Looks Can Be Deceiving When It Comes To Pemmican

OK, let’s get the negative part out of the way first. The survival food item I’m about to inform you of can look like a moldy, diseased, bacteria-ridden sponge. Hungry yet? I didn’t think so. But maybe you will be if you keep reading.

This survival food is called “pemmican.” It was invented hundreds of years ago by Native Americans who moved around frequently and needed a portable, lightweight, compact, nutritious and filling food with a long shelf life.

It was made with lean, dried meat (bison, deer or elk) that was crushed into a powder and then mixed with hot, rendered fat. Dried berries were also sometimes added. It was very high in carbohydrates, protein and vitamins. When they had to, Native Americans could live on pemmican for long periods of time.

So, who’s up for trying it? You won’t find it in too many stores, but you can make it with these simple instructions.

First, gather four cups of lean meat, such as deer, beef or moose; three cups of blueberries or other dried fruits; and two cups of rendered fat. You might also want to include a shot of honey and some unsalted nuts.

Second, take 1½ pounds of lean shoulder roast and let it firm up in the freezer so that it can be sliced thin. Add salt and pepper, set the oven to 150 degrees and place the strips of meat onto the rack. Crack the oven slightly, which will help prevent moisture from building up. Optional: place a handful of frozen wild blueberries on an oven pan to dry out with the meat.

Third, allow the meat to dry out for about 15 hours or until it’s crispy. Then put it in the food processor until it becomes a powder, and do the same with the blueberries

Fourth, cut up your fat in small pieces and place it in the crockpot, which should be set on low heat. Remove the fat only after it becomes completely liquid. Use a strainer to avoid all the crispy bits.

Fifth, mix the meat and berry powder together before slowly adding the hot liquid fat, pouring just enough so that the fat slowly soaks into the powder.

Sixth, after it firms up, cut it into squares or roll it into a ball. Wrap the balls in wax paper and store them in a zip-top bag in a cool, dark place.

Have you ever tried making or eating pemmican, or anything like it? Please let me know what your experience was like.


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