Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Product Review - Valley Food Storage

Food products are tough to review.  Simply, most reviews depend on individual tastes, which vary largely from one person to another.  That being said, I have reviewed food packages in the past that were OK and acceptable by my standards, as well as those of my family...and believe me, 5 year olds can be pretty picky!

Another issue with these food packages is that so many of them come from the US.  I have always tried to keep things on this blog as Canadian as possible, so when the folks over at Valley Food Storage contacted me about reviewing their products, I had a few questions for them regarding shipping issues.  They replied back quickly enough and assured me that they do ship product to Canada on a regular basis and have experienced no issues in regards to delays, or customs.

I received the package in about a week's time from the day I got the shipping notice.  It was a variety pack which included 4 packets...

Strawberry Cream of Wheat (5 servings)
Multigrain Cereal (5 servings)
Pasta Primavera (2 servings)
Enchalada Beans and Rice (2 servings)

So, let's get into these pouches and check them out one by one...

First off, we'll look at the strawberry cream of wheat.

I know the camera on the laptop isn't the best, but you can probably tell that it looks a bit watery.  That's because after following the instructions on the package, the result was a thick goop at the bottom of the bowl with a foamy water on top.  Waiting longer and stirring didn't help.  This was disappointing, as there was an inviting aroma of strawberries.  Believe me, the aroma was all there strawberry taste whatsoever.  

Next, let's try the Multigrain cereal.

As you can see from the picture, I am using my butane camp stove for this review because that is what I will likely be using AT BEST when I need to get into my 25 year storage food.  Again, this cereal just didn't take up the water the way you would think it should.  The end result was a bland, thin bowl of plain grains.  As a matter of fact, this one went into the dog dish, and the pouches EVENTUALLY ate it up.

After 2 less than successful attempts at breakfast, time for the entres.

We'll start off with the Enchilada Beans and Rice.

This time, the directions offered an option for a thicker product by using 1/2 cup less water. Having learned my lesson already, I figured that would be a good idea to try.  After the recommended cook time (15 - 18 minutes) and the recommended stand time (another 5 to 7 minutes) I ended up with a bowl of something that looked quite appetizing.  I expected undercooked beans, but I was wrong.  The beans were tender, but the FD vegetables seemed a little tough, which is a common problem with these types of foods.  Unfortunately, it didn't take long for my palate to become overwhelmed with the taste of salt.  Another thing I notices was that I had a decent sized portion in front of me, but it was supposed to be a serving for 2...ok, maybe as a side dish, but definitely NOT for a meal, with this entire bowl packing a mere 460 calories.

Last, but  not the worst (fortunately) comes the Pasta Primavera.

Again, we can see a decent sized bowl of pasta here, but remember...that's 2 servings.  The sauce looked a little on the thin side, even after the recommended standing time, but once it cooled an extra minute or 2 in the bowl, it turned out all right.  The pasta had a good texture and the sauce actually had a cheesy flavor, not overwhelmingly salty, and was overall not bad!  The FD peas however, did cook a little unevenly with some being perfectly tender, and others being a tad crunchy still.  I have to admit that I did eventually eat the entire bowl as I sat down to write this review, so I guess we could call this one a success.

In general, I wasn't impressed with this line of food storage.  Sure, there was one good dish, but I would not pay the $11.95 US for what is supposed to be 2 servings.  Unfortunately, these products turned out to be overpriced and underwhelming.

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