A close friend came over this past week and we made a mess in the kitchen making our first batch of Pemmican. I learned that the jerky I made was not dry enough, even though I left it in the dehydrator for 14 hours. I also sliced it too thick. The meat has to be dehydrated to a point where it breaks apart easily and does not chew.
The cranberries and blueberries were also not dry enough. Both the meat and fruits need to be bone dry so that a food processor turns them to a mixture of hair like shreds/powder. Next time! Native Americans pounded the meat and fruit into a powder.
Rendering the fat was easy and takes awhile. All of this can be done ahead of time. If we had done all of these individual steps correctly, the mixing/making of the Pemmican would have taken an hour, been much easier and less of a mess.
As of this writing I have not tasted the Pemmican. I pushed the individual packs from their paper cups this morning and if anything turned out perfect, the size and shape of the final product did.
Research on Pemmican leads me to believe that each of these portions are around 400 calories, give or take.
This is where I ask myself, is all of this is worth the effort. For the learning and education the answer is absolutely yes. This is an excellent method of making a food source, processing meats, fats and fruits into a long term survival food. Several hundred years of proven history is in the making of this product. Today we can purchase food bars off the shelf that will accomplish the same nutrition and energy source. But knowledge transfers and should the time ever come where having a few basic food items that can be processed into long term/safe storage and emergency use, that knowledge will prove invaluable. The other choice is losing food to spoilage.
This learning process also opens other doors of interest. Salting and preserving meats in the open air and by the sun. Preserving and drying fruit in the same manner. More to come on this as summer progresses.
Our Pemmican will be shared and used on bug out camping trips over the next several months. Our next batches will be much better and we will be able to add Pemmican making to our skill sets.
SPRUCE TEA UPDATE
Spruce trees are budding now and the new green tips are ripe for picking, drying and tea making.