Luke’s savoury ration boxes: kale chips, sweet potato chips, zucchini chips, raisins, currants, dates, toasted almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts.
What’s a ration box, really? Let’s ask the Star Wars wiki:
“Food rations…were a transportable form of ready-to-eat food used by many military forces like the clone commandos. These could also be found in survival packages, most notably field kits. Rebel pilots also had a few ration packs inside their starfighters in case they became stranded on a planet. These rations were stored in a blue container with eleven slots, seven on the bottom, three rectangular slots at the top, and a thin slot in the middle, with food including a large, yellow, square-shaped object; a rectangular bar; several bits of small tan pieces; a large stick; several medium-sized sticks; small rolls; small brown pieces; white pieces; orange pieces; tiny sticks; a small, yellow, square-shaped object; and white rolls. Yoda tried a scrap of food from Luke Skywalker‘s food ration but spat it out in disgust. They were also well-stocked on cruisers, freighters and lasted long periods of time.”
Basically, I wanted to make long-lasting foods (dried and/or toasted) that Yoda wouldn’t have spit out. So I did a lot of dehydrating. Not me. The food.
I toasted a bunch of hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts on baking sheets in a 300˚F oven until aromatic and browned. Then combined them with dried cranberries, dates, raisins and currants. The trick to make the boxes look pretty is to have huge amounts of the nuts so their volume equals that of the dehydrated chips. There were leftovers.
You can dehydrate the vegetables and fruits (zucchini) in a dehydrator, which saves you a lot of hassle (and is good for people on a raw diet). But for the rest of us dehydrator-less folk, here’s the basic recipe for the kale chips, sweet potato chips and zucchini chips. The only difference is the kale chips will be fast, the zucchini chips will take a little longer, and the sweet potato chips will take forever. Fair warning.
Kale Chips, Zucchini Chips and Sweet Potato Chips
1 bunch kale, a bunch of zucchini or 1 large sweet potato
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
pinch black pepper
optional dash of cayenne
Remove the kale from the stems and tear into small pieces. Discard stems. Compost if you can. I wonder if they had composting on Tatooine…
If making zucchini chips, slice into 1/8″ rounds. For sweet potato, slice as thinly as possible into rounds. Rub whatever vegetable or fruit you’re dehydrating with the tiny bit of oil and the salt and other spices. You can get creative with other spices, but don’t overdo it on the salt. It’s flavour is intensified as the food dehydrates and loses its water content.
Place on a single layer on one or two baking sheets and bake zucchini or kale in a 250˚F oven, checking every 10 minutes until crisp. If the kale ends up brown, it either burned from being in the oven too long or from not having enough oil. Adjust next time. You’ll have to flip the zucchini and sweet potato slices over a couple of times so they dehydrate evenly. And the sweet potatoes can bake at 300˚F because they’ll take hours. Next time, slice them even more thinly. They’re done when they start to crisp and to brown. But again, if they’re too brown, you burned them and there’s nothing you can do. Luke only got one chance in life, really, so consider yourself lucky.
The kale chips are the easiest. The zucchinis are the oiliest, and the sweet potatoes are the coolest. Your call.