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  #1  
Old 03/14/11, 01:00 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: NW Louisiana
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Crackers ?

Here's something I've been wondering about for some time.. How can you store crackers? Just the reg. saltines. We buy in the cardboard box with the stacks wrapped and go through quite a few. This is just one of those things that I would hate to be without in a SHTF situation. How long will they keep just as they are? Suggestions please.
Robert

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  #2  
Old 03/14/11, 01:38 AM
 
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Location: Alaska- Kenai Pen- Kasilof
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Pilot bread comes in tins. Plastic totes work very well for storage of dry goods.

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  #3  
Old 03/14/11, 01:42 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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I believe the shelf life is less than a year. You could probably extend that by vacuum sealing them or putting them in a five gallon bucket with oxygen absorbers and desiccant. The major factor in them going stale would be humidity. Here in CO my crackers last a long time. In AR in the summer, crackers go stale in a few days once opened.

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  #4  
Old 03/14/11, 01:50 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Michigan, USA
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We use a Tupperware container specifically made for saltine crackers.

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  #5  
Old 03/14/11, 02:14 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: SW PA
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My ancient copy of Carla Emery's book has a section about making crackers at home, but IIRC it ended that she couldn't do it. Has anyone come up with a successful home recipe for saltine crackers? Or Ritz type or any other?

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  #6  
Old 03/14/11, 02:24 AM
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I did it once years ago using a recipe from a Fanny Farmer's but I thought it was way too much work for the amount produced.

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  #7  
Old 03/14/11, 02:39 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SE NM
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another HT'er (just little me) makes crackers at home. She lives in Tn. Catch up to Lani by pm if ya don't see her online.

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  #8  
Old 03/14/11, 03:49 AM
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We've made crackers here. They aren't like any store bought cracker I know of, but the family likes them. Here are a couple of recipes I've found online:

http://www.recipetips.com/recipe-car...e-crackers.asp

http://www.suite101.com/content/how-...rackers-a67689

It took me a few tries and adjustments to get these to work, but now we can always make crackers when the crackers run out, because the ingredients are so basic.

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  #9  
Old 03/14/11, 07:51 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
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My recipe for crackers is pretty much like the one already posted but I honestly don't make them often as my kids are more into bread and rolls than crackers. When I do make them I vacuum seal them and put them in a air tight container so when I do open the bag I can just keep them in the container.

I do have a stash of crackers I brought in metal tins that I found super cheap in the ethnic aisle of my grocery store. The freshness stamp gave them a three year shelf life but when I opened one that had been on my shelf a year beyond that they were still good, not stale or rancid at all. They are a saltine type crackers, I am guessing a type with more oils or flavors would not last as long.

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  #10  
Old 03/14/11, 01:32 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Yes, all the variations of hard tack are good to have.

Pilot bread, biscotti, water crackers, hard tack, etc.

Nabisco used to make them, but stopped producing except in certain key areas. There's some you can only get in Alaska.

I've stocked up on Sky Flakes crackers that come in a tin. Inside the tin, the crackers are sealed in individual packets of 2 each.

Although there's a little bit of oil used in the baking, I've not known them to go rancid.

They are made in the Philippines. Prices vary.

In small filippino markets here in the states, they come sealed in a plastic tub and go for up to $12 a tub.

In heavy asian communities, I've seen the same tubs go for $4.49. My SIL likes them because the individually wrapped crackers are good to keep in her purse and dole out to the kids to keep them quiet while driving. Kids like to eat them plain, they're not to fond of the traditional Saltines.

Sky Flakes market themselves as "an alternative to bread" when you are travelling or for emergency storage.

They have a taste and texture similar to the crackers that come with Army MRE rations - dense with a faintly buttery salty flavor.

I like them, so I've stored a bunch.

I've also made hard tack from recipes found on civil war historical sites.

Following a recipe, I made them 4 years ago and stored them in ziplock bags.

Beware, the legends are true, you can break your teeth on these hard tack crackers. Every year, I open the ziplock and taste test. So far they taste as fresh as the day I made them 4 years ago!

Recommened way of serving them is to soften them in coffee, or soak them in water and fry with lard.

Personally, I just carefully gnaw on them, or break them up (I perforate them to ease breaking into bite-size bits) and pour hot chicken soup over them for a faux chicken and dumplings.

I think the recipe I use is:

3 cups flour (whole wheat seems to have the best flavor and does not get as hard as white)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon salt (I think the original recipe called for a tablespoon, but I found it too salty)

Mix all the ingredients together. I use a bread maker for the job of kneading to save my arms the hard work as it is a very stiff dough.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a metal sheet pan, make perforations along lines you want to break them and to help with even baking and drying. Bake at 350 F for around an hour until they get fairly hard. Don't let them brown too much. If they are a little leathery, that's fine, they will harden as they cool.

