But where's the salt pork?

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by txpossum, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  2. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

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    You should get a vacuum food sealer. I have one and use it quite often.
     

  3. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Did you never consider swiping some communion wafers at the church? Those nuns are not as fast as you would think.
    ;)

    Maybe these guys could talk about shelf life: http://cavanaghco.com/acatalog/Packaging.html
     
  4. spack762

    spack762 New Member

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    Ive always wanted to make hardtack. Love to hear how it works out, and tastes.
     
  5. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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  6. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    The civil war soldiers used to soak it in coffee to soften it up for eating. They said five or six weeks was about right.
     
  7. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Wikipedia says they also did it to run the weevils out of it before eating it. Just skim the bugs off the top of the coffee. :eek:
     
  8. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    And modern soldiers complain about MRE's.
     
  9. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    [wonders if the laxatives were in the weevils BITD]
     
  10. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    Okay . . . just found this helpful hint. Remember, for long term storage moisture is a no-no. So if you don't have a dehydrator to further dry the hardtack out after baking, you can let it cool, then the next day bake it again at about 225 degrees for thirty minutes to dry the residual water in the bread.

    The internet is a wonderful thing.

    I gonna store most of it, but I'm gonna take a couple of the pieces to the cigar shop to show Joe. He's been bragging about the bulletproof vest he made out of ceramic tile. Yeah, no kidding. Don't think it will work? Check out youtube --several videos of ordinary flooring ceramic tile stopping rifle bullets.
     
  11. GTX63

    GTX63 New Member

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    Hardtack is similar in taste to salty sawdust, depending on your recipe. I think John Wayne used to keep them in his vest pocket mixed up with his coins. Always had to look down before taking the first bite.
     
  12. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    Well, when I am hunkered down in my basement before leaving at dawn for the Zombie Patrol, a piece of hardtack soaked in reconsitituted powdered milk and covered with honey will hit the spot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  13. GTX63

    GTX63 New Member

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    Just saying, they tend to come out a bit tougher than they go in...
     
  14. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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  15. Mouser

    Mouser Active Member

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    you must be a glutton for punishment! Note to self...experiment on other people, not me :p
     
  16. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How about a bulletproof vest made of hardtack? Not much difference between hardtack and ceramic...