TRUST HONEYVILLE WHEN YOU’RE HUN­GRY

Hearty, freeze-dried meals are por­ta­ble taste treats.

American Survival Guide - - CONTENTS - By Dana Benner

About three weeks ago, I re­ceived an e-mail from my editor ask­ing me to do a prod­uct re­view on the Honeyville com­pany and its long-term stor­age line of foods. The e-mail caught me off guard, be­cause he knows I don’t of­ten do prod­uct re­views. If I men­tion a prod­uct in an ar­ti­cle, it is be­cause I use it, have used it in the past or have seen it used. If I don’t like a prod­uct, I gen­er­ally don’t write about it at all. Nev­er­the­less, af­ter some se­ri­ous thought, I in­formed him I would write the ar­ti­cle. All I needed to do was get my hands on the prod­uct. I de­cided to do my home­work on Honeyville while I waited for the prod­uct to ar­rive. Be­fore now, I had never heard of the com­pany; and, to be hon­est, I had some se­ri­ous doubts. Be­tween the grow­ing emer­gency pre­pared­ness trend, the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse craze and the get-back-to­na­ture move­ment, freeze-dried, vac­uum-sealed food com­pa­nies are pop­ping up out of nowhere. Un­til I dug deeper, I fig­ured that Honeyville was just an­other Johnny-come-lately pack­aged food com­pany. I was sur­prised when I learned it has a rich his­tory that dates back to the 1940s (see the side­bar on page 96). This gave me some hope, but I still had to wait un­til I got the prod­uct to find out for sure. The box from Honeyville fi­nally ar­rived, and I opened it to in­spect its con­tents. Within the box were three pack­ages of prod­uct and a let­ter from Bren­den Haueter, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing for Honeyville. The sam­ples I re­ceived included Rice With Teriyaki Chicken, Mex­i­can Style Rice With Chicken and Rotini Chicken Pri­mav­era With Zuc­chini. Ob­vi­ously, chicken com­prises the pro­tein part of these meals. The let­ter from Bren­den ba­si­cally explained the la­bel­ing on the pack­ages. The pack­ages I re­ceived were la­beled “Hearty Food Stor­age,” which was Honeyville’s orig­i­nal line. Go­ing for­ward, they will be la­beled as “Hearty Out­doors,” the com­pany’s new brand. It is the same food un­der dif­fer­ent brand­ing that is in­tended to at­tract more hunters, fish­er­men, campers—and yes, sur­vival­ists and prep­pers. For me, and I am sure for most Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide read­ers, the la­bel is the least im­por­tant part. What re­ally mat­ters is what is in­side and how we can make it work to suit our needs. That is what the rest of this ar­ti­cle will cover.

SIZE

The size and weight are of great im­por­tance to me. Right off the bat, I no­ticed the size of

THE SAM­PLES I RE­CEIVED INCLUDED RICE WITH TERIYAKI CHICKEN, MEX­I­CAN STYLE RICE WITH CHICKEN AND ROTINI CHICKEN PRI­MAV­ERA WITH ZUC­CHINI. OB­VI­OUSLY, CHICKEN COM­PRISES THE PRO­TEIN PART OF THESE MEALS.

the pack­ages that had been sent to me. Each pack­age pro­vides enough food for four serv­ings. With a dry weight av­er­ag­ing 8.5 ounces, these pack­ages are, for me, a bit large for car­ry­ing on a scout or in my bug-out bag. Granted, you can open the pack­age and sep­a­rate the food into in­di­vid­ual bags, but that kind of de­feats the ben­e­fit of the long-term pack­ag­ing. Other prod­uct lines of sur­vival food I have used con­tain enough for two serv­ings, at the most. I made a call to Bren­dan and explained my con­cern. Bren­dan as­sured me that the com­pany re­al­izes this, so the new prod­uct line will also be of­fered in smaller sizes. The four-serv­ing size is based on peo­ple stor­ing food away for emer­gen­cies. That ex­plains a great deal. With that said, the Hearty Out­doors food would be a good fit for use at your base camp or shel­ter and/or if you were try­ing to feed more than two peo­ple at a time.

PACK­AG­ING

The en­tire rea­son for pack­ag­ing is to keep the con­tents safe from dam­age—and, in the case of emer­gency sur­vival food, to keep the prod­uct fresh for an ex­tended pe­riod of time. The last thing you want is to have your food con­tainer fail while you are on the move. The Honeyville food pack­ag­ing seems to be able to pre­vent this. The pack­age is a fairly non­de­script foil. In ad­di­tion, with­out me be­ing able to per­form a long-term stor­age test, it looks ca­pa­ble of keep­ing the food safe from dam­age or spoilage. The top cor­ner has a notch for easy open­ing. This is a good thing: As any­one who has had to open one with their knife can ver­ify, you usu­ally end up with a big mess. Af­ter open­ing, the pack­age can be closed via its durable zip-seal. While this will help pre­serve any re­main­ing con­tents of the pack­age for a limited time, once the pack­age is open, no mat­ter how se­cure the re-seal­ing method, the con­tents are com­pro­mised by the el­e­ments. I wouldn’t open a pack­age un­less I were pre­pared to use ev­ery­thing in it. Of course, this would not be a prob­lem with the smaller, two-serv­ing pack­ages.

PREPA­RA­TION

Prepa­ra­tion is pretty easy. It is made even eas­ier by hav­ing the di­rec­tions printed right on the pack­age.

