Prepper Food Storage Review – Valley Foods
When outside companies ask me to do a review of their products, I sometimes have just a little bit of trepidation. For example, what happens if the company sends me their product and I do not like it? That could lead to some awkward moments. So I have tried to be selective of what products I review. There have been products I have turned down for this very reason. Anything that I recommend on this site are products/gear/supplies that I have, own, use, and would stand behind.
So when Valley Food Storage approached me to do a review some of their long-term food storage products, there was a bit of anxiety. What if we tried the food and didn’t like it? What if the product was not up to standards?
Still, having stored a lot of beans, rice, and flour, I also knew that if the grid went down for a long time, food boredom is a very real problem. Valley Food Storage has a pretty wide variety of foods. So I decided that I’d give it a try. I agreed to trying it and writing a review. The fact that their products have no MSGs, GMOs, and that they have a gluten-free options was a big reason I decided to give it a go.
So on a Sunday afternoon, my mother and I sat down in her kitchen, and cooked everything they sent us. From almost the get-go, I realized that my apprehension was completely UNFOUNDED! Just smelling the food as we opened the bags help to set my mind at ease. I was not disappointed!
Valley Food Storage sent me 4 entrées and 3 fruits to try. 3 of the 4 entries came in a thick Mylar bags that are vacuum sealed. We noticed that all the bags are resealable. If you only use part of the contents, you can “zip-lock” the bags shut to help them stay fresh. Unopened, the food is guaranteed for up to 25 years. But being able to reseal between uses is nice.
For this review, both my mother and myself will be adding our comments. For Cheryl L’s part of the review, it will be in quotes. Also note that she has purchased long-term food storage similar to these from other companies. So she will be comparing Valley Foods to the other companies products that she has.
We decided to try the fruit first. We had pineapple, apple, and raspberry. You can eat all of these straight out of the bag, so we did. The raspberries were a bit tart, but the apple and pineapple were wonderful. After soaking in hot water and then cold water for a few minutes, the raspberries were very good. A little tart, but they tasted very fresh. I did not notice any added sugar or other crap you might find when you buy fruit at a big box grocery store. To me, this fruit tasted more “pure”.
We also re-hydrated the fruit and sampled it. They were outstanding re-hydrated as well.
For freeze-dried fruit, we were surprised by just how fresh they tasted. This was a HUGE hit for my parents, and I promised I’d leave them the unused portion we didn’t use. I’m sure it won’t last long though.
As I stated above, you can eat the fruit straight out of the pouch and it tastes great…though I’d re-hydrate the raspberries…unless you like tart. But for a light weight food to toss in a bug out bag, you can eat these on the go.
We started out with sampling the freeze-dried fruit of pineapple, apples and raspberries. We carry fruit in our 72 hour kits and plan on consuming right out of the package. I found that Valley’s pineapple was very good as is, but even better when re-hydrated. I think it is superior to the other brand.
The apples were also excellent both in the dry and re-hydrated form. I think the apples were probably my favorite. The raspberries were quite tart to me and came in third. But, it is obvious that Valley uses very good fruit especially the raspberries.
For the entrées, we received Pasta Primavera, White Bean & Lime Chili, Irish Pub Style Cheddar Potato soup, and a gluten-free butter pancake mix. When I agreed to do the review, I asked Valley Food Storage to send me something Gluten-free. My mother has trouble processing gluten. So the pancakes, soup, and the bean and chili were gluten-free.
Each pouch contained 5 portions. I will say this up front, the portions did seem a bit small to me. But in reality, every pre-packaged food you buy has small portions. We just never pay attention to them. That could be part of why over 1/3 of American adults are considered obese. Still, I figured that you could feed two average adults with the contents of one pouch. You wouldn’t be “Thanksgiving dinner full”, but you would not leave the table hungry either.
With these entrées, all you have to add is water and heat. However, you can add things such as meat like chicken or beef to help increase the size of the portions. For example, we added an egg to the pancake batter, though you do not have to.
We decided to do the pasta first. We added boiling water to the contents and let it set for 12 to 15 minutes. After the allotted time, we did have to cook the pasta a bit longer. But we decided that we should add the contents to the boiling water in a hot pan as opposed to adding boiling water to the contents in a cold pan.
