Pemmican is high-energy food savored by the Europeans in Fur trade. This nutrient potion is prepared by combining concentrated proteins and fats in proportionate amounts. The word is derived from the cree word pimîhkân, which is inspired by the word pimi, which refers to “fat, grease”. It is believed that this nutrient potion was invented by the North Americans, and was adopted by explorers who traveled to Antarctic and Artic explorers. Along the time, it was adopted by Europeans involved in fur trade.
History of Pemmican
Pemmican trade was one of the most indulging and important highlights of the Canadian fur trade. The energy potion was invented by Metis (aborgines of Canada) who supplied it to the canoemen who reached Winipeg. These canoemen were fur merchants who were traveling for the most part of the time. They packed food for long journeys. Their food choices were mostly dependent on the availability of ingredients. The Montreal-based canoemen mostly lived on the diet of salt pork, peas, beans and sea biscuits. The north canoemen ate maize and wild rice when they reached Great Lakes. The pemmican trade evolved in Winnipeg area. The dish was prepared by Metis who went to prairies and slaughtered the buffaloes to prepare the dish. The Metis living on prairie survived on pemmican trade. They bundled of this energy potion to the fur posts. These pemmicans were bought by the canoeing merchants who used it as energy supplement during the long journeys. The British Arctic explorers treated their dog to a special type of energizer called dog or Bovril pemmican, which referred to a beef dish consisting 2/3 proteins and 1/3 fats. But the food was later scraped when it was found that the dish did no good for dogs.
Pemmican Recipe- Suggested Ingredients
The basic method of preparation of dish suggested using handy ingredients, where meats like deer, elk, bison and moose formed the base of this energy potion. The dish was flavored with addition of fruits like saskatoon berries, cherries, cranberries, chokeberries, and blueberries. The fruits were mostly added to the recipe, when it was prepared and served during weddings and other traditional ceremonies. Following the authentic pemmican recipe- bone marrow fat and lean meat was combined in unique proportions to prepare high quality pemmicans. Mostly lean meat like deer, buffalo or elk was used. It is believed that the fur traders had developed specifications regarding the usage and combination of ingredients.
Pemmican Recipe- Preparation
Following the instructions of the traditional method the dish was developed by the native Americans, it is found that this energy portion was developed by combining meat and fruits in unique manner. The meat was cut into thin slices and left to dry in open sun or slow fire. The tough and brittle meat was then crushed or pounded to powder using stones. Then the powdered meat was mixed up with melted meat in equal proportions. In few of the dishx variations, dried fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, etc were also added to the powdered meat. The resulting pemmican was then stored in rawhide pouches.