerated, but I never had any when I tried my samples.
OK, so enough beating around the bush...how does it taste! Personal preferences aside, they were pretty good. Don't expect the kind of foods that all the new foodie chefs are putting out in restaurants these days, but it was actually more tasty than comperable products from the supermarket like the Lipton Sidekicks...and there was more of it too. If I told you that it was better than my wife's cooking, not only would I be lying, but I would be looking for a divorce lawyer too. Then again, my wife has an extensive spice collection, lots of time to tweak her meals, and no stress from disasters to deal with when she gets in front of the stove...luxuries you won't have if you're breaking into these meals.
Freeze dried foods definitely have a place in a preppers food storage plans. The Legacy line has some great menu choices, tastes better than average, has a good shelf life, even when stored at an unheated and unattended BOL, and comes in easy to grab buckets, ideal for the grab and go bug out situation. As with anything, try it before you need to rely on it. I found the pasta dishes a little on the saucy side, but that is personal preference and easily dealt with by using a little less water or adjusting cooking or resting times. Also, if you want some meat to go in your chile, they have that too...actual meat that is, not textured vegetable protein!
Drop by Total Prepare to have a look at the various packages and get more information.