Preserving food is crucial when you’re living off the grid; if your food supply goes bad; you go hungry. Storing your preserved food properly is also crucial; improper storage can cause the food to spoil.
One such way to preserve food – specifically meats – is to make pemmican. It’s fairly easy to make and doesn’t take up a lot of storage space but…
What’s the best way to store pemmican? The best way is to wrap it in tin foil, place it in a sealable plastic bag, and keep it at room temperature in a dark, dry place. You can also refrigerate the pemmican if you want it chilled, but you will have to check on it occasionally to make sure there isn’t any moisture on it which will cause it to spoil.
What is Pemmican and How is It Made?
Pemmican is an old Native American recipe used to preserve meat and/or fish for an extended period. It’s a mixture of dried, powdered meat, dried berries, and tallow (rendered fat).
While that may not sound too appetizing, pemmican is a highly nutritious snack boasting a whopping 133 calories per ounce and is still made today.
Traditionally, pemmican is made by cutting lean meat into strips and drying it out over a slow fire or in the sun – today you’d use a dehydrator – until the meat was hard and brittle.
The dried meat and berries are then ground into a fine powder mixed with rendered fat (tallow) wrapped in plastic cling wrap (the Native Americans used rawhide bags) and left at room temperature to cool and harden.
The cool part about pemmican is that there’s no official recipe for it. There’s no hard and fast way to make it, so you can experiment a bit.
The dried berries are optional, but they add more flavor to a rather bland food.
If you don’t want to use berries, you can use cherries, or any other dried fruit that you like, herbs, and powdered mushrooms if you want to. You can also mix in a bit of honey, maple syrup, or peanut butter.
Shelf Life and Storage Conditions
If it’s made correctly, pemmican can last for years – the longest I was able to find was around 50 years or so. Of course, if you want it to last that long, you have to store it correctly.
Storage-wise, pemmican should be wrapped in tin foil, sealed in a plastic bag, and kept at room temperature in a dark, dry place (i.e. a cellar or pantry).
Alternatively, you can refrigerate the pemmican if you want it chilled but you will have to check on it occasionally to make sure there isn’t any moisture on it as the moisture will cause it to spoil.
Other Ways to Store Pemmican
There are a few other ways to store pemmican including:
- Wrapping the pemmican in butcher’s paper and freezing it.
- Placing the pemmican into Ziploc bags and freezing it.
- Canning is also an option although it makes the pemmican taste awful.
- Burying the pemmican in hide-wrapped balls in rawhide bags filled with tallow – this was how it was done by the Native American tribes before the time of refrigerators.
- You can store it in a crock, covered in melted tallow with a cover over the top. Store the crock of pemmican in a cellar.
So, to recap:
- Pemmican is an old Native American method for preserving meat and fish.
- Pemmican is made by mixing powdered meat and fruits with tallow and leaving it to cool and harden.
- The best way to store pemmican is at room temperature in a dark, dry place.
I hope you guys enjoyed the article and that you found it informative. As always, I’d like to say thank you all for reading and I’ll see you in the next one! Take care and stay safe!
Greg spent most of his childhood in camping grounds and on hiking trails. While he lives in the suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, and a huge knife enthusiast. Find out more about Greg.