Sunday, December 24, 2023

Making Pemmican - 1

A survival food I've wanted to try is pemmican. I've watched several videos about it on YouTube and decided to give it a whirl. Wikipedia provides a good overview of what it is:

Pemmican (also pemican in older sources[1][2]) is a mixture of tallow, dried meat, and sometimes dried berries. A calorie-rich food, it can be used as a key component in prepared meals or eaten raw. Historically, it was an important part of indigenous cuisine in certain parts of North America and it is still prepared today.[3][4] The word comes from the Cree word ᐱᒦᐦᑳᓐ (pimîhkân), which is derived from the word ᐱᒥᕀ (pimî), "fat, grease".[5] The Lakota (or Sioux) word is wasná, originally meaning "grease derived from marrow bones", with the wa- creating a noun, and sná referring to small pieces that adhere to something.[6][7] It was invented by the Indigenous peoples of North America.[8][9]

Pemmican was widely adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade and later by Arctic and Antarctic explorers, such as Captain Robert Bartlett, Ernest Shackleton, Richard E. Byrd, Fridtjof Nansen, Robert Falcon Scott, George W. DeLong, and Roald Amundsen.


I'm using the simplest recipe possible: meat and fat. I bought a couple packages of thinly sliced top round steaks and a couple jars of Epic beef tallow at my local supermarket.

The first step is to turn the beef into jerky:

I'm using my Nesco FD-75A dehydrator.

After the meat is dried to the point where I can crumble it with my fingers, I'll put it in a food processor to powder it.

Once the dried meat is powdered it will be combined with melted tallow, poured or scooped into a container, and allowed to set up.

Finally, I plan to vacuum seal each brick or puck of pemmican using my Foodsaver vacuum sealer. Thus prepared the pemmican should last for years if not decades, especially if I put the sealed packages in my freezer.

I will post follow-ups tomorrow showing the next steps.

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