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Pemmican and Flatbread -- survivalists' travel food

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posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 08:26 PM


When I was a boy, growing up on the Salmon River in Northern Idaho, it was common for folks to make and carry pemmican, a mixture of dried and pounded meat, nuts, berries and fat. I grew up around the Shoshoni -- Shoshone Native Americans, and the word they used for 'pemmican' was very close to pemmican, as their language was close to the Cree, for which the work 'pemmican' [probably] originated from. To my childhood ears, it was pemmican.

We went on long rides -- cattle drives -- twice a year, and even hunting, fishing or at play, we would range very far from our homes. It was common for us to carry water in canteens, and fruit, as well as pemmican.

My mother would most often used dried venison, although nearly any meat will do (I myself would avoid using pork or poultry), and she would pound it until it was almost a fiberous powder. To this she'd mix nuts (most often black walnuts), dried currants (nearly any dried berry will work) and melted tallow (beef, elk, venison or mutton fat). Bone marrow fat is the best, but nearly any tallow will do. Bone marrow fat is acquired by boiling cracked bones and skimming the fat from the surface after it cools.

If Mom thought we might be on an extended trip (such as opening of deer hunt, or running the Salmon River when the fish spawn) she'd mix in about a tsp. of salt per pound of mix, to preserve it. There are various schools of though on this; most sources I've read indicate that tallow locks out bacteria, and is good to go for a long time. Mom was probably just being safe, although a bit of salt is useful in many situations.

Traditional pemmican was usually formed into flat patties. My Mom believed that they were safer if formed into round balls -- safer in terms of not going bad. She told me several times that she would never use lard -- pork fat -- in pemmican.

As an adult, I've used dried fish and different berries, nuts, fats. Fish in pemmican requires the fish to be VERY dry, almost to the point of being inedible. Coconut oil is a decent fat, although it tends to melt at room temperature, but still is a good binder.

Pemmican is an energy food -- lightweight, portable, high-octane survival food with -- when properly prepared -- a great 'shelf-life'.

This gentleman -- who calls himself the Derelict Epistle, has done an interesting video called "Neolithic MREs". His own experiences with pemmican were apparently adverse, as he indicates it was the very worst thing he ever tried to eat. Listening to his recipe, I think he used WAY too much tallow -- 1/3. I like no more than 1/4 by volume and often less. The tallow is a binder, and a "sealant". He makes parched corn and jerkey. I guess I also like this guy because of his humor and easy manner. He looks like he could be my father, except he has more hair than I do.
Informative video, hava look:


Flatbreads can be made from any flour, including grains (wheat, barley, oats, corn), breadfruit, potato, sweet potato, coconut, almond, etc. What I like about flatbreads as a survival food is that they keep far longer than traditional leavened breads. I always like to make tortillas and pita bread when we have a hurricane incoming; they make handy breads to stuff with other foods for a simple one-pan meal, and if you're careful, no dishes to wash!

Many cultures' history fared well with a staple of breads similar to bannock, which can be either leavened or not. I know a couple of people who routinely store away great stocks of tinned or buckets of wheat flour, and this is one of the best uses of these stores. They're also great travel food/survival food.

I've learned to make coconut bread, however in a true survival situation, I'd be far more likely to just eat the raw coconut than go through the process of shredding, drying, grinding and baking to make coconut bread. Almond, on the other hand, is easier to dry and crush into flour and yields a better result. Where I live, West Indian Almond trees are abundant, and grow almost like a weed -- very fast. W.I. Almond must be roasted or dried to be digestible.

I bring all this up to give you all food for thought....... to consider the process of making foods to carry you through a phase of bad times. Do I think we're [globally] entering into times of food shortages? I don't know, but I think it's very likely. I garden, and we eat coconut a lot. It's an almost perfect food -- at least for the short term, albeit boring to continually consume.

I encourage those of us with a survivalist (dang, y'know I really dislike that term but lack a better one) mind to look into and experiment with flatbreads and pemmican. It can be fun and entertaining to discover new snack/travel foods.

Maybe it will save your life. I hope you don't need it.

I leave you with this video by Green Deane, entitled "Eat the Weeds - episode 91: Pursalane". We eat quite a bit of this in salads, as it's one of the few sources of Omega3 fatty acids were have here. It grows abundantly, and in fact, I cannot kill/pull it up quickly enough, so we eat it. Tastes sort of spinach-like, earthy flavor. As you might guess, Green Deane has many, many videos in his "Eat the Weeds" series.

happy munching!

