What would you do with a big storage amount of emergency-ration meals that you inherited?

My mother is the conspiracy-theorist type and is convinced that famine or civil war may be coming (in America,) and has stockpiled an immense amount of survival food - meals that she either cooked and freeze-dried herself, or bought as emergency-rations (the kind of food that is dehydrated, in MRE-like packs.) All this stuff can last 20-30 years.

I’m expecting that when she passes away, the large stockpile of food will still remain. Inheritance time, my sibs and I would split it up, unless they don’t care for it. I don’t mind eating my way through it and saving grocery money for 1-2 years, but does anyone else have any suggestions?

Food bank?

I doubt the food banks will take food she cooked and freeze-dried herself and, frankly, I’d be pretty leery about eating them myself.

MRE packs are a different story. And if they’re the kind that have little toiletry kits along with the food, those can be great for indigent people. Just call first and make sure your org of choice wants them. If a food bank won’t take them, a church or other group certainly will. Likewise for the freeze-dried stuff.

If you want to ensure this stuff will last long enough to be donated, you might want to check on storage conditions. MREs last a long time when properly stored, but a lot of people forget that and kind of just leave 'em in plastic bins in the garage or attic.

I’d eat it. I have a friend who works at a meat packing plant. Every so often he gets soon-to-expire food for free. He recently gave me a ton of Italian hot sausage. I throw 18 on the grill, then refrigerate. For a few weeks I eat hot sausage for lunch every day.

Sell the commercially produced stuff to other crazy people, I mean, sagacious preppers. Eat the stuff you like. Toss the rest.

Y2K hole in my barn floor full of emergency rations tells the tale of discovering an emergency food cache 16 years after it was placed.

We hauled the stuff to the ̶d̶u̶m̶p̶ recycling center.

What Tired_and_Cranky said. Eat what you want. Sell the commercial stuff. Recycle/sell any canning jars and rings.

Yeah, homemade freeze-dried food is a lottery ticket with a very undesirable payoff. I’d chuck it.

Send it to Steve.
“Let’s get this out on a tray.”

What? No fruitcake?

  1. Keep some for your own needs - I mean, seriously, a week or two of emergency foods is not a bad idea because Stuff Can Happen. I also agree 20-30 years worth is excessive.
  2. Give some away to friends/relatives who may be interested
  3. Send some to a local food bank/pantry. These will probably only be interested in commercially made items.
  4. Sell or barter the remainder to preppers. A lot of them are on-line these days.

For clarification, I meant the food can (ostensibly) survive 20-30 years, not that we have 20-30 years’ worth of food. I’d guess we’ll have maybe 2 years’ worth of meals.

And yes, I do intend to keep a few weeks or months’ worth around. But after reading the replies in this thread I am questioning whether the home-cooked-and-dried meals my mother is making will even be safe to eat.

It depends on how they were made.

If she has a proper device, which quickly freezes the food solid and then sublimates out the moisture while still fully frozen, and since then there’s no risk the food rehydrated or thawed, then it’s probably okay. But if she bodged together a jerry-rigged home version, or if storage was dodgy, I wouldn’t trust it.

Actually, it’s OK - but only IF you remain aware of proper storage and limits to edibility. Perfectly possible to dry food yourself that will remain safe to eat 6-24 months IF you know how to do it AND store it properly.

Older than that? Compost heap. Let nature’s clean up crew do their job to recycle it.

ETA: There are differences between “dried/dehydrated” food and “freeze-dried” food that I didn’t want to get bogged down in. Both can be made at home, but the home-made varieties have a notably shorter time for safe consumption than the commercial varieties.

Heh, jinx.

Like I said, if it was done properly, it’s likely okay. But if I don’t know it was done properly, I’ll assume it wasn’t.

That was gonna be my suggestion.

She did buy a dehydrator machine (probably cost a couple thousand dollars) and seals it in airtight packs. I’m not too sure about the process.

But I am not sure how long the food is truly survivable. She’s already spent huge money and I want her to stop if it’s going to be a waste.

Sell the commercial stuff online. Not only preppers, but also hunters, hikers and campers will be interested.

That’s going to be the challenge, I expect. Based on what you’ve described, it’s pretty clear that she’s gone all-in on fears of a coming apocalypse, and I would not be surprised if continuing to “prep” is hard-wired in her mind right now.

Sell them on eBay