Pemmican is the 18th and 19th Century version of the modern day energy bar. Here’s how you can make it yourself.
Here’s one for the outdoor sportsman who desires to get a small taste, literally, of what it was like back in those untamed frontier days when folks headed out into the wild.
These three excellent videos from Jas Townsend & Son offer some fascinating history of early life in the northern Americas, the story of the production of a marketable frontier food, and practical recipes for both making pemmican and utilizing it in other dishes.
Pemmican was the portable food of choice for hunters, frontiersmen, voyageurs, indigenous peoples and anyone else who traveled through the wilderness.
In addition to a little more history – the history of the Métis people is fascinating – part II gets into the simple process of making pemmican in your home kitchen.
Made primarily of three simple ingredients – dried meat, animal fat and dried berries – pemmican was a high energy, concentrated source of nutrition all by itself, or something that could also be used as an ingredient in more substantial dishes.
One of the other advantages of pemmican, in addition to its nutritional value, is its ability to store for extended periods of time while maintaining its nutritional and palatable integrity.
In part III, we see one way to use pemmican in cooking a larger, multi-ingredient meal. Here Jonathan Townsend prepares a dish called a rubaboo, a hash-like stew, which uses pemmican as the primary ingredient.
There are any number of variations on the basic pemmican recipe, as well as uses for pemmican in other dishes. A quick Google search will provide you with plenty of reading and research material on this interesting food.
There is also an online pdf publication titled The Pemmican Manual, by Lex Rooker, which gives a more detailed step-by-step account of the process for making pemmican at home. It’s well worth a look.