Simply open the pack­age, add boil­ing water to the con­tents, and al­low it to heat and re­hy­drate for about 10 min­utes. Ev­ery­thing can be ac­com­plished right in the pouch. It doesn’t get any sim­pler than that, right? To pre­pare the en­tire four serv­ings the pack­age holds, you will need 2 2/3 cups of boil­ing water. If you are only pre­par­ing two serv­ings, you ob­vi­ously cut that in half. The prob­lem here is that the typical mil­i­tary-style can­teen and most water bot­tles you would carry in your pack only hold 1 quart (4 cups) of water or fewer. If you are on the move, you will need to use over half the water you are car­ry­ing to pre­pare one meal. An­other is­sue is that this food re­quires you to use boil­ing water (nowhere does it say any­thing dif­fer­ent). This means you will need to stop and ei­ther make a fire or use some other heat source to boil the water. It is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story back at base camp. Af­ter a day of scout­ing for ad­di­tional sup­plies, there is noth­ing bet­ter than a hot meal. It is good for morale, so this is where this prod­uct would re­ally shine. In base camp, you can af­ford to have a fire or stove go­ing to al­low you to heat the water; in fact; you should be boil­ing your water be­fore drink­ing it any­way.

THE FOOD

When you are pick­ing food to go into your emer­gency sup­plies, you need to be as dili­gent as you would be with the food you nor­mally eat: If you are al­ler­gic to cer­tain foods or have health prob­lems, you need to take that into con­sid­er­a­tion. Re­mem­ber that in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion,

med­i­cal help might not be available—so don’t put your­self into that sit­u­a­tion. I am not too con­cerned about calo­ries, be­cause in a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion, calo­ries are what will help keep you alive. Be­sides, you’ll prob­a­bly burn most of them off. What does con­cern me is the amount of salt included in sur­vival ra­tions. In ev­ery pack­age I re­ceived from Honeyville, I found that each serv­ing pro­vides from 23 to 25 per­cent of the daily rec­om­mended in­take of sodium. Yes, the hu­man body needs salt; and yes, you will ex­pel salt through sweat, but where do you draw the line? While this is in the range of sim­i­lar Moun­tain House meals, some other foods I have in my stores av­er­age well un­der 20 per­cent. The Hearty Out­doors meals could be used as your pri­mary food source, but it will most likely be a sup­ple­ment to other sup­plies you’ve as­sem­bled for long-term nu­tri­tional needs. If you are re­ly­ing en­tirely upon this or any other emer­gency food, you have other prob­lems that are much greater than too much salt. That said, it’s im­por­tant to note that all the meat used in Hearty Out­doors prod­ucts—the pro­tein source that will keep you func­tion­ing—comes from Usda-in­spected and -ap­proved sources, usu­ally lo­cated in the United States. Whether it is chicken, beef or pork, you know it is safe to eat.

TASTE

Taste is one of those things that is up to the in­di­vid­ual. I found the taste of these prod­ucts was well above that of other freeze-dried food I have used; in fact, I ac­tu­ally like it. While some emer­gency food tastes a great deal like card­board, the Hearty Out­doors prod­ucts are very good. Of course, when choos­ing emer­gency sur­vival food, I am look­ing more for what will keep me alive than how good it tastes. How­ever, I have to ad­mit that this food was tasty.

BOT­TOM LINE

Hearty Out­doors prod­ucts will find a home in my sup­plies in an­tic­i­pa­tion of an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion. I hope I will never have to rely solely upon my emer­gency sur­vival sup­plies to keep my fam­ily and my­self alive. I hope I will be able to hunt, fish, grow and for­age for the food we need and only rely upon these ra­tions to make up the difference. Un­til you can get con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion, what­ever that might be, you will have to fall back on your sup­plies. The prod­ucts from Honeyville’s Hearty Out­doors brand will keep you and your fam­ily alive—and do so with­out giv­ing up the lux­ury and morale boost of tasty meals. Af­ter all, isn’t that what it is all about?

i Be­low: When hunt­ing, you should al­ways bring along some food in case you come up short or if you want to turn a meal in the woods into a feast.

i Right: At base camp, a propane stove such as this Camp Chef Ever­est en­ables you to heat plenty of water for larger vol­umes of food.

h Left: As long as you can heat up water, you have a meal.

h Above, left: The re­seal­able zip clo­sure al­lows you to take what you need and then close the pack­age to pro­tect the un­used food.

h Above, right: In­side the pack­age you will find all sorts of freezedried good­ness. This meal uses chicken as its pro­tein source.

i Be­low, right: Chicken is one of the pri­mary pro­tein sources in Honeyville meals. i Be­low, left: Pork is a great pro­tein source and is found in some of Honeyville’s meals.

i Right: Beef and dairy, al­most all of which is sourced in the United States, are also com­po­nents of some of Honeyville’s meals.

Right: In ad­di­tion to its tasty sur­vival meals, Honeyville of­fers a wide se­lec­tion of grains, bak­ing in­gre­di­ents, canned foods and other prod­ucts to stock your prepper pantry,

Above: The Honeyville plant in Ran­cho Cu­ca­monga, Cal­i­for­nia, is a very busy place.

Left: The Honeyville plant pro­cesses a wide va­ri­ety of foods, grains and meals—all to high qual­ity and pu­rity stan­dards.

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