Are you looking for some excellent pemmican recipes?
Wait, what is this thing called pemmican and where did it come from?
For starters, pemmican is originally a Cree word for rendered fat. Pemmican is a food used by a variety of Native peoples for many generations, and was adopted by the fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. It likely originates from North America. Native American scouts who spent a great deal of time on the go depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time. Often times pemmican was their food of choice.
This amazing stuff is a dried mixture of meat, berries and rendered fat (also called suet or tallow). It is an invaluable survival food that when prepared properly using good pemmican recipes can last anywhere from several months to several years without refrigeration!
Pemmican is a great asset to have with you while exploring the wilderness even today. Though most classic pemmican recipes require the use of meat and fat, it is also possible to make it vegetarian as described below.
Here are some great pemmican recipes you can try out to make this amazing food. Try out the following 4 recipes and see which one you like best!
Meat should be as lean as possible and double ground from your butcher if you do not have you own meat grinder. Spread it out very thin on a cookie sheet and dry at 180 degrees F for at least 8 hours or until sinewy and crispy. Pound the meat into a nearly powder consistency using a blender or other tool. Grind the dried fruit, but leave a little bit lumpy for fun texture. Heat rendered fat on stove at medium until liquid. Add liquid fat to dried meat and dried fruit, and mix in nuts and honey. Mix everything by hand. Let cool and store. Can keep and be consumed for several years.
Grind meat to fine pulp in a blender. Now add in the raisins. Chop this mix enough to break up the raisins and mix in well. Melt the suet to a liquid and pour into the mixture, using just enough to hold the meat and raisins together. Now allow this to cool slightly. Put this into a pan and let it cool completely. Next, cut the pemmican into strips, than divide it into bars of about 4” long by 1” wide. Bag these separately and you can store them for several months.
Melt the suet until it becomes golden brown and liquid. Strain out any solids. If you cool it, re-melt it and strain it again it will improve the shelf life of the pemmican. Grind the meat into a powder. Chop or grind dried fruit and add it to meat. Pour liquid suet onto meat/fruit mixture. Mixes best if suet is warm, and allows you to use less of it. Now, press the pemmican into a tin using a spoon. Let cool in the fridge, than turn it out and cut into bars the size of candy bars. Wrap each bar in wax paper or paper lunch bag, label and store.
Grind all this material together, except for the honey. Add in the honey a little bit at a time, and mix well each time. Pour into pan until about three quarters of an inch thick or make them directly into bars. Refrigerate and cut bars out of pan. This is a sweet concoction and in cold climates, honey can be replaced with suet and processed just as in pemmican recipes seen above.
Here are some tips for you to improve your ability to use pemmican recipes properly, and make good pemmican:
Lastly, remember to experiment with your own recipes. The key points for making pemmican are to make sure that you render the fat (suet) properly and to make sure that the meat and fruit you put into the recipe are very dry, not cooked or partially dry.
Try making some pemmican of your own today!
About the Author: Filip Tkaczyk is a periodic guest teacher at Alderleaf. He also wrote the field guide Tracks & Sign of Reptiles & Amphibians. Learn more about Filip Tkaczyk.