Pemmican – The Original American MRE


PemmicanWhat makes a good bug bag? Not only does it need to have all the necessities but it should be as light as possible. One of the essentials of a bag is food. There are plenty of good MREs available that are lightweight and easily packable but today I found on Tactical Intelligence a recipe for one of the original MREs in America: pemmican. Native Americans have been making pemmican for ages. Pemmican is a mixture of fruit, meat and fat that is mixed together and dried into small easy to pack strips. Pemmican has an amazingly long shelf life provides many essential nutrients and the icing on top, it tastes good. It is also fairly easy to make.

The ingredients that you will need are: lean meat, rendered fat, and fruit.
Cut the meat into thin strips and dry it. You can use a food dehydrator or an oven set at a low temperature (200 degrees). Dry the fruit you want to use in the same manner, making sure that the fruit doesn't have any pits, or you might get an unpleasant surprise when you crack a tooth biting into one.

Rendering fat involves melting the fat on low heat and straining the solids until all that is left is a clear golden liquid. There are several easy methods to render fat by either using a crockpot, stovetop or oven. Before you think, “Fat? Yuck!” remember that fat is an essential part of a diet and it provides long sustainable energy, which will be important if you are on the move.

Mix the dried meat in a blender or food processor until it looks fibrous and fluffy (a little bit like the stuff used to fill cushions). Blend the fruit until there are no large chunks as well. Combine the fruit and the meat and then gradually add the fat until the mixture can form a ball that doesn't crumble.

The pemmican is now ready to eat. I suggest that the pemmican be shaped into single serving strips for packability. The pemmican strips can then be stored in Ziploc bags, where they will keep for years.

Why don't you try making some pemmican today? It would be an excellent addition to your survival bag. What other food items do you put in your bug out bag that are lightweight and nutritious? Share your recipes with us!

For more detailed instructions on making pemmican, click here:

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2 Responses to Pemmican – The Original American MRE

  1. RandomGuest January 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    Hmm, I question fat not going rancid in the course of a couple of years even vacuum packed. Perhaps if you used coconut oil and stored it in an oxygen deprived packaging that blocks light maybe a few years?

  2. emmie March 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Rendered fat purifies it, and was done by indians and other cultures that depended/depends on nature for survival. It was used to make food like pemmican and wrapped in local plant materials (nearby grasses, leaves, weeds, moss, etc) and cloth; to package, protect, and preserve it for winter or summer storage. It was buried in small holes in the ground, covered with cloth and grasses and sticks, to keep animals from finding it. It lasted a year or more, and was usually used in 6 months or less. Every season new foods were made and stored, and used during the next season. Each family made and stored for their own needs. It did not spoil used like this. You can research eskimos, indians in usa or elsewhere to get more ideas on how this worked. Hope this helps!

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