Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: Heater Meals & GoGo Squeez Applesauce

Wait no more! The review on the Heater Meals that all of you have been on the edge of your seats waiting for is finally here. We wanted to know, as well as a lot of you, if it was worth toting the extra weight for a nice, hot backcountry supper. So for lunch, and in the spirit of the outdoors, Tim and I tested the Heater Meals: Zesty BBQ Sauce & Potatoes with Beef out on the back deck.

Although we hadn't exerted as much energy as we would have on the trail, our Monday morning had been hectic and the Rice Krispies we'd had for breakfast were long gone. We were hungry! At this point, I realized in the backcountry I would have two options - be tired and take 10 minutes to dig around in a pack and cook something then clean up, or be tired and throw a heater meal in a self-heating pouch then put all the trash back in it. The latter was looking promising already.

Upon opening the box, the meal was enclosed in a plastic tray. The self-heating pouch was folded inside, as well as a pre-portioned pouch of water, spoon packaged with a napkin, moist towelette, a spice pack, salt, and pepper.

The instructions on the box were very clear and easy. Open the box, insert the meal with the film side on the heater pad, add the water, seal the pouch with the resealable tape attached to the pouch, stick back in the box (optional), and wait 10-12 minutes.

After adding the meal to the pouch, we poured in the water. Within 20 seconds it was already steaming up and getting very hot. It was almost too warm to seal, and the steam was spouting out of the fold. Tucking it inside the box wasn't as easy, as the pouch was becoming very hot. But we got it, and there it sat - in the box - while our bellies grumbled and frowned.

So I decided we'd try out the GoGo Squeez AppleApple Applesauce while we waited. I love the name of that stuff! It's just too fun saying, "Let's slurp some AppleApple Applesauce!" There's other flavors, too: AppleStrawberry, AppleCinnamon, AppleBanana, and ApplePeach. They all sound promising to me, but I'm an applesauce junkie. I purchased a box of four individual servings at our local Big Box Mart for around $2.50.

The AppleApple Applesauce (*giggle* I had to!) was amazing in taste. It's a no sugar added, 100% fruit, spoon-free treat. It comes in a resealable pouch with a slurrrrrrping spout. I thought it would be too sour for Tim, but he thoroughly enjoyed it as well. It definitely brings out the kid in you. But I found two drawbacks to this tasty, little treat. Slurping down that 3.2 oz only had me wishing for more applesauce! All of a sudden, you're at that point where the applesauce is the best thing in the world, and it's all gone. *frown* Except for that little tiny bit left in the tube that you find yourself working way too hard to get at. I think I tried everything in the world, from slurping at a different angle, to sucking the daylights out of it, to trying to fit my tongue in that thing - and nothing would work. My pinky finger wouldn't fit either. So, for my final analysis, it'd be excellent if they made them in big-kid sizes.

But my attention was quickly turned to the Zesty BBQ Sauce & Potatoes with Beef warmed now enough to make our bellies smile. So we carefully removed the heater pouch from the box, and tore open the film to reveal what looked to me like a mess of beef stew in a red sauce (and that's me being nice on the description). To be honest, it was a little scary. I have finicky taste buds, and now that I'd seen it, I was worried.

Tim grabbed a fork out of the kitchen while I opened the utensil pack. Then, we both gathered around the tray and let the aroma reach our noses. It smelled a lot like someone had added BBQ sauce to can of Chef MSG Ravioli - minus the metallic smell. It tasted a lot like that, too.

It was hot though, and it wasn't inedible. Matter of fact, if my well-stocked kitchen hadn't been located inside the door directly behind me, it wouldn't have bothered me one bit to gobble down every bite. We opted to not add the Papa's Perfect Salt-Free Seasoning that it came with. We tried it out of our palm, but neither of us thought it was anywhere near "Perfect".

We did add the salt and pepper though, and Tim gave the meal a thumbs up after this. 

I decided it still needed something, and added some Ritz crackers. That made it even yummier!

In all, we really like the meal. It performed just as the manufacturers claimed. The heater pouch worked great, and the food was piping hot when we took it out. When we were finished sharing, we were both full; although on the trail, one meal would not feed two. It would, however, suffice for one person especially if you had something to go with it.

We're going to get another flavor next time we're out towards the Bass Pro, just to make sure they don't all taste the same.

Final thoughts on the Heater Meals: Zesty BBQ Sauce & Potatoes with Beef: It would be absolutely scrumptious on the trail. I've tasted worse things, that's for sure! It beats the pants off of some frozen meals like Smart Ones. And definitely going to be more filling than something like Ramen Noodles. And at a whopping 400 calories per serving, it'd definitely be a good calorie replacer. I, personally, think it's worth both the wait and the... err... weight. The 10 minutes flew by, and I know I wouldn't mind carrying the extra weight just to have this convenience. Plus, the trash packed up so nicely in the resealable heater pouch! You've got to love easy cleanup!

Disclaimer: Robin and Tim bought the "Heater Meals" and "GoGoSqueeze Apple Sauce" to test and review here on Appalachia & Beyond. The opinions expressed above are their independent thoughts and experiences.