Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Survival Food Test - Off the Shelf - Instant Refried Beans

Having food items that can serve a variety of purposes can help increase your level of efficiency of your food storage. A simple can of beans works great for home storage. If you have to bug out, something a little lighter and easier to carry make be more suitable. This is where having dehydrated food can save you time and effort.

RW, Jr. and I are always looking for backpacking food that is convenient and easy to fix. Unfortunately, most dehydrated meal packets contain enough servings to feed a small army because of their larger portions. It also helps if you don’t have to violate the storage integrity of the larger food packet that is normally intended for long term storage. 

Many times there are products that can be found sitting on the shelf at your local supermarket that will solve these problems. For the purposes of this test, we will be using a small package of instant (dehydrated) refried beans straight off the shelf for our survival food test.

The package of dehydrated refried beans we used weighed a total of 7.25 ounces and came packaged in a Mylar pouch that can be resealed. The single serving size was 1/3 cup dry mix (or about 4 heaping teaspoons) combined with 1/3 cup of water (about 3 ounces). This makes a serving (or two) easily prepared in a GSI cup that many backpackers use. The contents do provide a sufficient quantity of product that will make a total of six servings. This would be more than sufficient for a single meal that would provide enough for a family of four. 

With 140 calories per serving that include 2 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein, this a pretty powerful serving of food that includes vitamin C and iron. This is a pretty well balanced serving as far as simple nutrition is concerned.

It was easily prepared by just adding hot water, stirring the ingredients and then letting it set for a few minutes to allow the beans to rehydrate. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.

When the size and weight was compared, it would take two 16 ounce cans of refried beans to get the same number of servings that were in a single pouch of instant refried beans. The cost of the instant pouch is about twice the cost of two cans of refried beans. You do need to remember that you can buy these packages individually and don’t have to buy a big bucket all at once. This could work in your favor if you are on a tight budget.

Summary of Test Results

The instant refried beans win in the number of servings (6 in a pouch versus 3 in a can) and also save a lot in the weight department (7 ounces versus 2 lbs.) but are more costly (about twice the cost of the canned version). The instant refried beans have a shelf life similar to the canned product and they actually taste very similar to each other. I personally could not tell a difference between the canned version and the instant refried beans.

As a long term storage food, this product works well. It also works great as a backpacking food and could be easily added to your bug out bag as a simple to prepare meal that is also a nutritious food item. It also doesn't add a lot of weight to your bug out bag.

Got instant food?

Staying above the water line!



Chief Instructor said...

I did a post a few years back on dehydrating your own beans.


I still do it with some regularity. When making up a batch of beans, cook up an extra pound, and throw them in the dehydrator. Pop them in the Foodsaver, and they seem to last forever, although I'm sure there's some limit!

Ken said...

...yea, i did the side by side on these also, i too could not see/taste the difference(comparison/taste test influences decision)...anyway, i always do a side by side, like tuna, those envelopes of tune much more pack friendly than cans, taste better/easier too...throw in a vend pack of condiments of choice and i got a meal at the trout stream...

Anonymous said...

If rice were not so bland by itself, it would also be a good canidate for ideal BOB food. Freezing it for a week to kill the insect larvae inside the package then parting the portion out to snack sized baggies of it, along with some spices is a low cost easy to cook meal.

vlad said...

Grind dried beans in your Corona corn mill, or electric blender, to add to corn bread batter, to add to corn meal mush or cook refried beans..
Pinto beans one cup 41 protein grams
Lentils one cup 49 protein grams.
Dried corn one cup 10 grams protein.

EssentialPreps said...

I haven't try it yet. I think its worth to grab this Instant Refried Beans.

Romilda Gareth said...


Julie Smith said...

I have one thing in common with you guys, which is constant search for backpacking food that is not only convenient but easy to fix. I like what you have shared, especially the serving part. You guys are really experienced; I will put your information to good use. I also checked out this post on long shelf life foods: http://survival-mastery.com/diy/food_preserv/long-shelf-life-foods.html

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