A few weeks back I was straightening things up, bunker-wise, and was moving stuff around. One of the things I came across were a dozen #2.5-size cans of old AlpineAire food that I purchased back pre-Y2K. When I bought them they were already a couple years old…but they were being closed out by a local surplus store so I figured for one or two dollars a can…what the heck.
A few months back I opened one that consisted of crackers, peanut butter, and some hard candies. The candies were stale, the crackers decidedly so, and the peanut butter looked like something from the south end of a very sick northbound dog. Well, since I bought that stuff, back around ’99, I have significantly upgraded my long term food supplies. Seemed like it might be worth cracking open a couple of these and seeing how they fared.
I pulled two cans out of the bin. Both are #2.5 sized and have scored pull-top lids. ALthough I’m sure that they aren’t a risk factor, I prefer cans that do not have pre-scored lids. I have had occasions where one can has fallen and hit another right on the scoring and wound up compromising the integrity of the can. Anyway, here’s what I pulled out for this experiment:
I’d heard of apple flakes but had no idea what they were. If this package is anything to go by, it appears to be granulated apples. Silly me..I was thinking of, you know, flakes. Both products smelled okay and there were no signs of spoilage. On the other hand, I had no idea what this stuff looked like back when it was new so I may be just guessing at this point. Both packages had an oxygen absorber in them. The flakes made for a much denser amount of apples than the little dehydrated cubes. Both tasted ok, although a little bland. The little bits of apple were actually rather nice to just pop in the mouth and crunch on.
I took two teaspoonfuls of each of these and put them in a bowl with 1/3 cup of boiling water and let them sit for ten minutes. The results:
The apple flakes reconstituted into a paste that was pretty similar to applesauce but wasn’t terribly flavorful. It definitely would have benefited from a dose of sugar. The apple bits reconstituted nicely but were also a little bland. I think both of these, esp. the flakes, would have been excellent for use in something like some cream of wheat cereal or oatmeal…or perhaps in some sort of baking application.
Did the product last these last fifteen years well? Seems to. I have #10 cans of dehydrated apples from the LDS cannery (at a much better price, I might add) so I don’t mind sacrificing $5 worth of Clinton-era storage food for some empirical testing. AlpineAire, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t offer these little cans any more but the same packaging is available in the Augason Farms products which I’ll be posting a review on in a few weeks.
So, succinctly, although the “Lunch” tin of crackers, spread and candy did not last well over time, it appears that these two varieties of long-term fruit did pretty well. Although you could eat these on their own, it seems their best and most palatable application would have been as a complement to some cereal or porridge. I hvae a few other similar cans of product from this company laying around that I’ll wind up testing over the next few weeks as well. Fifteen years isnt much on storage life, but since most cans are rated for around 25-30 years it’s interesting to note which ones at least make it to the halfway mark.