I was pretty blown away that our site got approached by a Valley Food Storage rep to review their products. I was even more impressed that when I agreed to sample one product, they sent me all 4 of their best sellers!
And before we get started I want you to know that I didn't get paid to do this review, the products were complimentary, and I have no bias towards this company at all. They don't advertise on my site or compensate me in any way. I prove this because I give my HONEST opinion of how I felt about all of these products I tasted.
And some weren't that great...
But any way, let's get started! I will be writing about sampling the cheddar jack cheese cubes, apple slices, rice and chicken pilaf, and potato cheddar soup. All of these products are shipped dehydrated, and are easily rehydrated at home or on the trails.
Cheddar Jack Cheese Cubes
I'm not gonna lie, these were a bit disappointing when you followed the preparation instructions. Mostly because I'm a huuuge cheese lover, even though my stomach doesn't agree at all.
But if you just ate them straight out of the bag then they were a great snack! They still had the cheesy flavor, that spicy pepper jack flare, and a bit different texture than usual.
As you can see in the picture, the cheese cubes come dehydrated in perfect bite size portions. The calorie content is pretty good, and the nutritional ratios are spot on for keeping your body fueled.
If I was going to take one food item with me on a long trek, it would be cheese cubes. You have protein, fat, and carbs all in one bite.
The directions say to combine the cheese cubes with water, so that's exactly what I did. I let them sit for the desired amount of time, which was around 10 minutes, and then I took them out.
One note about the cheese cubes in the water, I'm sure it was the fat from the cheese mixing with the water, but it just didn't look right.
There was some sort of thick oil sitting on top of the water that was really unappetizing to look at. Just a suggestion for the folks at Valley Food Storage.
After I took these out and patted them dry I popped one in my mouth. Then disappointment set in... It was kind of like soft cheese on the outside, but inside it was still crunchy and dry. So I tried another thinking maybe I got a bad one. Nope, same thing unfortunately.
I put one of the cubes back in the water to soak longer, thinking maybe that will help it. Sadly it just made the outside more soggy and the inside was just as hard.
Chicken & Rice Pilaf
Now the chicken and rice pilaf is what I originally asked for, because it seemed like the most universal food that people would eat. Of course the people at Valley Food Storage went above and beyond to make sure I sampled the best they had to offer, which was very appreciated.
And I was not at all disappointed with the chicken and rice pilaf one bit!
Of course it would be pretty hard to mess up rice and dehydrated chicken, but that's not the point. The point is that it was quick and easy to prepare.
Starting out I just measured the serving size listed on the bag, mixed that with the appropriate amount of boiling water, and stirred occasionally. In just a few minutes I had a tasty serving of rice and chicken pilaf!
One suggestion I would like to make is that you need a bit more water than their directions called for. When my serving ran out of water it was a little al dente.
But as you can see, the finished product tasted great and served it's purpose!
Unfortunately the potato soup wasn't that big of a hit with me either. I love cheese like I said before, but for some reason cheese just doesn't like being dehydrated and brought back to life.
The soup wasn't bad by any stretch, but it's not the same as making cheddar potato soup yourself. Which is to be expected, but this was still a bit off to me.
I started this recipe out the same as the chicken and rice pilaf. I measured the correct portion size, mixed with the suggested amount of boiling water, and stirred occasionally.
The smell was a bit strong from this specific product. Almost a bit artificial smelling. Not a bad smell, but just a bit stronger than expected.
Once the soup rendered down and started to get thick I took it off the heat to let it cool. Once I tasted it I wasn't left in disappointment, but I wasn't taken back by how great it was either. It was just a bit, meh.
Which isn't a bad thing, because it wasn't bad at all, and I'm not sure what I was expecting. But it wasn't was of those meals I would be ok to eat every day for the rest of my life.
These bad boys right here were the highlight of the whooooole review!
I would be content to eat these as a snack day in and day out forever. Really, great job Valley Food Storage on this one! Whether you eat these dehydrated or prepared as suggested, these things are pretty dang awesome.
For this review I prepared them how it's recommended, just so that I can let you know how it turns out.
The packaging suggests soaking them in water for 10 minutes just like the cheese cubes, except this time there wasn't any oil film on top of the water.
The apples plumped up pretty nicely, and absorbed quite a bit of the water. I might have put a little too much water in, but that's my bad.
Once the time was up I took them out and patted them dry. Then I tried a few, and honestly I'd rather eat them in their dehydrated state. The rehydrated apples were just a bit more bland and chewy.
I know I know, nothing is going to be the same after you dehydrate and rehydrate something. I'm just saying.
I would honestly suggest taking the rice pilaf, apple slices, and cheddar cubes on the trail or packing them in your BOB. These ease of preparation makes these products super reliable in almost any situation.
Heck, if you wanted, you could probably eat the rice pilaf and chicken as is without rehydrating it. I haven't tried it, but I would assume it wouldn't hurt.
I just seriously don't recommend trying to rehydrate those cheese cubes. Like, at all...