Skills Of The Native Hunters – Pemmican The Ultimate Survival Food

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
By Paul Martin

by AMY S.
APRIL 6, 2016

When the white men set out across North America, a reliable supply of portable provisions was one of the major problems. Lacking the skills of the native hunters, it was doubtful that they could live off the
country. They knew something about preserving food, a necessity for sailing ships, but it was limited to salting and pickling. The resultant salt pork and hardtack were unappetizing fare but they kept
life in a man.

The Plains Indians had a better solution to the problem, and one on which the fur traders and explorers came to depend. The answer was pemmican. The Cree word Pimikan meant, roughly, manufactured grease, but there was a lot more than that to it.

Basically it was buffalo meat, cut with the grain in thin slices or strips and dried in the sun or over a slow fire. A smoking fire added flavor and was useful for keeping the flies off though if meat racks were high they tended to be clear of flies. The dry-meat was then spread on a hide and pounded by stones or mallets to become “beat meat” which was tossed into a rectangular rawhide container (hair on
the outside) about the size of a flour sack. To the dehydrated, crumbled meat was added one-third or more of melted fat and the bag was sewn up. The fat might be mixed with the meat before or after it was bagged. While the pemmican was cooling the bag was turned from time to time to prevent the fat all settling on one side. Compressed in a skin bag that was greased along the seams to eliminate air and
moisture, it would keep for years.

The Rest…HERE

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