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:14 PM
One time I got picked up hitchhiking by these people from the Queen Charlotte Islands, and they fed me with their own venison in cans, salmon in jars, and what they identified to me as pemmican, which I recall as being mostly like mashed-up berries in flavor...I didn't ask what else was in it, it was all good...they described the Queen Charlotte Islands to me as a place where you could, if so inclined, gather and then preserve (as in what they fed me) all your own food*SNIP* at different times of the year, sufficient to eat off of all year round...The pemmican they gave me didn't have any obvious tallow in it, as I recall...this was 20 or thirty years ago, so I can't swear to it ...I was very impressed with those people...


MOD EDIT: Snipped out reference to drugs. Please read ATS Terms and Conditions of Use

[edit on August 31st 2010 by greeneyedleo]

[edit on 1-9-2010 by nine-eyed-eel]

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:28 PM
Great thread, that's some pretty interesting information, not to mention very useful. I was talking to a friend of mine just earlier today, many people forget just how vast the wilderness is in various parts of the US. 90% of the population is stuffed into 10% of the land mass. I actually just made that up but it sounds right and is probably close to reality.

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by Son of Will

I think that's the first time ever I heard someone admit to a manufactured statistic.

Sounds very close to the truth though. I really like Green Deane, and his prolific series. I knew I could make nettle tea, and tea from other toxic plants, but I didn't know I could EAT them!

Reminds me of Some-parts-are-edible- Euell Gibbons .

Kinda makes me wonder if the various ailments I have would be mitigated in some small way by a diet consisting of primarily indigenous plants (and a coupla fish or birds.)

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:31 PM
My current level is making great trailmix and jerky for trips so I need extend to the fat ingredient which is the binder to make an uncooked cookie or small ball as you explained.
I goggled pemmican and got some greats links to checkout, one person said he uses cocoanut oil exclusively because of his diabetes...he can digest it. I may use that for the first try.
Thanks very much OP! One question is do you store in refrigerator?
The ultimate dried fruit is Phillipine dried mango! In Costco.

[edit on 31-8-2010 by Granite]

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:38 PM
reply to post by Granite

Trail mix/jerkey = good stuff for hiking & other physical activity. I wouldn't fool with what works for you, unless you just want to experiment. If that's the case, I think the inclusion of nuts (shelled sunflower/pumpkin seeds even) and dried berries really makes it work.

Also the pounding of the meat into fine fibers is what causes the consistancy of a food that survives travelling, imo. If it was a concrete mix, the meat would be the fine sand, and the berries and nuts the larger aggregate.

Pemmican is not usually stored in a 'fridge, but in a pouch for travel or storage. I used to use a leather pouch. I don't think it'd hurt it a bit and only extend its use time to store it in a fridge.

I'm not sure why, but I think I'd avoid putting it in plastic.

Yes, I do know why. I think a plastic bag would tend toward concentrating bacteria and/or breaking the "barrier" of pemmican, but that's just my off-the-cuff impression, and not based on any science or experience/knowledge.

ETA: being verbose

[edit on 31/8/10 by argentus]

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:58 PM
I'm glad you explained that concrete process analogy because pounding my good beef jerky is quite a 180 turn from normal consumption!
I wont tell anyone...

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 11:50 PM
Great information here. You can store pemmican underground in a leather bag if you carefully seal all the seams with tallow. I know someone who dug up some that was still good after 20 years.

Here in Virginia, my favorite dried fruit is persimmons. Get a bunch of gooey, black ripe persimmons and mash them up. spread out flat on a sheet and let dry almost completely until almost brittle. I sprinkle a light coating of finely ground acorn flour to keep it from sticking to everything. It makes a great fruit roll up that I call "coon scats".

As you can see, in a survival situation it is imperative that you save all the fat possible so that it can be rendered and used this way. Without salt, refrigeration or smoking there simply is no other method of long term storage of meat.

Pemmican alone has nearly every nutrient needed for survival. A few fresh greens and you could survive many months with nothing else. You can substitute acorns for other nuts in a survival situation as they are readily available but must be processed first to remove the bitterness.

Great tips, Star and flag

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 02:46 AM
reply to post by argentus

You have overlooked Damper which stood the settlers and explores of Australia in good stead . Naturally you are better off if you can add some dried fruit to the Damper or what ever takes your fancy flavour wise . Drinking a tea spoon of a fruit or vegetable juice would be enough to keep scurvy at bay if your diet is lacking in vitamin C. For those not in the know Damper is bread without any yeast .

Cheers xpert11.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 02:57 AM

Originally posted by Granite

The ultimate dried fruit is Phillipine dried mango! In Costco.

[edit on 31-8-2010 by Granite]

They got those 2 or 3 pound bags of dried blueberries at Costco...they are very suitable but so sweet and tasty you can eat the whole bag in one sugar rush and get fat...good for the eyes though...

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 05:34 AM
My bother in law makes smoked Pemmican hard sausage.

Take your Pemmican as usual then put it in sausage casing.
Oh a small shot of honey will help to prevent mold growth.

