Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Pemmican Production

After much pondering and lively debate (internal or otherwise) I produced a 12lb batch of pemmican this weekend.  The main contentious issue was storage.  Do I make individual portions wrapped in wax paper?  Do I put a day’s supply in tins?  Do I follow the plains Indian’s example and pour 2 weeks worth into a rawhide bag and seal it with melted fat or beeswax?  Yesterday I settled on a bit of a hybrid approach.

First I melted down about 6 lbs of beef tallow in a slow cooker.  I read somewhere that this is preferable to on the stove top as the temperature is much lower, yet sufficient to liquefy.  This took almost an hour, which was just enough time to shred 4 lbs of jerky in the blender and crush 7 cups of peanuts.  I mixed the jerky and nuts , along with 7 cups of raisins, in a  5 gal. plastic tub from the hardware store.  Once the fat was melted, I dumped it in the bucket and slowly stirred the mixture until it began to set up.  At this point it was soft enough to pour but firm enough not to immediately leak out of my container.

For the container I decided on this:  I took two brown paper grocery bags, one inside of the other, and lined the inside with two layers of standard wax paper.  I poured the warm pemmican into the bag, keeping a pyrex baking dish underneath in case something went wrong.  As soon as it was poured I transferred the bag and pyrex to the freezer.  This would help it set quicker and hopefully prevent any leakage of liquid grease.

My thinking is the wax paper will retain most of the oils from the pemmican, and what does get through will be absorbed by the 2 layers of paper bag.  With the top of the bag folded down and it all wrapped up with twine I’ll have a nice tidy little parcel that can be carried in a cloth sack.  One in each of my panniers should last me two weeks.

This method will require that I measure out a days worth of pemmican each morning and carve it off of my parcel.  Other than that I think this is the most hassle-free way to go.  It’s cheap, it keeps all my goods in one place for easy bear-bagging, it’s compact.

The pemmican is sitting in my den right now, out of the freezer for 6 hours and not seeping through too bad at all.  The only thing I would possibly change is using an aluminum baking dish underneath rather than pyrex, as the glass insulated the bottom off the batch from the freezer.

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