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Making Pemmican: The Ultimate Survival Food



Feature | Making Pemmican: The Ultimate Survival Food

You may find yourself facing a survival dilemma, and making pemmican is a good way to solve that. In survival scenarios, it is vital that you have a consistent source of protein. This means a great deal of hunting, fishing, and trapping. What do you do to preserve your meat? Without refrigeration, the food will spoil and rot within hours. Anytime you take more meat than you can eat in one or two sittings, you must have a way to preserve that meat. Making pemmican survival food is an excellent solution.

Making Pemmican: How To Preserve Meat To Last Ages


What is Pemmican?

Pemmican is a mixture of dried meat, fat, and other ingredients that can be stored without refrigeration for anywhere from a few months to decades depending on the mixture and conditions. It was invented by Native Americans to give them a protein source that would last and could easily be carried while traveling. Often scouts and hunters would need a food like pemmican to take with them on their long journeys. In this article, we will cover how to make pemmican that will last on your shelf as long as you need it to.


Making Pemmican: The Ultimate Survival Food | Preparation

In order to make pemmican, you will need to prepare your ingredients before combining them. Strip the meat of all its fat. After which, cut the meat into thin strips less than ¼ inch thick and place it in an oven or over a fire.

The meat cannot be cooked, so you need to keep the temperature between 100°F and 200°F. This will dry out the meat over the course of six to twelve hours. I like to set my oven to 175°F, but if using a campfire you should set the meat on a rack at a level that allows you to hold your hand over the fire for five to ten seconds before pulling it away. Construct a tripod over your fire and either build a rack or use cordage to suspend the meat above the fire. When it is dry it will break apart when bent.

Once the meat is dry enough, shred it to a powder. You can use a grinder or you can use a mortar and pestle to break down the meat. You then need to render the fat down to a liquid. Cook it in a container on low heat until it is liquefied. You can add nuts, dried fruit, honey, and spices to improve the flavor. However, anything added other than salt and spices will reduce the pemmican shelf life. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. Only add as much fat to the mix to hold everything together. Make sure the mix is not too wet.

After evenly combining everything, you will have to mold it and wrap it with plastic wrap. The easiest way I have found to do this is to use a muffin tin. Lay down a 10 inch by 10 inch square of plastic wrap over the dip on the muffin tin. Then, spoon a big spoonful of the mix into the center. Press it down with something flat until it forms a solid piece. Then fold over the edges to give it an airtight wrap. Once you have done this with all of the mixtures, put all of the pemmican in an airtight container. Keep it in a cool, dry place and it will last as long as needed.

Food Storage and Survival shows a video on how to make Pemmican:

Pemmican is an excellent way to preserve your meat so it will not spoil in the wild. I suggest that you try a batch at home before you ever need to make any in the wild. This will ensure that you know how the process works before you ever need to rely on that process. With a little knowledge and practice, you can always save your meat from spoiling.


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Have you tried making your own Pemmican? Please let us know in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  4. SALLY

    September 14, 2018 at 5:53 AM

    My husband and I made pemican,, we didn’t have refrigerator or electricity,,
    And we had a rabbit,, we couldn’t eat the whole thing,,
    So we did dry it out,, over camp fire,, we didn’t cook it,, just dried it, then I broke it up,, and chopped up to a fine substance,, but I added some chopped hickory nuts,, I had,, I put them together,,,
    The hickory nuts, had the fat in,,, also some,, hucklberries,, ,, when put together, they combined,
    Then I put them,, in a pan to dry completely,,,, then I put them in dry proof container,,

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