Then put the sausage in a smoke house or smoker till hard and dry.

If you make them the right size they can then be heat canned in cans or mason jars and they will last for many years.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:01 AM
Good thread , I need to read more on food production from a survival aspect . All I watch is ray mears and his is more survival in the sense of equipment and berries to pick .

I think we will all need to consider survival in the wilds again if the world keeps going as it is .

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 08:38 AM
I was told long ago that All Diseases can be Cured from the Roots of Plants....... I don't really know much about plants myself however, I do know many roots are poisonous.

In time Cures will come from these wonderful free things our Creator has provided us with.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 11:37 AM

Originally posted by observe50
I was told long ago that All Diseases can be Cured from the Roots of Plants....... I don't really know much about plants myself however, I do know many roots are poisonous.

I think you are correct, you may want to check out two books by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird authors of The Secret Life of Plants and Secrets of the Soil, New Solutions for Restoring our Planet. Christopher Bird I believe has passed away but his important work lives on.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 11:38 AM
reply to post by observe50

Thanks for reminding me about roots. I don't know a lot about the medicinal aspect of roots, but I'd wanted to mention in the OP -- the roots of cattails and bullrushes can also be dried to make a flour for flatbread/breads.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 12:05 PM
reply to post by argentus

european pemmican recipies include lemon or lime juice

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 12:11 PM
Great info here - thanks for this. I will certainly be looking into the links you provided. My wife and I have started storing up foods that have a long shelf life as well as some canned foods that will last for several years. We will also start canning our own food pretty soon and I often make jerky and smoked fish just because it's so tasty, but it also stores pretty well. It really is amazing the variety of foods that can be "canned" (mason jars) and have a long shelf life.

That Euell Gibbons reference too - I remember those Grape Nuts commercials he did so long ago. When I was a teenager, I went hiking with a few friends of mine and we came across a tree that had a bunch of bark missing from it. Someone who must have hiked past it before us had carved into the tree "Euell Gibbons was here". Funny little break in our hike. Your reference to him reminded me of that.

Another thing I would suggest to this informative thread would be to Google "wild edibles" and add in your location. For example, I Googled "wild edibles pacific northwest" since I live in Washington and you will come up with several sites such as this one:

that will give you information on wilderness survival in your area should you find yourself in a survival situation. Also, watching shows such as Survivorman with Les Stroud will give you some tips as well.

This information is good to know in case of some collapse of civilization or other "conspiracy theory" type of event - but it is also good to know just in case you get caught somewhere and are forced to survive there for a while.

S&F for you - good thread.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 02:24 PM
reply to post by Son of Will

Extremely accurate. All one does is discuss and discuss. Action speaks
louder than words. Hiding out in the woods won't save anyone as whatever
is planned will reach all isolated areas. The self-assumed dictators everyone
calls "elite" should be eliminated as they are the root of all evil and
liberty. The American people are likened to a bunch of tenants bowing
to some king in a castle. I thought we had gone past this.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 02:29 PM
Very eye-opening. Thanks for the thread.

So far, my survival food plan has been to stock-up, over time, on MREs, canned soups (when they're on sale, buy 1 get 1 free kind of thing), packets of tuna and lots of Chef Boyardee selections. Right now, I have enough to last about two weeks if rationed properly. It's a shame, but that's all I have (just moved and need to rebuild up stock). I donated the canned food I had in my previous home to a needy family.

One aspect of survival food I hadn't considered was BREAD. So, again, thanks!

posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 06:18 AM

Originally posted by xpert11
reply to post by argentus

You have overlooked Damper which stood the settlers and explores of Australia in good stead . Naturally you are better off if you can add some dried fruit to the Damper or what ever takes your fancy flavour wise . Drinking a tea spoon of a fruit or vegetable juice would be enough to keep scurvy at bay if your diet is lacking in vitamin C. For those not in the know Damper is bread without any yeast .

Cheers xpert11.

Rosehips is also a good source of vitamin C, very dense in that stuff.

* Rose hips contain vitamin C, some vitamin A and B, essential fatty acids and antioxidant flavonoids.[citation needed] * Particularly high in Vitamin C, with about 1700–2000 mg per 100 g in the dried product, one of the richest plant sources. RP-HPLC assays of fresh rose hips and several commercially available products revealed a wide range of L-ascorbic acid content, ranging from 0.03 to 1.3%.[1] * An initial trial of a rosehip remedy called LitoZin showed possible benefits to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.[2]

For good info on shelf life of food I'd look over this info.

A plant source for a complete protein is also some types of
Amaranth, the kind I got it Giant Golden Amaranth.

The seeds are my main use.

"Amaranth seeds, like buckwheat and quinoa, contain protein that is unusually complete for plant sources.[15] Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used."

[edit on 2-9-2010 by Ex_MislTech]

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