Once we got the pasta to the consistency we liked, we had some. Having had things like MREs and such before, I was anticipating some along those lines. I was wrong.
The pasta had a wonderful flavor and texture. It didn’t have that “freeze-dried” taste, but instead tasted fresh. So it was a pleasant surprise for me.
Irish Pub Style Cheddar Potato
This was what I was really looking forward to (I LOVE cheese and potato soup.) Again, I was not disappointed. It had a wonderful, cheesy flavor to it, although we had to cook it longer than the directions stated to get to the consistency we preferred. I did wish that the potatoes were a bit bigger, but I understand that being freeze-dried and needing it to be light weight you aren’t going to get HUGE potato chunks. So for an emergency, freeze-dried meal, it was excellent!
White Bean & Lime Chili
Out of the 4 entrées, this one had the most flavor to it. It actually had a bit of a kick to it. I like a little kick, so I was pleasantly surprised by it. My mother is not as big a fan of spicy as I am, but she still found it delicious. So the kick was not overdone. Like the Cheddar Potato soup, we did have to cook this a bit longer to get the consistency we wanted. But once we did I realized that the beans were good-sized and had a nice texture.
This we did last. And as I mentioned above, we added an egg (fresh from a chicken that morning). You have to let the batter sit a few minutes to thicken before you make the pancakes. But with in just a few minutes, the batter gets quite thick. And the pancakes raise nicely as well.
The pancakes had an excellent texture to them. I’ll be honest here, the pancakes were probably my least favorite of the 4. They tasted more like a crêpe to me than a pancakes. But again, these are gluten-free. And I am NOT on a gluten-free diet. Extra gluten for me please!!
Still, the pancakes did have a nice taste to them, and were still delicious with a little butter and syrup.
As Good as Mom Makes?
My mother did the cooking, and she also sampled all the food. I listed her thoughts on the fruit above, but want to give you her opinion on the entrées here.
I would rate the Primavera as my first choice of the three entrées and it again outranked the other food storage company in the pasta and the sauce. My second favorite was the potato soup which was hearty with a good blend of spices. I had no comparison for the Lime Chile to the other company I have used.
The beans and chili was a spicy third place for me, but I was quite pleased with it, especially the beans. They tasted fresh.
I am now confessing that I am gluten intolerant, so in this taste-tasting these I was stepping outside my normal diet restraints. I must say that all the food was a taste treat and worth sampling them. Valley was thoughtful and sent their gluten-free pancakes mix and the pancakes were absolutely delicious. They have the texture of a pancake, but the sweet taste of a crêpe. It was not tough, but light and fluffy in texture. It is a very well-done product. The pancakes were hard for James to appreciate since he is not gluten-free, but I give it a definite A+.
She later told me that the fruit was a HUGE hit with my dad. His favorite entrée was the soup, though he too was impressed with the pasta and the beans and chili. She also stated that while she would continue to shop around with different food storage companies (depending upon which deals she can get) she would ABSOLUTELY be using Valley Food Storage too. In fact, I think a family member or two might be getting some for Christmas.
I have quite a bit in the way of long-term food storage. But most of that is in 50 lb bags of beans, rice, flour, oats, etc. All of it is long-term, and would help sustain my prep group for a long time. But the thought of having some extra, more flavorful food set back as well is appealing to me. Most folks don’t think about things like food boredom. (Cheryl says store some chocolate!)
In my younger days, I was a competitive body builder. This required me to follow a very strict diet, in which I ate the same foods almost every day. After weeks on end, I promise you it gets VERY old. To this day, I’m not very fond of tuna for this reason.
Anyway, Valley Food Storage was a pleasant surprise. The food all had great flavor to it, and did not have that “freeze-dried” taste. It tasted fresh. No GMOs or MSGs is a big plus too!
If I had to find one critique, it would be that you will most likely have to cook it a bit longer than the directions say to get the texture right. (Otherwise it can be a bit crunchy.) But in reality, having to cook it for 5 to 7 minutes longer than the directions say is not a big deal in my book. In fact, these meals would be wonderful using one of the off grid cooking methods I talk about here.
I’d urge you to visit their site and take a look at what all they have. You WON’T be disappointed!
Editor’s Note: The camera on my phone was NOT being cooperative that day, and many of the pics I took turned out blurry. So I apologize that I do not have more pics posted here.
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