One of the staple survival foods, hardtack is a dense, flour-based cracker that goes back hundreds of years. There are many historical examples of its efficacy as a “hard times” food. The real question about hardtack is: Just how long does this thick cracker last?
How long does hardtack last? Stored in a dry Tupperware container, hardtack will last for a couple of years. If kept dry, you could get even longer out of the hardtack. This extended shelf life is what makes survivalists take an interest.
Beyond a couple of years, it will start to get harder and harder until you will not be able to bite it without some sort of liquid to dip it into.
However, there are several ways that you can store hardtack to get an even longer shelf life! Do you want to know how? Then keep reading.
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How Long Does Hardtack Last and How to Store It
During the Civil War, a warm cup of coffee and a few pieces of hardtack might have been the day’s meal before marching and fighting. The poor storage conditions meant that the hardtack was not only particularly HARD, but also infested with beetles.
Dipping hardtack into coffee was a process that helped with two things:
- It softened the rock hard ration
- It made the bugs scurry out of the biscuit
This is an example of hardtack storage at its worst. There are several reasons that modern hardtack is much better.
You can store hardtack a few ways to ensure that it lasts a very long time and is still edible when you need it most. In modern times, your hardtack can act as a vehicle for other spreads and foods. It was the sheer lack of resources that forced people to eat only hardtack during tough times.
Let’s look at how we can store hardtack for even longer than 2 years!
A stack of dry hardtack can be vacuum sealed. The hardtack can even be wrapped in paper towels, and then vac-sealed to last for at least 5 years. This means you can stack this hardtack up in the pantry or even in a designated Tupperware container.
You could also use Mylar bags to store your hardtack for the long term. By using Mylar bags, you can store more hardtack together in one spot. I would recommend nothing bigger than a 1-gallon bag.
Add an oxygen absorber to each Mylar bag and fill them up with a decent amount of headroom. These Mylar bags can then be sealed using a hair straightener or an iron. These bags are heat-sealed, which is a great feature.
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are the same items used to store long-term food like rice and oats.
To take it one step further, you could even store several of those Mylar bags of hardtack into a plastic bucket with a lid. This keeps the Mylar bags safe from puncture, and also keeps the hardtack protected from being crushed.
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How to Make Hardtack at Home
When it comes to making hardtack at home so you can store it long term, keep it simple. This is truly a mix of water and flour that is baked until it is dried out and hard. That said, here is a simple recipe so that you can have your very own path towards hardtack.
- 2 Cups of Flour
- 1 Cup of Water
- 2 TSP of Salt
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Add your flour and salt to a bowl and mix these two ingredients thoroughly.
- Add your water to this mix and combine into a stodgy dough that comes away from the side of the bowl.
- Drop the hardtack onto a floured counter and knead it into a ball.
- Roll the dough into a ¼ inch thickness.
- Then you can cut rounds or squares from the dough and prick the center with a fork.
- Bake these for 30 minutes and then flip.
- Continue for 30 minutes longer and remove.
- Once cooled, you will have yourself some homemade hardtack.
- Store your hardtack as you see fit.
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