Some of you may have read the thread I recently posted in The Club House, entitled "But it seemed like a good idea at the time", which mentions the fact that I am slowly but surely sinking the prepper quicksand. What started out as a case of bottled water and a few cans of spam has grown to hopefully a six month supply for three people. It's become sort of a hobby. Well, the other day Cindy, who views my preparations with a sort of mocking tolerance, minus the tolerance, was asking what I had down there. "How about flour", she asks. "You're not supposed to store whole flour", I replied knowingly. "It doesn't last long enough. You store hard wheat, then grind it when you need it". "So you're telling me you have wheat stored down there, and YOU are going to grind it?" "Well, no. But I do have corn meal, we can have tortillas" I replied. "Rolling her eyes, she asked, "Just how long does flour last?" "Well . . . " here I hastily typed the question into my laptop, "it says here a year to 18 months". "If that's true -- which I doubt -- then the flour in our cabinet is too old. Get some new when you go to the store next time". "Yes, dear". So, I went to the store yesterday, and got a couple of bags of flour. One for now, and one to store in a mylar bag with oxygen absorbers, which I understand can extend it's useful life to maybe four years or so. I was about to throw the old flour away, when I thought, well, it looks okay. Seems sort of a shame to waste it. So I decided to make pilot bread, otherwise know as hardtack. Mountain House sells it for about $20-$25 a can, but I thought, " heck, it's flour and water, how hard can it be?" So I hit the internet for a little history and instructions. It turns out that the original hardtack that lasted forever and sailed around the world on ships before the days of refridgeration was baked in kilns, like bricks, to get all the moisture out. The more moisture is baked out, the longer it lasts. So, I mixed some flour, salt, and water, rolled it out, cut it into squares, and baked it at 300 degrees for two hours. It came out sorta like a hard bisquit. One website said that while they haven't tried it, putting the baked pilot bread in a dehydrator would probably get rid of most of the remaining moisture, thereby extending it's storage life. So the little squares are in the basement right now, dehydrating away. When they are good and dry it's into the mylar bag with an oxygen absorber, until it's whale hunting season again. I'm going to try one before I store them, so I'll let you know how they turn out.