*Honeyville Hearty Outdoors Freeze-dried Meals Variety Pack Review*
By: Gottin_Himmel
30 March 2019

I was pretty excited when I found that Honeyville was offering variety packs of freeze-dried meals. I had always had good luck with their other products and couldn't wait to dig in.

Included were five four-person pouches containing:

But it was a mixed bag. Only the chicken primavera and the chicken noodle soup were things I might consider buying again. The other three meals seemed a little chronic as I labored my way through them.

First, the good news. The chicken primavera and chicken noodle soup tasted as if they contained real chicken and vegetables. The seasoning was just right if a little salty, a common failing with many dehydrated meals. On the other hand, you will be more active during an emergency situation and the extra sodium will help replace what you lose as you sweat.

Now, for the bad news. The Mexican-style rice with chicken was obviously heavy on the rice because it is listed as the first ingredient. It was like a treasure hunt looking for a stray bit of chicken scattered here and there. And the seasoning—where to begin? I was hoping for something spicy to liven things up. What I got instead was a very tame gringo mouthful of tomato-ish sauce that tasted vaguely soapy.

That's right—soapy, not soupy. I had two goes at the four servings and couldn't finish them. I think I threw out the final serving in disgust, it was that bad.

More bad news. The teriyaki chicken and seasoned barbecue pork suffered from the same flaws as the Mexican-style rice and chicken. If anything, they were worse because they seemed to contain even more salt than usual. And they both had that strange soapy undercurrent. I did managed to finish both pouches as prepared, but it was rough going even after I sprinkled them with hot sauce in a fit of desperation.

Perhaps I didn't shake the pouches quite enough to mix the seasoning with the rice and meat. I prepared the meals using the recommended quantity of water inside the pouches. Maybe mixing them up in a bowl would have improved the flavor by incorporating more oxygen into the food. That might have made a difference, but there is no accounting for the soapy taste in three of the five meals.

How in tarnation do you make a packaged meal taste like soap?

If you're feeling a little reckless and devil-may-care, this variety pack will serve 20 people. I will say that the servings are generous. Each serving works out to about $1.85 per serving as I write this. The shelf life of freeze-dried food in pouches is about two years, according to the sources I consulted. Of course, it is always wise to store them in a cool, dry and dark place.

I would highly recommend the chicken primavera and chicken noodle soup. I would suggest giving the other three meals a pass. Honeyville makes great single-ingredient products, but they might not be the world's best cooks.


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