Friendly Fire – Making Hard Tack in the Solar Cooker
A few of our friends are historical reenacters of the Civil War and Revolutionary War Era. They are musket toting, full uniformed members of their proper military units and they enjoy carrying the soldiers (and also sailors of the day) staple of hard tack. Normally made of only flour, salt and water, hard tack has little taste, and is generally “hard” to eat (don’t eat this if you have braces, bridges or other sensitive dental issues). Usually, it takes on the flavor of whatever it is soaked in, like coffee. More later, but here’s the solar oven recipe:
1 tsp salt ( or salt substitute)
3 cups flour
1 cup water
Accessories: bowl, mixer, skewer stick, rolling pin, pizza cutter (or knife), cookie sheet (dark metal is better, of a size to fit your solar oven)
While the solar cooker is preheating to about 170 degrees, mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. First, stir the salt into the water, then sprinkle in the flour a little at a time while stirring until everything becomes to thick to stir (that’s when know you’ve added enough flour).
Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it, then roll it out until its about ½ inch thick. Use the pizza cutter to cut it into 3” x 3” squares (crackers). Next, use the skewer to poke 16 holes through each cracker in a uniform 4 holes/row, 4 holes column. Place the crackers onto the ungreased cookie sheet and put into the sun oven. In good sunshine, it’ll take 1 ½ hours to get one side a light golden brown. Quickly remove the sheet from the oven, flip over the crackers and replace into the oven for another 1 ½ hours for the other side. Allow them to completely cool before eating.
You will probably get creative, after you taste them without anything. However, our reenacter friends tell us they make a welcome, energy-packed treat if you’re out in the sun all day or on a long hike. We’ll let that up to you and history to decide. In any case, the “hard” work is done by using the solar oven and the sun’s free energy.