Published on March 8, 2013 by Amy
What is Pemmican? Pemmican is a nutritious, preserved food created by Native American Indians. The term Pemmican is derived from pimii, the Cree-Chippewa word for fat. Pemmican consists of a mixture of cooked, dried and shredded buffalo meat, or fish, which is combined with melted fat. The pemmican was tightly packed into a bag made of buffalo skin and used as a convenient type of long lasting food.
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The ability to preserve foods meant life or death the American Indian. Curing meat and fish means saving or preserving meat by using processes such as drying, salting and smoking. The following picture shows how fish was cured over an open fire. Other methods included drying meat by cutting it into strips or sheets, and drying it by hanging it on lines.
The most traditional ingredient used in making pemmican was buffalo meat. Given there were no pots available other methods were found to cook buffalo. The ingenious buffalo cooking method and process was as follows:
A number of Native American tribes cooked meat by boiling in this way and the name of one tribe, the Assiniboine, means the “stone-boilers”. Boiled and dried buffalo meat was used by Native American women to make pemmican.
Native American women used dried buffalo meat to make pemmican. How to make pemmican. The method and recipe for making pemmican was as follows:
Pemmican is a high-energy, fast food that is easily transportable and long lasting. The Native Americans stored their supplies of pemmican in bags that were usually made of buffalo skin or deer skin. These bags were adopted by the Europeans and became known by the Americans as saddle bags or as a parfleche by the French.