A Review of the Thrive by Shelf Reliance Freeze Dried Chopped Spinach
By Jason Wagner
A review on freeze dried spinach? Bah! I much preferred reviewing the bacon.
Before we commence, allow me to admit to a personal bias – I love spinach. Given how I seem to be in the minority of the matter, your opinion of this product will depend heavily on your opinion of spinach.
Taste – 9.0/10: I am pleased to inform you that this product does indeed taste like spinach! Spinach is spinach whether it is fresh, canned, frozen, dehydrated or freeze dried. However so, some methods of preservation are closer to fresh than others. As it would seem, freeze drying spinach is a particularly good way of preserving it
Unfortunately, the simple nature of this freeze dried offering might present something of a problem. I hardly think that you, the reader, would consider a bag of freeze dried spinach to be some kind of culinarilly diverse dish. When looking at this as a food item, try to look at it more as a cooking ingredient and less of an MRE; speaking of MRE’s, this would make a great side dish to an MRE!
Ultimately, this tastes like good spinach, thus, as a relatively reasonable person I cannot complain…good stuff.
Texture – 8.0: Hmm, it tastes like spinach and it chews just like how I imagined freeze dried spinach chewing. It has a bite, albeit it is a tad powdery for my liking. When you rehydrate it, the texture is spot on, but when consumed dry it is a bit too much like talc powder. If you use your disgusting saliva, you can rehydrate it right in your mouth…however, that could induce dehydration or at the very least a dry mouth if there was a lack of water.
A not-so-unusual side effect of consuming freeze dried food is a dry mouth; it’s just that you might notice that the dry mouth symptoms are a bit more pronounced. Again, any dryness of mouth largely depends on whether you intake enough water.
Nutrition – 9.8/10: its spinach…as we all know, spinach is more or less a super food. It lacks in calories, of course, but what it lacks in calories it makes up for in minerals and nutrients. I like to think of spinach (regardless of type, but this is better than most) as a vitamin for the mind and body.
Shelf-Life – 8.0/10: By the time I got to taste testing this particular freeze dried offering, it had already been sitting around for 3 years in my apocalypse pantry. Even after two years, it still tasted good, hell, better than good. According to the manufacturer’s specifications, they predict that this spinach will last several years and possibly in the 5 – 7 year range. The packaging is good, but I am not sure I would trust the individual pouches for an extremely long-term storage. I figure once you’ve unsealed the original container (the plastic bin containing the pouches) that the shelf-life may be reduced. While the pouches are housed inside of the plastic container, I suspect that they will last 5 – 7 years, if not longer.
OpSec (Operational Security) – 10/10: Unless they can, somehow, hear your soft chewing of the little green morsels of spinach, they will remain none the wiser of your feeding. While they starve, you shall feast…you might feel bad about it, but it’s better than the alternative.
Not even the hungry German Shepard’s will be aware of your presence…unless they can smell YOU and in that case, well, um – I hope that you’re a fast runner.
Filling Factor – 9.0/10: While I would not go so far as to call this little bag of health a supremely filling thing, it serves its purpose well. Have you ever noticed how the less healthy the food, the more you can eat. Conversely, the more healthy the food (vegetables in particular) the less you can consume? That little phenomenon definitely exists here.
Portability/On-the-Move/Sojourner/Scouting Score – 9.9/10: As far as I am concerned, anything that is extremely lightweight, relatively compact (vacuum sealed, too!) completely without cooking requirements, nutritionally dense and relatively filling is more than just accept. For the active, constantly on the move survivalist, this spinach will serve you well. If it weren’t for the concerning shortage of calories, I would have been comfortable awarding this spinach a 10.1/10.
Storage Qualifications/Storage Score – 9.0/10: Even a very, very large box that has been stuffed to its breaking point with pouches of this particular freeze dried spinach would feel no heavier than a featherweight. Lightweight food items, such as this, make bugging out on the shortest of notices much easier. Also, because these are so lightweight you can literally stack the storage boxes to the ceiling without concerning yourself that the boxes will cave. The plastic container that my spinach pouches came in was heavier than the spinach itself. Despite the increased weight, the plastic housings are still very easy to carry, stack and store.
I have this trait that basically dictates that I try to stuff as many calories per cubic footage as is possible. In doing so I can maximize how much energy I can store on a metal shelf, corner of a room and so forth. With that being said, items like the Thrive freeze dried spinach play against my usual strategy. Like with all things, extremes are usually warped opinions. So, on that note I do make allowances for storing low calories, nutritionally dense items such as this one. Besides, a large stock of this green stuff…I mean spinach, only takes up a small amount of space.
Final Review – 8.4/10: While the Thrive freeze dried chopped spinach is certainly an odder choice for survival food, it’s no less impressive. Indeed, once you expand your mind to the many possibilities, this freeze dried spinach really makes you appreciate todays high-level methods of food preservation.
The thing is, if you eat this on its own, with nothing else, you will be squandering what makes this spinach great.
When you view the spinach as a tasty ingredient for a recipe, all the sudden this looks like one of the most versatile foodstuffs available. Until civilized trading starts or people can grow a garden without fear of being painted a target by every raider within a couple dozen clicks, things like canned, dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables very well might be one of your few options for vegetables and their associated nutrients.
Basically, so long as you dedicate a majority of your food storage space to high protein, calorically rich food and water, filling in the spaces with the healthier things just might make the difference between life and death. The right nutrition can give you that grizzled survivor’s edge.
Another way to look at this delightful product is that it can help to stretch your greater emergency food supply. For instance, if your usual meal is roughly an entire 1200 calorie MRE, this could cut your MRE consumption down to half of that very same MRE; thus saving you money, resources and providing a greater level of assorted nutrition.
To sum everything up within the constricting confines of the lone sentence…This is a great product to fortify an existing food cache, it provides nutrition, it’s beyond easy to prepare, lightweight, can be eaten without preparation, perfect food for the sojourner, absurdly healthy, satisfying to chew, easy on the stomach and it’s an overall great product that I recommend for the herbivores and carnivores alike.
In a pot, add some milk to the spinach and cook it over low heat until it is lightly boiling around the edges. Stir the contents, season with salt and pepper as desired and serve the creamed spinach to your tribe. If a cow isn’t available, there is nothing to say that you cannot use evaporated milk instead; don’t confused evaporated milk with condensed milk…that is, unless you have some very questionable tastes in cuisine.