Let them cool on the pan. If they stick, just wait till cool and they pop right off the pan when hard (just flex the pan a little)

If I had to make them over again, I'd roll them thinner, so they would be easier to break. the stuff is like concrete!

At civil war re-enactments, it's said that you can find these things all over the ground. Too hard for people to eat! The non-purists cheat by bringing pop-tarts instead - looks the same from a distance.

Some recipes call for a little baking powder, to leaven them, thus making them easier to chew. I think it makes them bulkier to store and there's a greater chance of oxidation.

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Last edited by BillHoo; 03/14/11 at 01:41 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03/14/11, 02:13 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: NW Louisiana
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Thanks everyone, can't find them in tins around here, but at least I know we can make something similar. I might try taking them from the box and vacuum sealing them and just see how long they may keep.

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  #12  
Old 03/14/11, 02:21 PM
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Stored crackers that go stale can be freshened by heating them to dry them again. I've seen a lot of recipes online, but not tried any of them.

The "crackers" you find at reenactments are not really crackers, they are hardtack. Hardtack is made to be brick hard and will last forever. They are added to water to make a soup of sorts. Sometimes soaked in coffee to soften enough to eat, but only eaten "as is" by someone who is desperate and has no other way to use them.

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Last edited by Spinner; 03/14/11 at 02:29 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03/14/11, 03:47 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 9,130

I've never been able to revive stale store bought crackers. The only ones I've seen that store well are the old "common crackers" we used to get in Vermont. They contain nothing but cooked flour - no oils to go rancid.

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  #14  
Old 03/14/11, 04:18 PM
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They keep for a long time as flour, sugar, butter, salt, etc.

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  #15  
Old 03/14/11, 04:33 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Alaska- Kenai Pen- Kasilof
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For those wanting Pilot bread check amazon they seem to have everything.

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  #16  
Old 03/14/11, 05:33 PM
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We use to make graham crackers when living in Europe. It was a snack my kids were use to eating in the US but we couldn't get there. I loved them....kids thought they were OK, DH wouldn't eat them (but he's not a cracker eater). I've only made "saltine crackers" a few times. They were OK, but we don't eat that kind often...so it was more work then it was worth. I have a recipe for "wheat thin" type crackers. I made it once, but it needs tweaked....just not quite the taste I wanted, but close.

We've never lived in a humid region, but we have never had too much trouble keeping them. Saltines will often go stale for us, but we don't eat them often. We could open a bag and not finish is for 6 months (saltines, even fresh, always taste a bit stale to me)

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Last edited by Ohio dreamer; 03/14/11 at 05:35 PM.
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  #17  
Old 03/14/11, 05:50 PM
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Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Here are two family favorites of ours - they rarely last more than a day or two.

Oatmeal Crackers

Mix:
1 cup water
3/4 cup oil

Add:
3 c quick oats
2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
Handful of wheat germ (optional)

Mix well and roll out on cookie sheet
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes


Sesame Thins

6 tbps oil
1/2 c water
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
Sesame seeds

Emulsify oil and water. Add flour and salt and knead for 5 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide into 2 parts and roll each out on an oiled cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds and roll again. Mark in squares and prick with a fork. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

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  #18  
Old 03/14/11, 06:41 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Oregon
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I've never had any problems with making crackers. You just roll the dough out really thin, mark the squares by poking a fork through the dough to make the perforated lines where you break them apart. Then you salt the dickens out of them and bake them.

Haven't mastered the rice cracker yet. Heard it is a proprietary process and that means specialized equipment needed.

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  #19  
Old 03/14/11, 06:47 PM
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  #20  
Old 03/14/11, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio dreamer View Post
We use to make graham crackers when living in Europe. It was a snack my kids were use to eating in the US but we couldn't get there. I loved them....kids thought they were OK, DH wouldn't eat them (but he's not a cracker eater). I've only made "saltine crackers" a few times. They were OK, but we don't eat that kind often...so it was more work then it was worth. I have a recipe for "wheat thin" type crackers. I made it once, but it needs tweaked....just not quite the taste I wanted, but close.

We've never lived in a humid region, but we have never had too much trouble keeping them. Saltines will often go stale for us, but we don't eat them often. We could open a bag and not finish is for 6 months (saltines, even fresh, always taste a bit stale to me)
Would you mind sharing your graham cracker recipe?
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