Pemmican as an Alternative Survival Food

Last Updated: July 12, 2023

Greetings, fellow survivalists! Today, let’s talk about pemmican – the ultimate survival food that has been sustaining humans for centuries. Pemmican is a high-energy food made from dried meat, fat, and berries. It was developed by the indigenous peoples of North America and was later adopted by fur traders, explorers, and soldiers. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history of pemmican and teach you how to make your own.

History of Pemmican

The word pemmican comes from the Cree word “pimîhkân,” which means “rendered fat.” The Cree, along with other indigenous peoples, developed pemmican as a way to preserve food for long periods of time. They would dry thin strips of meat over a fire or in the sun and then pound it into a powder. They would then mix this powder with melted fat and berries, forming small cakes that could be stored for months without spoiling.

Pemmican was a staple food for many indigenous peoples, especially those living in the Great Plains of North America. When European explorers arrived in North America, they quickly realized the value of pemmican as a portable and nutritious food source. Pemmican became an essential part of the fur trade, as it could be easily transported on long journeys.

During the 19th century, pemmican was also used by explorers and soldiers as a survival food. It was a key component of the rations given to soldiers during the American Civil War and was also used by Arctic explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Robert Peary.

How to Make Pemmican

Now that you know the history of pemmican, let’s talk about how to make your own. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try at home:

Dried Meat4 cups
Beef Tallow2 cups
Dried Berries1 cup
Salt1 tsp


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Spread the dried meat on a baking sheet and bake it for 10-12 minutes until it becomes crispy.
  3. Let the meat cool and then grind it into a powder using a food processor or blender.
  4. Melt the beef tallow in a pan over low heat.
  5. Mix the powdered meat, dried berries, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Slowly add the melted beef tallow to the mixture, stirring continuously until everything is well combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and press it down firmly.
  8. Let the pemmican cool and then cut it into small squares or bars.

Health Benefits of Pemmican

Pemmican is an excellent survival food because it is high in protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients. The combination of dried meat and fat provides sustained energy and helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods. Additionally, the dried berries in pemmican provide a good source of vitamins and antioxidants.

In conclusion, pemmican is an essential survival food with a rich history. It’s easy to make at home and provides a high-energy, nutrient-dense food source that can sustain you in times of need.So why not give it a try? Experiment with different meats, fats, and berries to create your own unique version of pemmican. Remember, preparation is key in any survival situation, and pemmican is a valuable addition to any emergency food supply. Stay safe, stay prepared, and happy cooking!

Pemmican (also pemican in older sources) is a mixture of tallow, dried meat, and sometimes dried berries. A calorie-rich food, it can be used as a key component in prepared meals or eaten raw. Historically, it was an important part of indigenous cuisine in certain parts of North America and it is still prepared today.Wikipedia

The ultimate survival food, pemmican is a portable, long-lasting, high-energy food that was invented by Native Americans. It’s made of lean, dried meat that’s crushed into powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. Native Americans added dried fruit for a wide range of flavors, just like you did with the dehydrator above. The best part is just a handful will sustain a full-grown man or woman all day long – even while working. This makes it a great food to have in an emergency.


  • “Pemmican.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web.
  • “Pemmican: A Canadian Tradition.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada, n.d. Web.
  • “Pemmican.” Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. Royal Canadian Geographical Society, n.d. Web.
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